9 Singers Who Should’ve Won Their Seasons of ‘American Idol’ (PHOTOS)

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Clay Aiken (Season 2)

Who actually won: Ruben Studdard

Why he should’ve won: Aiken’s second-place finish in 2003 was a bit shocking to some American Idol fans. Though Studdard was deserving, Aiken ended up having the biggest-selling single of 2003 with his song “This Is the Night.” He was also the first non-winning contestant to actually hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

'American Idol' - Season 3 - Jennifer Hudson
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Jennifer Hudson (Season 3)

Who actually won: Fantasia Barrino

Why she should’ve won: Don’t get us wrong, Fantasia was an absolutely deserving winner. But there’s no denying the fact Hudson has had a monster career since her time on Idol. Not only did she win an Oscar for her performance in Dreamgirls, she’s had a great career in music and on TV as a coach on The Voice.

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Katharine McPhee (Season 5)

Who actually won: Taylor Hicks

Why she should’ve won: Taylor Hicks was a boring winner, plain and simple. McPhee had a beautiful voice and would’ve been a fantastic winner. She also went on to have a much bigger career than Hicks and has showed off her talent on TV in shows like Smash and Scorpion and Broadway musicals like Waitress.

American Idol Season 8 Grand Finale - Adam Lambert
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Adam Lambert (Season 8)

Who actually won: Kris Allen

Why he should’ve won: All AI fans will agree — Adam Lambert should’ve 100 percent beaten Kris Allen. He was the more interesting performer and he had the better voice. At least he’s having the more successful career now with chart-topping hits and touring as the frontman for Queen!

Todrick Hall at
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Todrick Hall (Season 9)

Who actually won: Lee DeWyze

Why he should’ve won: No offense to Lee DeWyze, who is clearly very talented, but he was another less-than-memorable winner. Though Hall didn’t make it to the top 5, he was a unique performer who clearly had something special — he’s since become a viral star for his mashups and parodies, a choreographer for RuPaul’s Drag Race, and has continued to star on Broadway.

Pia Toscano - 2011
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Pia Toscano (Season 10)

Who actually won: Scotty McCreery

Why she should’ve won: Toscano’s elimination from the competition was probably the most shocking in AI history. McCreery was a fine winner, as he’s had a fairly successful country career since wrapping the show, but we still can’t get over the fact that the pop songstress left so soon!

Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina on
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Lauren Alaina (Season 10)

Who actually won: Scotty McCreery

Why she should’ve won: Following Pia Toscano’s shocking elimination earlier in Season 10, fans were probably even more shocked when Alaina finished as the runner-up. Though she had McCreery have had fairly similar careers since the show, Alaina ultimately had the better voice.

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Jessica Sanchez (Season 11)

Who actually won: Phillip Phillips

Why she should’ve won: Phillip Phillips was a deserving winner and had great success with his song “Home,” which became the all-time best selling song from AI after he won. However, Sanchez was the much more interesting performer who definitely had more range in her powerhouse voice.

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There have been some amazing American Idol winners over the years, from Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood. But, like all great reality competition shows, there have been some contestants who were sent home way too soon.

The latest, some would argue, is Season 17 runner-up and fan favorite Alejandro Aranda, who lost out in the May 19 finale to country heartthrob and returning contestant Laine Hardy. Though Laine’s fans will say he won fair and square, many on social media were in an outrage over Alejandro being slighted.

Of course, he’s not the first to incite this type of reaction — this is a staple of the franchise. Click through the gallery above for eight more contestants who didn’t win their season but probably should’ve based on their talent alone. And let us know if you agree with our picks in the comments below!