'American Idol': 16 of the Best Losers Ranked

Over 15 seasons, many of show's might-have-beens went on to even more successful solo careers than the winners

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5. Katharine McPhee, Season 5

How Far Did They Go: Runner-up

Most Memorable Performance: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" from The Wizard of Oz

Biggest Hit: Debut single "Over It" peaked at Number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 and sold over 645,000 downloads.

Career: On crowded season 5, McPhee seemed like a pop heir apparent. She was just 21 when she auditioned and singing tunes by Whitney Houston and Christina Aguilera. Despite introducing the world to the cajón with "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and her breakout reinvention with "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" in the Top 3 episode, she still fell short to Taylor Hicks. Her first album arrived at Number Two with 381,000 copies sold, but she transitioned quickly to focus on her acting career, most notably starring as Karen Cartwright in Smash, the musical series that lasted on NBC for only two seasons but achieved a cult status. She currently stars as Paige Dineen on NBC’s Scorpion.

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