Did You Know Lainey Wilson Was Rejected from ‘American Idol’ Seven Times?

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Before Lainey Wilson was a household name, she was a young aspiring singer trying her luck in a reality singing competition.

Lainey Wilson is blazing a trail in country music and shows no signs of slowing down. She was the most nominated artist for the 2023 CMA Awards and took home the coveted title of Entertainer of the Year. In addition, she recently won her first Grammy Award and was named The Female Country Artist at the 2024 People’s Choice Awards.

However, the Louisiana native did not have an easy start in the industry. While co-hosting an episode of Country Countdown USA, Lainey Wilson revealed that she auditioned for American Idol seven times and never made it past the first round.

Additionally, she shared that she also tried her luck on The Voice, only to have the same disappointing result.

Lainey Wilson / YouTube

Lainey Wilson performed on American Idol in a full-circle moment.

Despite the early rejection, Lainey Wilson kept her head down and continued to relentlessly pursue her musical dreams. Eventually, her hard work paid off when she was invited to be a performer on the Season 21 finale of American Idol. She reflected:

“I finally made it on American Idol. I tried out 7 times. I took the long way around, but finally made it on American Idol.”

Wilson took the Idol stage not once, but two times during the live finale. First, to perform her widely popular duet “Save Me” with country newcomer Jelly Roll, and second to perform her No. 1 hit “Heart Like A Truck” with contestants Marybeth Byrd and Warren Peay. See that performance below. 

Luke Bryan admits that American Idol does not always “get it right.”

Weeks after Lainey Wilson co-hosted Country Countdown USA, Luke Bryan visited the very same radio show where he was shocked to learn about Wilson’s failed Idol attempts. Bryan, who has been a judge on the show for the last seven seasons, reacted:

“I didn’t know that, that was the first time I heard that, but I’ll go see my producers today and find out what happened… I’m glad she didn’t take the Idol letdown to heart. It also shows we don’t always get it right.”

Lainey Wilson’s dedication to her craft and perseverance despite rejection is an inspiration and a reminder that dreams are worth chasing. Take a look back at her 2023 CMA Entertainer of the Year acceptance speech below! 


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