The world of R&B and Hip Hop is brimming with stars who auditioned for music competitions and reality shows to get their start. Icons like Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino, and Jordin Sparks turned their “American Idol” auditions into stepping stones for massive careers. Meanwhile, artists like Tori Kelly and Todrick Hall used platforms like “The X Factor” and “American Idol” to showcase their unique styles and undeniable talent. These shows didn't just introduce new voices; they brought fresh energy and a new wave of creativity to the genres we love.

The grind behind these auditions is real, reflecting the hustle and heart of the R&B and Hip Hop scenes. Even those who didn't win, like Jazmine Sullivan on “Showtime at the Apollo,” used the exposure to build lasting careers. Their stories resonate deeply, showcasing the relentless spirit and dedication that define these genres. These journeys from hopeful auditions to chart-topping hits remind us that with passion and perseverance, dreams in the music world are always within reach.

On his journey to stardom, Usher appeared on “Star Search” at the age of 13, where he wowed audiences with his incredible vocal talent and stage presence. His performance on the show, which included the “longest sustained note ever held by a child on the show, at 12 seconds” got him noticed by a LaFace Records executive, leading to a recording contract and the start of his illustrious career. Usher’s early exposure on “Star Search” was pivotal, setting the stage for his future success as an R&B superstar. This early break helped him become one of the most influential artists in the music industry.

2. Fantasia – American Idol

Fantasia Barrino’s life was forever changed by her triumphant win on the third season of “American Idol.” Her raw talent and impassioned performances captivated audiences, propelling her debut single “I Believe” to No. 1 on the charts. Beyond the show's spotlight, Fantasia’s transparency and resilience endeared her to fans, paving the way for a successful music career marked by Grammy wins and acclaimed albums. “American Idol” launched her into the limelight and cemented her reputation as a soulful powerhouse in music.

3. Jennifer Hudson – American Idol

Jennifer Hudson’s meteoric rise began with her standout performances on “American Idol,” where the strength of her vocals and an undeniable presence captured the nation’s attention. Despite finishing seventh in the competition, Hudson’s talent shone brightly, earning her a role in the film “Dreamgirls,” for which she won an Academy Award. This catapulted her into Hollywood, leading to prominent roles in films like Sex and the City and The Secret Life of Bees. Her success extended to television with her own talk show, showcasing her versatility as a singer, actress, and inspirational figure in entertainment.

4. Queen Naija – American Idol

Queen Naija initially gained recognition through her popular YouTube channel, where she showcased her singing talent and regular life. However, her career trajectory shifted significantly after gaining prominence on “American Idol.” Despite not winning, her appearance on the show amplified her visibility and paved the way for broader recognition in the music industry. Subsequently, Queen Naija capitalized on her growing fan base through social media and independent music releases, notably with her breakout hit single “Medicine.”

5. Jordin Sparks – American Idol

Jordin Sparks shot to fame as the winner of the sixth season of “American Idol.” Her amazing vocal abilities and genuine charm moved both the judges and the audience, propelling her debut single “This Is My Now” and its follow up “Tattoo” to widespread success. Since then, Sparks has thrived in the music industry, releasing successful albums and expanding her influence as a versatile artist and actress. Her path from talent show contestant to established star underscores the profound impact of “American Idol” in launching promising careers in entertainment.

6. Day26 – Making the Band

Day26 gained fame through the MTV reality series “Making the Band 4,” overseen by Diddy. Formed through competitive auditions on the show, Robert Curry, Brian Angel, Willie Taylor, Qwanell Mosley, and Michael McCluney impressed judges and viewers alike with their harmonies and dynamic performances. Their victory led to the release of their self-titled debut album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, establishing Day26’s place in the R&B scene.

7. Danity Kane – Making the Band

Danity Kane also came together through the MTV reality series “Making the Band.” The group, consisting of Aubrey O'Day, Shannon Bex, Dawn Richard, Aundrea Fimbres, and D. Woods, emerged from rigorous auditions and intense rehearsals showcased in the show’s third season. Their debut album, featuring hits like “Show Stopper,” soared on the charts, establishing Danity Kane as a formidable presence in pop and R&B music.

Girls Tyme, initially formed as a group by Beyoncé Knowles, Kelly Rowland, LaTavia Roberson, and LeToya Luckett, auditioned for “Star Search” in their early years. While they didn't win the competition, their talent and determination caught the eye of music industry insiders. Eventually rebranding as Destiny’s Child, they went on to become one of the best-selling girl groups of all time, leaving an irresistible mark on the music industry with their harmonies, choreography, and empowering anthems.

9. Latto – The Rap Game

Latto gained widespread recognition through her impactful appearance on the reality TV show “The Rap Game.” Known for her confident style and sharp lyrical skills, Latto used the platform to showcase her talent to a broad audience. Her participation marked a crucial milestone in her career and launched her into the spotlight of the hip-hop scene.

10. Jazmine Sullivan – Showtime at the Apollo

Jazmine Sullivan’s early career featured a memorable appearance on “Showtime at the Apollo” at just 11 years old. Her powerful voice and stage presence captivated the audience and judges, setting the stage for her future success. Although she didn’t win, the experience provided invaluable exposure and helped shape her musical journey. Sullivan has since become a celebrated artist in R&B known for her vocal range and emotion-filled artistry.