What Happened To Kellie Pickler After American Idol?

Kellie Pickler captured America's hearts on Season 5 of "American Idol" back in 2006 (yes, it really was that long ago!) charming the nation with her fish out of water quips after leaving her tiny hometown of Albemarle, North Carolina, behind for the bright lights of Hollywood. Seriously, who could forget that hilarious Season 5 finale clip that showed Pickler getting acquainted with some upscale cuisine she'd never even heard of before?

The launching pad that gave the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson a career boost also worked like a charm for Pickler — and it's something she's still grateful for. "I was roller-skating burgers out at Sonic and trying to figure out what am I gonna do with my life," Pickler told E! News in February of how the Fox show, which was reincarnated on ABC, changed her life forever. "I got in line for 'Idol' and it was obviously the rocket that launched my career, but it was God that was the fuel," she added.

But what happened to this down-home country girl after landing herself in fifth place on the season that saw Taylor Hicks crowned the winner and Katharine McPhee runner-up? Here's what this star has really been up to since her "American Idol" days and what she's up to today.

What happed to Kellie Pickler's music career?

Of course, Kellie Pickler's main aim auditioning for "American Idol" was to make it as a country singer. Following hot on the heels of Carrie Underwood who won the season before her, Pickler landed herself a record deal right out of the gate and released her debut album, "Small Town Girl," in 2006. She's had a fair amount of success as a singer, too, dropping "Kellie Pickler" in 2008, "100 Proof" in 2012, and "The Woman I Am" in 2013. But much of Pickler's success since "Idol" has been outside of music.

You may remember the star competed alongside Derek Hough on Season 16 of "Dancing with the Stars" in 2013. The twosome took home the coveted Mirrorball trophy, which put Zendaya in second place — but that's not her only foray into the reality TV world. In 2015, Pickler and her husband, Kyle Jacobs, landed their own reality show, "I Love Kellie Pickler," which ran for three seasons on CMT. 

One of her biggest TV gigs came in 2017 though, when she landed her own talk show alongside Ben Aaron, the Daytime Emmy nominated "Pickler & Ben." The syndicated show saw the two interview plenty of celebrities — including Dolly Parton and "American Idol" judge Luke Bryan – and also saw the two have their fair share of fun, like when Pickler pranked Madame Tussauds guests by posing as her waxwork. But the show came to an end in 2019.

Kellie Pickler's movie and radio career

Aside from her singing, reality TV, and talk show hosting career, you may also recognize Kellie Pickler from her Christmas movies. The "American Idol" alumni has become a bit of a staple in the world of Hallmark Holiday offerings, having appeared in 2018's "Christmas at Graceland," plus 2019's follow-up "Wedding at Graceland," and then "The Mistletoe Secret."

She's also since turned her hand to radio presenting, hosting her own SiriusXM The Highway show since February every weekday. "This is such a fun and amazing opportunity to really connect with country music fans across North America. I'm looking forward to sharing some of my current favorite songs and artists, along with chatting with some very special guests!" she said in a statement at the time.

But while she's still living her life in the spotlight with her varied showbiz career, this star isn't all about the glitz and glamor of Hollywood. "I clock in and I do my job and then I come home and I'm a wife. I'm a friend. I'm a neighbor. I'm a Godmother. I care about things that truly matter," Pickler, who resides in Nashville, told E! News in February. "I hate the word celebrity. It dehumanizes people. I clock out of that world as quick as possible and I keep my feet on solid ground in the real world," she shared. She really is just a small town girl. And that's all right with us.