Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Over the years, television singing competition shows have produced some seriously successful country music stars. But there have also been some big misses. Take a look  9 popular country stars rejected by American Idol and The Voice, here.

First some of the successes… Carrie Underwood, Morgan Wallen, Scotty McCreery, Gabby Barrett, Lauren Alaina and Chayce Beckham have all competed and succeeded. They all  are all full-time working musicians. And that’s thanks, in part. to their exposure on national TV.  But what about those that were turned away or never were even given an audition? I’ll dive into those names for you.

As you would imagine, there was plenty of now big name talent left out of the competition. Take a look at these 9 popular country starts rejected by American Idol and The Voice. Some made it to audition and beyond, and some didn’t make it out of the parking lot.

One country/pop superstar even kept her audition ticket and shared a photo of it on Instagram a couple of years ago. She didn’t make it past the first cattle call. Another is the frontperson of one of country music’s most successful groups. Did you know Morgan Wallen made it into the Top 20 before he was eliminated from The Voice back in 2014, during Season 6 of the popular NBC show.

For some reason, American Idol seems to produce more stars than The Voice.  No rhyme or reason, it’s just happened that way. How could we forget when Carrie Underwood took the crown in 2005? Remember Scotty McCreery’s season? It came down to him and Lauren Alaina. In the end, even though McCreery took the title of champion, Lauren also proved victorious in scoring a career in country music. In 2012 Cassadee Pope became the first female winner of The Voice. The following year, Danielle Bradbury won the competition.

Below, you’ll find those big names that have been rejected: 9 popular country stars rejected by American Idol and The Voice.


  • 1. Hillary Scott

    Lady Antebellum is one of the best selling country music groups of all time. The mulit-Grammy Award winning trio is fronted by Hillary Scott. Hillary told Entertainment Weekly that she auditioned twice for Idol, but never even made it to the judges round. She said I actually tried out for American Idol twice and didn’t get past the first round, if that gives anyone hope.” 


  • 2. Maren Morris

    Maren Morris has experienced a couple of full-circle moments after seeing contestants on both The Voice and American Idol audition with her song, “My Church.” She told Rolling Stone, “I think about all of the freaking talent shows I’ve tried out for in my life and I’m so glad I didn’t make any of them. It’s full circle, because I was rejected from The Voice. I was rejected from American Idol — and I’m happier for it now.” Morris was just 17 years old when she auditioned for American Idol. She shared her ticket to audition on Instagram last summer. She commented on the post, ““My mom found my American Idol audition ticket from 2007. I didn’t make it past the first round cattle call. I wasn’t really into sports growing up but this feels like the equivalent of your mom saving your 10th place trophy. 😂🏆 ”

    American Idol responded saying, “And now our hopefuls are singing YOUR songs on the Idol stage! 🙌💙🙌”


  • 3. Chris Lane

    On season 7 of Idol, Chris Lane and his twin brother, Corey auditoned. They did a rap song and it did air. But it aired as one of the “bad auditions.” This, you have to see from the country artist who has since released 7 singles, and 3 of those have become #1 smash hits!

    Forgotten 'American Idol' Auditions: Chris Lane

    Oh no bro! So glad Chris Lane decided to stick to country music! There is at least one that's more awkward 👉

    Posted by Taste of Country on Wednesday, March 7, 2018
  • 4. Kane Brown

    Kane Brown went to middle school with American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina. After seeing her success on the show, he decided to audition. And that’s where it ended. He told Billboard, “they didn’t need another Scotty McCreery.” He make it on the TV show,  The X Factor, but, as he told Billboard, the show “tried to put me in a boy band, so I quit. I went home and did my own American Idol with covers online.” That’s when he famously posted a video covering “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. Kane woke the next day to “like, 60,000 shares.”

  • 5. Luke Combs

    The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year,  Luke Combs auditioned for The Voice before he found fame and fortune and they bascially told him he was too boring. Combs made it to the final 200 before getting the boot. He told WhiskeyRiff, “I was on spring break a few years ago when ‘The Voice’ was having auditions in Atlanta, Georgia. In my audition round, I was the only guy and you get about thirty seconds to sing. I made it to the next round that was at a studio, and then made it to the next cut. They had four audition cities and narrowed it from about 10,000 to 200 people. Then you don’t know if you made it to the show for a few months. I made it through those rounds with the producers, but I got a letter saying I wasn’t ‘interesting’ enough for the show’s ratings so I didn’t get to the show. But it gave me a lot of confidence because I was good enough voice wise to make it through all those producer auditions.”

    Before he became one of country music’s best selling artists, with 15 #1 hits!

  • 6. Mickey Guyton

    When she was just 22 years old, Mickey Guyton auditioned for American Idol. Her run on the show didn’t last long, however. She was cut right before the live shows. Mickey moved on to sign with Capitol Nashville and eventually earned an ACM nomination for New Female Vocalist of the Year in 2016. 2 years ago, the Grammy nominated singer returned to the American Idol stage to sing with contestant Alyssa Wray (who is a Mickey fan). In 2023, Mickey dazzled with her rendition of our National Anthem before Game 4 of the World Series. And who could forget her performance of the Star Spangled Banner ahead 2022 Super Bowl?



  • 7. Colton Swon

    Colton Swon, as a solo artist, made it to the top 48 on Season 7 of American Idol. But getting the axe there didn’t stop him from his dreams. He and his brother Zach brought their brotherly harmonies to an audtion for The Voice. The talented twosome turned 3 chairs in the blind auditions. Together, the Swon Brothers made it all the way to the Top 3 in 2013 on Team Blake!

    Here’s their Blind Audition


  • Jimmie Allen

    These days, you’ll find Jimmie Allen on the road with American Idol winner Carrie Underwood. He was Blake Shelton’s “Battle Round” advisor on The Voice last year, where he revealed he had tried out and been rejected from the show TWICE. Jimmie did fare better on American Idol back on Season 10. However, he was cut before the live voting rounds. During his time on Idol, he became good friends when the contestant who would go on to win it all, Scotty McCreery. They eventually went on tour together. Jimmie went on to become the first Black solo performer to win ‘New Male Artist of the Year’ at the 2021 ACM Awards.

    Here’s how it all started…

  • 9. Bebe Rexha

    Although not a country artist, Bebe Rexha did score a country hit with Florida Georgia line that went on to be one of  the most successful songs in country music history!  She reveal on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” that she waited 12 hours to audition for Idol, but did not make it through. “Meant To Be” written by Bebe and recorded with FGL spent a 11 weeks at #1 on the country singles chart in 2018. And went on to surpass Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together”  as the longest-running #1 song on the chart for a lead female artist. Bebe finally got his time on the American Idol stage when she returned for the season finale in May of 2018 singing with the contestants (including Gabby Barrett).


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