Country’s Top 10 Reality Stars
Country castings on reality television shows no longer come as a surprise. After winning performances from Carrie Underwood and then Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler and Trace Adkins, producers have learned that Nashville stars can move the ratings needle. Two of the top reality shows have our genre's superstars as judges, and both of these men make our Country's Top 10 Reality Stars list.
This list is ranked on each star's reality resume, not necessarily on how they've turned the win or high-profile appearance into success afterward. Miranda Lambert won't be found here (she finished third during season one of 'Nashville Star'), but Julianne Hough (multiple 'Dancing With the Stars' wins) will. Not every star who won their season of a reality competition made this list, either -- Buddy Jewell and Tate Stevens were both passed over for more impressive performers.
Thus far, Keith Urban has proven to be a polite and constructive judge on 'American Idol,' but he's not yet can't-miss television. He offers road-wise advice in a calming manner, and might have been the smartest member of the Season 12 cast. His stock could soar in the coming seasons.
Cassadee Pope's breakout moment during Season 3 of 'The Voice' was her performance of Miranda Lambert's 'Over You.' It's difficult to rank her higher on a list of country's top reality stars, because she didn't truly embrace the genre until late in the season, or even after she won.
The trouble with Chris Young's stint on 'Nashville Star' is that not too many people remember it. The show aired on USA, as opposed to network television, so it was difficult to find. Even Young is reluctant to talk about it, but he did win, so one figures he must have done something right.
Julianne Hough barely holds on as a country artist these days, but it's impossible to ignore her success on ABC's 'Dancing With the Stars.' Hough and her partners won two of the five seasons she competed in, first with Apolo Anton Ohno and then with racer Helio Castroneves (pictured). Her last appearance was with then-boyfriend Chuck Wicks, when she finished sixth.
Kelly Clarkson was the first reality TV winner. She edged out Justin Guarini to become the first 'American Idol' in 2002, and she's still among the most successful ever. With 'Idol' ratings dipping, one forgets how America held their breath every time Clarkson performed that season. She was fabulous.
It's hard to believe anyone from Season 10 of 'American Idol' truly had a shot against Scotty McCreery. He captured country America's heart from the first episode, and fans only grew more loyal from there. He had some very memorable performances, including covers of Montgomery Gentry and (of course) Josh Turner.
Blake Shelton is the reason millions of Americans tune in to 'The Voice.' His teams have won three of the four seasons, besting some quality competition. As the show grows in popularity, the talent only promises to improve, and if he can keep winning, that will bode well for him on this ever-changing list.
Carrie Underwood also dominated her show, winning Season 4 of 'American Idol' in 2005. Each performance was nearly flawless, and the only one surprised when she was awarded the grand prize may have been the singer herself.
Country fans learned that Trace Adkins has a competitive streak during Season 7 of 'Celebrity Apprentice.' He finished second that year, but came back during Season 13 to win the all-star edition of the show. The competition in that show isn't considered to be as fierce as some others, but his first and second place finishes are as good as anyone on this list.
Kellie Pickler is the only singer on this list to appear on two reality shows. First, she finished in the middle of the pack during Season 5 of 'American Idol' (against some stiff country competition), and then she dominated 'Dancing With the Stars.' Watch that final dance with Derek Hough one more time. It's spellbinding, and enough to earn her the No. 1 spot on this list!