These days there's a new reality show with a panel of celebrity judges every week, but in the '80s and '90s Ed McMahon's Star Search reigned supreme.
The talent show pitted contestants against each other tournament-style in categories like singing, comedy, and dance. But, as you can see from this list, even some of the "losers" turned out alright.
The talented 10-year-old impressed the audience enough to land a job as a backup singer for Gladys Knight the next year. She lost to another pint-sized singer who is now not famous, which will be a running theme on this list.
2. Christina Aguilera
Yes, before she was a talent show judge or even a Mouseketeer, Aguilera brought the house down performing on Star Search - but she still lost, of course.
Usher - excuse me, I mean Usher Raymond IV - was already at the peak of his musical power when he competed on the show. Despite holding a 12-second note, the judges still picked his opponent.
Thankfully, the performance captured a music producer's attention, and the rest is history.
4. Tatyana Ali
Before she was acting alongside the Fresh Prince himself, Ali was trying to start a singing career. Her take on "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" was great, but the judges weren't feeling it.
In case you're curious what she's up to now, she recently tried to revive her musical career.
Do you recognize Beyonce and Kelly Rowland in this throwback clip? No, that's not Destiny's Child performing with her, but Girl's Tyme, the band that evolved into the hit girl group.
The girls famously lost to rockers Skeleton Crew, and the moment had a surprisingly profound impact on Beyonce's life. “At that time, you don’t realize you could work super hard and give everything you have – and lose," she told People.
6. Drew Carey
The beloved host of Whose Line is it Anyway and The Price is Right cut his teeth with an appearance on the reality show. Before the cameras were rolling, his opponent Joe Yanetty heckled Carey: "'Hey, it's a nice suit," he said, "A nice suit to lose in."
Yanetty later told Carey, "I won by half a star, you won by half a billion dollars."
7. Kevin James
The King of Queens star was just as funny when he appeared on Star Search as a multi-episode winner.
8. Justin Timberlake
The future NSYNC heartthrob gave a country performance as "Justin Randall," but the judges gave his opponent Anna Nardona the upper hand. Nardona didn't realize who she had competed against until VH1 called her for an interview years later.
9. Adam Sandler
While no grainy footage of the rising star has made its way onto the internet, Sandler was another comedian who competed on Star Search before making his big break.
The "I Think We're Alone Now" singer has been performing since she was just 10 years old, but mainly as a country singer. A second place finish on the reality show set her up for a successful pop career.