Losing to Win: Remembering the Real Stars of 'Star Search'
Ten years ago this month, "Star Search" went off the air for good. The pioneering TV talent competition, which had its heyday during its Ed McMahon years from 1983 to 1995, underwent an Arsenio Hall-hosted reboot in 2003, but by that time, a little show called "American Idol" had come along and stolen its thunder.
But truth be told, no talent show, not even "Idol," ever spawned as many superstars as "Star Search" did. Many hugely successful singers got their start on the charmingly cheesy show (including future Idols David Archuleta, Diana DeGarmo, and Kimberly Caldwell; current "Voice" contestant Josh Kaufman; and two "Voice" coaches, Christina Aguilera and Usher). Interestingly, many of these singers didn't win. But that obviously didn't slow them down.
Thanks to the magic of old-school VHS technology and advances in new-school digitization, the Internet is awesomely awash in grainy, incriminating "Star Search" footage. Here are the best clips from the series' most notable losers and/or future stars:
Justin Timberlake (aka Justin Randall)
In 1992, long before he was wearing a suit and tie, 11-year-old Justin opted for a cowboy look (and sound). He wasn't exactly bringing sexy back, but he sure was a cute kid. Justin lost out to a precocious baby diva named Anna Nardona, who later went back to having a normal childhood; Anna didn't even realize that she'd won over the Justin Timberlake until VH1 contacted her years later for a "Star Search" flashback special.
Destiny's Child (aka Girls Tyme)
Beyoncé once told Yahoo Music that this 1993 incarnation of what Ed McMahon awkwardly called her "hip-hop rappin'" group was going for a TLC vibe, although there were shades of Kris Kross and the "Living Single" theme song here, too. Surprisingly, the hype girl in this group actually managed to outshine baby Bey onstage… but when Girls Tyme lost out to hairy rock band Skeleton Crew's perfect score, that might have been a sign that it was time to change direction, and soon she was gone. An audio clip of this "Star Search" performance amusingly opens Beyoncé's recent hit, "Flawless." Skeleton Crew, who were shocked that they won, recently told People, "[We've] always said that Skeleton Crew will remain a footnote in the career of Beyoncé… This is Beyoncé's story, and obviously our 'destiny' was to play a part in it. If that experience helped to shape her and make her into what she is now, then what more can we ask?"