Fame Academy stars now – from Olympics to rumoured Simon Cowell romance

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It has been over 18 years since the iconic BBC talent show Fame Academy last appeared on our screens.

The 2002 hit show saw talented singers battle it out on stage against one another, in the hope that they would bag the all-important winning title.

The BBC’s equivalent of Simon Cowell’s ITV Pop Idol proved a huge success with audiences and often raked in millions of viewers as the battle went on.

Hosted by TV stars Cat Deeley and Patrick Kielty, Fame Academy saw the contestants all huddle together in a Big Brother-style house, where drama ensued while they curated their singing talents with the help of training sessions from vocal coaches, Carrie and David Grant.

The pair were also joined on the judging panel by Richard Park and the Bee Gees' Robin Gibb.

Although some of Fame Academy winners went on to fulfil successful music careers, others were rarely heard of again.

Here, we take a look at where all the winners of Fame Academy are now, and what they have done since championing the BBC talent competition.

David Sneddon – Series 1 winner

David Sneddon was the first person to win Fame Academy back in 2002.

The Glasgow-born hopeful proved to be a huge hit with fans, who immediately fell head over heels for his gentle nature and brimming talent.

After championing the show, David’s singing career continued to flourish, and in 2003, he bagged a number one hit with his debut single, Stop Living the Lie.

Then came David's debut album Seven Years – Ten Weeks, which reached number five in the UK Albums Chart at the time.

Although his career appeared to dwindle for a number of years after the release of his first album, David has revelled in his career as a songwriter, writing songs for some of the biggest names in the business.

Now 42 years old, the first-time winner has penned tunes under the name of The Nexus and has crafted the words behind songs from Will Young, Olly Murs, and Matt Cardle, as well as Lana Del Rey's hit National Anthem.

Sinéad Quinn – Series 1

Northern Irish songstress Sinead Quinn lost out on the winning title thanks to David.

Although she finished second on the BBC talent competition, Sinead didn’t let her runner-up status set her back, and in 2003, she released her debut single – I Can't Break Down – which shot straight to number two in the UK charts.

Just a few short months later, the Irish beauty delighted fans when she released her album, Ready to Run, which proved successful.

Five years later, Sinead found herself saying ‘I do’ to her current husband Paul Stewart, who was the drummer of The Feeling.

The couple have since welcomed three children together, and before the pandemic hit, Sinead could be found touring with her rockabilly/country band – Sinéad Quinn and the Dawnbreakers, alongside her husband who also performs in the band.

Lemar – Series 1

Although he reached third place in Fame Academy, Lemar has remained one of the most successful singers to ever emerge from the BBC show.

One year after the talent show ended, Lemar proved to fans that he deserved to win when he released his debut album Dedicated which shot straight to the top of the UK charts.

The incredibly successful album produced three top ten UK singles including Dance (With U), 50/50, and Another Day.

His success didn’t stop there, however, as in 2005, Lemar became a household name when his smash hit If There’s Any Justice In The World went to number-one in rapid time.

Throughout his career, Lemar has toured with iconic music artists including Mary J Blige, Justin Timberlake, and Enrique Iglesias.

He also has two BRIT Awards under his belt, as well as three MOBOS.

In 2017, Lemar swapped singing for the famous Dancing On Ice rink and wowed audiences with his skills.

Ainslie Henderson – Series 1

Ainslie was one of the most popular contestants on Fame Academy in 2002, but unfortunately, he never made it to the finals.

While his time on the BBC show was cut short, the singer didn’t let it stop him, and just a few months after the show came to an end, Ainslie hit the top five of the singles chart with his debut track Keep Me A Secret.

When it appeared that his singing career was drying up, the star turned to writing and has since penned songs for Westlife star Shane Filan as well as Jason Mraz.

The former singer now works in animation, after swapping his music career for film.

In 2013, Ainslie bagged himself a BAFTA award for his work on the documentary The Making Of Longbird, and a year later, he was also nominated for I Am Tom Moody.

Alex Parks – Series 2 winner

Cornish-born singer Alex Parks won the second series of Fame Academy after fans fell in love with her powerful voice.

During the competition, the quirky singer proved that she wasn’t just talented in the voice department, she also made sure to showcase songwriting skills on the stage.

After winning the competition, Alex released her first single, Maybe That's What It Takes, which she penned herself, and it shot straight to number two in the charts.

Although she released two albums in 2004 and 2005, Alex was dropped from her record label soon after her second album, Honesty, flopped.

Since then, Alex has taken a huge step back from the limelight and hasn’t released any new music since.

Alistair Griffin – Series 2

Alistair Griffin finished in second place after Alex in 2004.

His debut single Bring It On sat in the charts for a number of weeks and proved that his music was the real deal at the time.

Although he’s taken a step back from singing, Alistair has poured his talents into songwriting and in 2012, he penned I Wish for You the World for the Games Maker Choir during the Summer Olympics.

The singer basked in praise as the proceeds of his single went straight to the British Olympic Foundation and the British Paralympic Association.

Two years later, after a new lease of his following on from the success of his Olympian track, the singer released his third album From Nowhere in 2014.

Louise Griffiths – Series 2

Before she appeared on Fame Academy, Louise had already made headlines thanks to her love affair with F1 star Jenson Button.

Although she was one of the series’ favourite contestants, Louise never signed a recording contract after the Fame Academy ended.

Instead, she moved to LA in search of bigger and better things and focused on making it big on the silver screen.

While she hasn’t yet starred in any Hollywood blockbusters, Louise has made appearances in shows such as Chastity Bites, Tekken, and NCIS.

It was also reported in 2012 that she enjoyed a brief romance with Simon Cowell after he split from former fiancée Mezhgan Hussainy.

Neither party confirmed or denied the romance.

Carolynne Good – Series 2

After she finished in third on the second series of Fame Academy, Carolynne Good went on to chance her arm on The X Factor – not once, but twice.

In 2012, she almost made it when she reached the live shows, before losing a sing-off to Rylan Clark-Neal.

Now known as Carolynne Poole, the singer tied the knot footballer David Poole in 2008.

However, their love story wasn’t meant to last, and in 2011 the pair called it quits on their romance and divorced.

Then, in 2016, she found love again with another sports star – England cricketer David Willey.

Carolynne released her debut album Coming Back To Me in 2017 and as a result was nominated for two British Country Music Association Awards.

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She's also enjoyed an acting career with stints on stage and screen, including a role on Emmerdale.

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