How American Idol Finalists Feel As They Wait for the Winner to Be Announced

American Idol was a television sensation in 2002. It introduced a new interactive singing competition in which the viewers voted for their favorite contestants each week until only one vocalist was left standing. The show quickly became one of the most successful in history and would launch the musical careers of many talented Americans.

Oprah brought three very memorable finalists from the first and second seasons of American Idol—Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken and Justin Guarini—onto The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003 to talk about their experiences during the competition and describe what their transition into instant stardom was like.

After the show, Oprah wanted to know what went through their minds in the suspenseful moments just before the winners were announced. Having been nominated for awards herself, she knew a little something about that experience. Watch as she shares the apprehensive thoughts she's had in that moment just before the envelope is opened.