15 Amazing 'American Idol' Auditions Over the Years (VIDEO)

Meaghan Darwish
Kevin Winter & Michael Buckner for Getty Images.

Beginning 17 years ago on Fox, American Idol took the nation by storm, taking viewers on a journey like no other.

From auditions to Hollywood, fans got an up close-and-personal look at the contestants who're just regular Americans like them, but the first season's winner proves that one opportunity can turn into a lifetime of success — that's right, we're talking about Kelly Clarkson.

'American Idol' Upgrades Bobby Bones to In-House Mentor for Season 17

'American Idol' Upgrades Bobby Bones to In-House Mentor for Season 17

His role will be to help develop the contestants' singing skills and onstage performances.

Clarkson went from a small-town Texan to undeniable superstar, as did many others through the years, including Carrie Underwood, Katharine McPhee, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson and many more — and man of them didn't even win their seasons.

Winning didn't guarantee success, but what all of the contestants did have was pure talent, which viewers got to witness in their first televised auditions in front of the judges — starting with original judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul.

The phenomenon was real, and continued with American Idol's first season on ABC in spring 2018. As fans gear up for Season 17 (the second on the Disney-owned network), we thought we'd take a look back at some of the most memorable first impressions of past and (nearly) present. See our roundup below.

Simon Cowell Gets Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — His 6 Most Iconic Moments (VIDEO)

Simon Cowell Gets Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — His 6 Most Iconic Moments (VIDEO)

In honor of the powerhouse getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Kelly Clarkson

Season 1

Fantasia Barrino

Season 3

Carrie Underwood

Season 4

David Cook

Season 7

Jordin Sparks

Season 6

Katharine McPhee

Season 5

Everything Old Is New Again: A Guide to the Growing List of TV Reboots and Revivals

Everything Old Is New Again: A Guide to the Growing List of TV Reboots and Revivals

Plus, 'Party of Five,' 'Facts of Life,' and more keep on coming.

Todrick Hall

Season 9

Adam Lambert

Season 8

American Idol' Alums Reunite — See Sanjaya, Taylor Hicks and More Then & Now (PHOTOS)

American Idol' Alums Reunite — See Sanjaya, Taylor Hicks and More Then & Now (PHOTOS)

Former finalists, winners, memorable audition singers, and one wild fan come together.

Jennifer Hudson

Season 3

Chris Daughtry

Season 5

Lauren Alaina

Season 10

13 Musical Episodes From TV Shows That Totally Rock (PHOTOS)

13 Musical Episodes From TV Shows That Totally Rock (PHOTOS)

From '30 Rock' to 'Scrubs,' we've selected some of our favorites.

Austin Percario

Season 13

Mackenzie Bourg

Season 15

Catie Turner

Season 16

Zach D'Onofiro

Season 16

American Idol, Season Premiere 17, Sunday, March 3, 8/7c, ABC