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American Idol Style Evolution: Our Favorite Contestants, Then & Now

Over the course of American Idol's 11 seasons, those lucky contestants have sure come a long way in the style department. Part of the show, of course, involves treating the major players to makeovers as they embark on their televised musical journey. But we can't chalk up their admittedly amazing transformations to that alone.

Let's take a look back at some of AI's most notable winner and runners-up—Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and more—and examine how their looks have changed since those first auditions with Simon, Paula and Randy.

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Kelly Clarkson

During the early rounds of Season One, Kelly had a notorious penchant for the dress-over-pants look. Today, the Grammy-winning Duets judge picks brightly-colored body-con dresses that show off her curves.

Left, WireImage; Right, Getty Images

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Jennifer Hudson

Back in the day, J.Hud favored casual ensembles that just didn't do her powerhouse voice justice. Now, with an Oscar (!) under her several-sizes-smaller belt, the star's a designer darling who loves wearing Michael Kors and Givenchy.

Left, WireImage; Right, Getty Images

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Fantasia Barrino

Her TV movie may have been titled Life Is Not a Fairytale, but Idol's third-season winner sure enjoys dressing like a (very sparkly) princess. When she starred on the reality series, however, she was more into form-fitting jumpsuits and halter-neck dresses.

Left, WireImage; Right, Getty Images

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Katharine McPhee

With a starring role on musical series Smash, McPhee's got a lot to smile about these days—and she looked absolutely gorgeous at this year's Met Ball in a coral gown by Elie Saab. When she competed on AI's fifth season, where she was eventually named the runner-up, she kept things simple in classic LBDs and jeans.

Left, Getty Images; Right, WWD/Steve Eichner

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Kellie Pickler

This fifth-season contestant, who wound up finishing in sixth place, has kept her look fairly consistent over the years—at least compared to the shows' other notable finalists. Looks like slim-fitting minidresses in feminine hues are her style MO.

Left, NBC NewsWire via Getty Images; Right, Getty Images

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Jordin Sparks

Idol's stunning sixth-season winner has always loved a pretty dress—but back in the day, she chose ones splashed with over-the-top prints and patterns. Now, she picks romantic looks that make a more subtle statement.

Left, WireImage; Right, Getty Images

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Carrie Underwood

Long before she won American Idol's fourth season, this country sweetheart had a thing for laid-back, Western-inspired style—think boots and jeans. Today, she proves she can pull off a sparkling dress and major heels with equal ease.

Left, WireImage; Right, Getty Images

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