By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
You know what's funny about prime-time pop pageant American Idol? (Nope, not ex-panelist Ellen DeGeneres.)
It's that the biggest star to shoot out of that black hole was a loser named Jennifer Hudson. Of course, there's an argument to be made for Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson. And if you're a deranged Claymaniac (or whatever those people are called), you might think Clay Aiken is Idol's ultimate offspring.
In any case, most of the show's alumni, winners or not, achieve nothing more than momentary, lukewarm success. And Season 3 champ Fantasia Barrino, even with a platinum debut album and a few R&B hits, hasn't exactly bucked the trend. Her career has been slipping slowly but steadily for a few years—so much so that when Barrino overdosed on aspirin and sleep meds this past summer, the tabloid vultures immediately called it a publicity stunt. She denied the accusation, telling VH1 (with whom she has a reality show): "I wanted it to be over with—all of it, all of that shit."
Now Fantasia is out of the hospital, seemingly stable and working again. So far, she has survived. But let's just hope the Idol curse doesn't circle back for her.