Tori Kelly Has Achieved Tremendous Success Since Competing on 'American Idol'

Despite not making it to the Top 24 on Season 9 of 'American Idol,' Tori Kelly persevered and turned her singing-songwriting dreams into reality.

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Apr. 8 2024, Published 11:32 a.m. ET

Tori Kelly poses on a hammock in Hawaii during Season 22 of 'American Idol.'
Source: Disney/Eric McCandless

After enduring five weeks of auditions and the iconic Hollywood Week elimination round, Season 22 of American Idol transports the competition to Hawaii for the Top 24 to showcase their talents before the judges. Split into two groups, the contestants receive guidance from guest mentor and judge Tori Kelly as they vie for the spotlight.

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During the event, Tori herself graces the stage to sing "High Water" from her fifth studio album "Tori." Her captivating performance has since sparked a wave of praise on social media, with fans eager to delve into her own American Idol journey. Curious about Tori's past on the show and how far she advanced? Keep reading to uncover the details!

Tori Kelly performs during Season 22 of 'American Idol.'
Source: Disney/Eric McCandless
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When was Tori Kelly on 'American Idol'?

Tori Kelly makes her American Idol debut in Season 9, wowing the judges with her rendition of John Mayer's "Gravity" during auditions in Denver. Despite Simon Cowell's dissenting vote, fellow American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, and Victoria Beckham all give her a resounding "yes," propelling her to the next round.

During the legendary Hollywood Week round, Tori joins forces with Maddie Penrose, Danny Jones, Mark Labriola, and Kimberly Kerbow in a group dubbed "The Mighty Rangers," delivering a performance of Ne-Yo's smash-hit "Closer."

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Both Tori and Maddie progress, with Tori's solo cover of "Hot n Cold" by Katy Perry leaving a lasting impact. However, in the final judgment, the judges regretfully inform Tori that she hasn't secured a spot in the Top 24. Now, despite this setback, Tori Kelly persevered, turning her dreams into a reality beyond the American Idol stage.

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Tori has achieved notable success following her stint on 'American Idol.'

Following her stint on the singing competition series, Tori continued to pursue her music career independently, even learning to play the guitar and writing original songs. She later began posting singing videos on YouTube and quickly gained a substantial following.

In 2012, Tori's career took a significant leap when she released her debut EP, "Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly," which showcased her soulful sound and songwriting skills. She signed with Scooter Braun nearly one year later, which led to a record deal with Capitol Records.

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Tori's debut studio album, "Unbreakable Smile," arrived in 2015 and received critical acclaim, featuring hit songs like "Nobody Love" and "Should've Been Us."

Since then, Tori Kelly has continued to captivate audiences with her powerful vocals, soulful melodies, and heartfelt lyrics. She has collaborated with renowned artists such as Ed Sheeran, Pentatonix, and Lecrae, further solidifying her place in the music industry.

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One of Kelly's most notable achievements came with her second studio album, "Hiding Place," released in 2018. The album, produced by gospel legend Kirk Franklin, earned her two Grammy Awards, including Best Gospel Album and Best Gospel Performance/Song for the track "Never Alone."

Tori Kelly smiles and poses with her two Grammy Awards in the Press Room at the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards on Feb. 10, 2019.
Source: Getty Images
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In 2023, Tori Kelly embarked on a new musical journey, marking a significant shift in her career. She inked a deal with Epic Records on March 14 and dropped her single "Missin U" on March 17. Drawing inspiration from the R&B and hip-hop sounds of the 90s and mid-2000s, the track honors artists like Destiny's Child, Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, and TLC.

On July 28, 2023, Tori released her fourth EP, "Tori" (stylized in lowercase), under Epic Records and singer-songwriter Jon Bellion's label Beautiful Mind. Following a deluxe reissue of the EP, Tori made waves with the announcement of her fifth full-length album, also titled "Tori," which hit the shelves on April 5, 2024.

In addition to her musical endeavors, Kelly has also ventured into acting, lending her captivating voice to animated productions such as Sing, Sing 2, and the Rugrats reboot.

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