The Truth About Jimmie Allen's Time On American Idol

Country music has "American Idol" to thank for discovering some of the biggest stars in the genre today — including Jimmie Allen. The show has brought to our attention a steady flurry of country stars who have seen huge success in the genre, like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Underwood has regularly praised the former Fox turned ABC talent search for giving her the platform to become one of the biggest stars the genre has ever seen, even telling her fellow "Idol" superstar Clarkson on "The Kelly Clarkson Show" in December 2020, "I wouldn't be doing anything I'm doing now [without 'American Idol']."

But they're far from the only two. The country charts are also littered with several other familiar faces who got their start on "American Idol," including Gabby Barrett, Allen's tour mate Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, and Kellie Pickler, who all made it to the final stages. (Did you know that Lady A's Hillary Scott, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton, and Maren Morris all also auditioned?)

But what some fans may have forgotten (or not know at all) is that Allen once competed for the show, but didn't exactly make it as far as some of his country music peers. Read on for what you need to know about his "Idol" journey.

Jimmie Allen was booted from American Idol after Hollywood week

Jimmie Allen appeared on "American Idol" during Season 10 back in 2011 and impressed then judges Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson, and Steven Tyler with his country twang. He made it all the way to Hollywood week and into the top 40, but was ditched when it was revealed he hadn't made it to the top 24.

"They told me that I was very unique, and my style, it goes against the grain. They just said to keep doing what I do, and things will work out. They never really said why I didn't make it," he told Cape Gazette in 2011, also revealing he had no bad blood with the show. "It was cool. It was definitely a learning experience, and putting my name out there and stuff, that got me a few label interests and stuff like that."

Sadly, not much of Allen's time on the show was actually broadcast, which was his one disappointment. "I just wish that some of my performances would have been... featured. Not even featured, but just showing a clip of a performance," he said.

In May 2019, Allen posted and deleted a clip of the moment he was cut on Instagram as he encouraged others not to give up. "Someone telling us 'No' doesn't stop our dream... we stop our dream. Never stop fighting, never stop dreaming. Believe in yourself, you can rise from the ashes," he wrote (via Taste of Country).

Jimmie Allen returned to American Idol as a star

Jimmie Allen had the last laugh over the competition in April when he returned to the "American Idol" stage as a superstar in his own right. Allen came back to perform a duet with contestant Alanis Sophia, as well as getting to showcase his own song, "Freedom Was A Highway," originally a duet with Brad Paisley, with contestant Cecil Ray.

Allen opened up about the moment while chatting with tWitch on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in July 2021. "It was crazy to go back to 'Idol' because I only made top 40. So they sent me home when they were picking the top 24 for the live show. And going back this time singing my own music this time, I still felt like I was being judged," he joked, admitting he was "nervous" he could be "sent home again."

After being booted from "Idol," Allen went on to sign a publishing deal in 2016 and then signed to a label to release his own music in 2017. He's since gone on to release hits including "Best Shot" and "Make Me Want To," as well as being nominated for a slew of awards, including being the first Black artist to be crowned new male artist of the year at the ACMs.

It's not just in the music world where Allen is making waves either, as September saw him announced as a contestant on Season 30 of "Dancing with the Stars."