19 Celebrities Who Got Their Start on “Star Search”


American Idol and The Voice could also be pipelines to stardom now, however throughout its 1983 to 1995 run, Star Search was the actuality competitors present to be on. Whether you have been a wannabe singer, comic, or dancer, securing a spot on the present meant that you just have been one step nearer to stardom. And even when you did not win in your class, the publicity you would get from competing was typically sufficient to jumpstart your profession. Just ask former contestants like Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Kevin James, and Drew Carey. Curious which different A-listers as soon as appeared on the present? Keep studying to find out about a number of the largest stars who obtained their begin on Star Search. And for acquainted faces who obtained their massive break later in life, listed below are 40 Stars Who Didn’t Become Famous Until After 40.

Justin Timberlake at the Emmy Awards

As many boy band fanatics already know, Justin Timberlake did not get his begin in *NSYNC. Rather, a younger JT—then going by Justin Randall—truly competed on Star Search in 1992, although he misplaced to Anna Nardona. His tune of selection? Alan Jackson’s “Love’s Got a Hold on You.”

Though JT did not win Star Search, that loss may need been the very best factor to ever occur to him. Justin Timberlake: A Biography notes that in an interview, he as soon as mentioned, “It’s funny. If I had won on Star Search just one time, I would not have made the audition [for The All-New Mickey Mouse Club]. I think God has his master plan and he’ll lay it out for you. But you have to walk that road.”

And for actors who stepped away from the enterprise, listed below are 15 Stars Who Quit Acting After Hitting It Big.

Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams, and Beyonce

In 1993, a band referred to as Girl’s Tyme appeared on Star Search—and misplaced. Normally the dropping group would not make historical past, however this one was an exception, seeing as two of its members have been Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland.

By 1996, Girl’s Tyme had misplaced and gained some members to turn into Destiny’s Child—and in 2000, then won their first Grammy for “Say My Name.” The ethical of the story? You needn’t truly win Star Search to succeed—you simply want to seem on it.

Britney Spears
Shutterstock/Everett Collection

Even earlier than she was a Mouseketeer, 10-year-old Britney Spears was a contestant on Star Search again in 1992. The star-to-be misplaced to a singer named Marty Thomas, however that did not hold her from turning into a pop sensation. To date, she has 5 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, to not point out a profitable fragrance model and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Who wants a win on Star Search, anyway?

For well-known people who obtained observed whereas shilling tasks, listed below are 25 Stars You Didn’t Know Got Their Start in Commercials.

christina aguilera on the red carpet in 2010

Not everybody acknowledges or appreciates uncooked pure expertise when it is proper in entrance of them. Case in level: In 1990, when she appeared on Star Search, a nine-year-old Christina Aguilera misplaced to a 12-year-old named Christopher Eason.

“I was a good sport about it. My mom made me go back out and shake his hand and tell him I was happy he won. Tears were running down my face,” Aguilera advised Rolling Stone in 1999 about her Star Search experience. As the journal aptly put it again then, the pop star “lost the battle but won the war.”

Young Usher Musicians Reality Show
Tsuni / USA / Alamy Stock Photo

Though Star Search typically missed out on prime expertise, that is to not say that the present all the time obtained it incorrect. In truth, when 13-year-old Usher Raymond IV appeared on the fact competitors collection in 1991, he won Best Teen Vocalist! His first self-titled album was launched only a few years later—and although it did not see huge success, his second album, My Way, made all of it the best way to No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. The relaxation, as they are saying, is historical past.

For stars who you forgot examined their ballroom abilities, try 25 Celebrities You Won’t Believe Did “Dancing With the Stars.”

Ben Bailey
Shutterstock/Kathy Hutchins

Before he obtained behind the wheel of the Cash Cab, comic (and licensed cab driver) Ben Bailey appeared on Star Search. That, together with spots on a number of different reveals, helped him finally bag the host gig for the award-winning present the place passengers reply trivia inquiries to earn money whereas attending to their vacation spot.

Alanis Morissette in the early 2000s

You oughta know that Alanis Morissette competed on Star Search in 1990. Her tune of selection was “One Bad Apple”—and although she had extra materials ready, she did not get to carry out it, seeing as she misplaced within the first spherical to a younger nation singer named Chad. Morissette wasn’t too upset about dropping, although: According to Alanis Morissette: A Biography, “gaining exposure was the real goal.”

And for extra leisure trivia delivered proper to your inbox, join our day by day e-newsletter.

LeAnn Rimes in 2002

Country singer LeAnn Rimes got her start on Star Search at simply eight years previous. And in contrast to a number of the different celebs who appeared on the present, she truly did fairly effectively: She remained the present’s champion for 2 weeks within the early ’90s, performing songs like “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” by Marty Robbins. Just a number of years later in 1996, she earned her first No. 1 single with “Blue” and took the nation world by storm.

Sutton Foster

Not solely did Younger star Sutton Foster lose on Star Search in 1990—she misplaced to future Broadway colleague, Richard H. Blake. “Every time I see him, I give him squinty eyes,” she joked about their (pretend) ongoing feud throughout an look on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Shutterstock/Everett Collection

When 10-year-old Aaliyah Haughton competed on Star Search in 1990, she did not stroll away with a win. That did not matter, although: Later that yr, the longer term R&B star carried out with none aside from Gladys Knight, the previous spouse of her uncle and supervisor Barry Hankerson. Just a number of years later in 1994, 15-year-old Aaliyah wowed the music world together with her platinum debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.

Comedian Kevin James in 2006

In 1995, The King of Queens star Kevin James competed (and won) within the present’s comedy class a number of instances. These wins weren’t what catapulted him to fame, nevertheless; his massive break got here in 1996 on the Just for Laughs Montreal comedy festival, the place Ray Romano noticed him carry out and gave him a recurring function on Everybody Loves Raymond.

Marc Summers

Don’t bear in mind ever seeing future Nickelodeon host Marc Summers take the Star Search stage? That’s since you would have needed to bodily be at a taping to catch his act. Summers was the man who would “warm up” the studio viewers earlier than the dwell present started. According to Indiana Public Media, he was additionally the warm-up comedian for tapings of Soap and Alice.

Martin Lawrence in 2006

Another comic who appeared on Star Search is Martin Lawrence. Unlike James, although, Lawrence’s look on the present was sufficient to get him observed by the individuals who matter. Though he did not win on Star Search, his efficiency got the attention of Columbia Pictures executives and earned him the function of Maurice Warfield on What’s Happening Now!

David Archuleta

David Archuleta was acquainted with the ins and outs of actuality TV lengthy earlier than he competed on American Idol. He wasn’t on the unique Star Search, however in 2004, the “Crush” singer appeared on the short-lived Star Search reboot, profitable the junior singer division with songs like “Fallin'” by Alicia Keys.

“The thing that’s unique about David is his sense of musical styling and phrasing. The one thing that is hard to teach is the sense of the music, the feeling of the music and the rhythm,” Archuleta’s former vocal coach Dean Kaelin mentioned in an interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s intuitive. Sort of like a sixth sense.”

Drew Carey on the red carpet in 2005

Comedian Drew Carey is acquainted with competitors reveals—not simply as a bunch, however as a contestant as effectively. As his biography on The Price is Right‘s website notes, the humorous man obtained his first massive break competing on Star Search in 1988. After that, he appeared on HBO’s 14th Annual Young Comedians Special, on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and finally on his personal collection, The Good Life. By 1995, Carey had a self-titled sitcom on ABC.


Though she’s greatest generally known as an actress, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Tatyana Ali truly obtained her begin as a singer. At seven years previous, she appeared on a number of episodes of Star Search, singing songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”

dave chappelle comedians

In 1993, a teenage Dave Chappelle appeared on Star Search thrice, finally dropping to fellow comic Lester Barrie. His profession hardly suffered from this loss, although: In 2017, Forbes reported that the stand-up genius raked in $47 million.

Rosie O'Donnell

Rosie O’Donnell appeared on Star Search 5 instances, taking dwelling the highest prize each time she competed. According to her website, she used the money she received from the present to maneuver to Los Angeles, and from there scored her first function as Maggie O’Brien on Gimme a Break.


Before turning into a family title, comic Sinbad competed on Star Search within the mid-’80s. He received his first spherical, besting one other future success, Dennis Miller, however finally misplaced to a comic book named John Kassir. While you might not acknowledge that title, you’d in all probability know his voice: Kassir is a prolific voice actor who’s performed everybody from the Cryptkeeper to Buster Bunny.


Back to top button