American Idol Makeovers

Susan Boyle has charmed the world with voice over looks, and she’s not the first. VIEW OUR GALLERY of singers from American Idol, and its British ilk, who had to pluck and primp into pop stars.

L to R: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images; Dan Steinberg / AP Photo

L to R: Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images; Dan Steinberg / AP Photo


Carrie Underwood
American Idol, Season 4
Underwood, who grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, oozed country girl charm during her first few appearances on Idol. During the course of the show, she took her natural good looks and infused them with a hint of style. After she traded cowboy boots for platform heels, platinum albums quickly followed.

Ray Mickshaw / WireImage; Kevin Winter / Getty Images


Jennifer Hudson
American Idol, Season 3
Jennifer Hudson’s voice impressed America, but her style was much less worthy of applause. She was a bad ‘80s flashback in acid-wash denim, but soon took to pouring herself into gorgeous slinky gowns. Hudson may not have won Idol, but managed to swipe an Oscar for her show-stopping performance in Dreamgirls. The diva is now styled by Vogue editor at large Andre Leon Talley. Take that, Mr. Cowell.

Newscom; Rob Loud / Getty Images


Clay Aiken
American Idol, Season 2
When Clay Aiken auditioned for Season 2 of American Idol he was nearly laughed out of the room before he belted out “Always and Forever.” In a shell necklace and baggy clothes (cargo pants, really?), the crooner was one of the nerdiest contestants to ever stand before the judgmental trio. It only took a few weeks for Aiken to undergo the rigors of an Idol makeover—he took to designer duds and a flat iron for his limp brown locks. Now only diehard Claymates can recognize the Broadway star from his 2002 audition.

L to R: Mark Mainz / Getty Images; Johannes Simon, WireImage / Getty Images


Kelly Clarkson
American Idol, Season 1
The “Since U Been Gone” singer captured the hearts of fans with her denim devotion, curvy figure, and down-home sayings (“cool beans,” anyone?). By the Idol finale, she ditched the chunky highlights for extensions and looked noticeably more svelte. Her most recent album photo was an overly Photoshopped mess, but you can’t judge the songs by their cover, right?

Ray Mickshaw, WireImage / Getty Images; Jae C. Hong / AP Photo


Kellie Pickler
American Idol, Season 5
Prior to the American Idol audition, Kellie Pickler was a cheerleader and Sonic Drive-In waitress in Albemarle, North Carolina. As a beauty queen, Pickler was crowned “Miss Stanly County,” but fell short of winning Miss North Carolina. She later made it to sixth place on Idol, but even more noteworthy is her wide-eyed, uberplastic new look.

L to R: Sergio Dionisio / Getty Images; Ralph Orlowski / Getty Images


Paul Potts
Britain’s Got Talent, Season 1
The 38-year-old operatic wonder was nagged on by judges for his frumpy fashion sense and rotundity, but Potts was the last man standing and only one smiling after he used his winnings to buy a set of veneers for his uneven teeth. The former cellphone salesman is squeezing into more fashionable suits and appears to have slimmed down since being propelled into stardom two years ago.

L to R: Vince Bucci / Getty Images; Chris Carlson / AP Photo


Katharine McPhee
American Idol, Season 5
McPhee went from jeans-wearing girl next door to sexy fashionista on her journey from the bottom of the heap to runner-up on American Idol. By the time McPhee belted out “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during the season finale, she had transformed herself with designer clothes, loads of makeup, and a newfound confidence.

L to R: Dave Hogan / Getty Images; Jason Merritt / Getty Images


Leona Lewis
The X Factor, Season 3
Lewis went from delivering pizzas to winning Album of the Year in 2007, and her look has changed to reflect her A-list status. Before she won the U.K.’s reality music competition, The X Factor, she was the girl next door in belly-baring tank tops and ill-fitting jeans. Three Grammies later, Leona is still the same girl with the big voice, but her day job doesn’t involve the phrase “extra cheese please.”

Branimir Kvartuc / AP Photo; Retna Digital


Elliot Yamin
American Idol, Season 5
Before he found his way to Boston for the Idol auditions, Elliot Yamin was touching feet and pills all day working in a Foot Locker and pharmacy. But after the show, the smooth-voiced Yamin scored $50,000 worth of dental work to repair his snaggle-toothed grin. Growing out his hair didn’t hurt his baby-faced looks either.

R: Andrew Milligan / AP Photo


Susan Boyle
Britain’s Got Talent, Season 3
A frizzy-haired, frumpy Boyle shocked the nation—and 20 million YouTube viewers—when she belted out “I Dream for a Dream” in perfect pitch. Since that night, 47-year-old Boyle appeared on CBS’s Early Show sporting a noticeably smoother coif and an eye-catching necklace. Now it’s only a matter of weeks before the Scotswoman goes glam. Watch out, Heidi Klum.