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2006 -- The Fifth Season of 'American Idol'

'American Idol': A Stroll Down Memory Lane

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What happened during the fifth season of American Idol?
2006 -- The Fifth Season of 'American Idol'

Photo: Taylor Hicks Wins American Idol.

© FOX.

By Season Five, American Idol had become a pop culture phenomenon. Judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul had become three of America's biggest stars. And winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood were taking the music industry by storm.

The twelve finalists chosen after thousands of Season Five auditions were:

  • Melissa McGhee
  • Kevin Covais
  • Lisa Tucker
  • Mandisa Hundley
  • Bucky Covington
  • Ace Young
  • Kellie Pickler
  • Paris Bennett
  • Chris Daughtry
  • Elliot Yamin
  • Katharine McPhee
  • Taylor Hicks
* Read more about them here.

They were a talented bunch. Singers who stood out included Paris Bennett, Mandisa Hundley, Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, and Taylor Hicks. The early elimination of Mandisa, who was one of the competition's best singers, surprised viewers. But it was favorite Chris Daughtry's elimination that had fans crying foul.

Silver-haired singer Taylor Hicks, who brought something different to the competition with his soulful, old-school sound, won over America and received the most votes to become the new American Idol. Gorgeous pop singer Katharine McPhee was the runnerup.

Taylor released his self-titled debut album in December, 2006. Katharine McPhee's album was expected in 2007. Chris Daughtry also released an album that ended up outselling Taylor Hicks' CD in stores. Kelly Pickler, who was one of the season's most lovable contestants, released a well-received country album.

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