History Main / TheRunnerUpTakesItAll

23rd Jul '16 1:27:33 PM nombretomado
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* Jade Goody of the UK version of ''BigBrother''. In fact she only came fourth!

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* Jade Goody of the UK version of ''BigBrother''.''Series/BigBrother''. In fact she only came fourth!
27th Jun '16 7:25:23 PM Adept
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* The most recent seasons of ''TheBachelor'' had an interesting take on this trope. Jason selected Melissa Rycroft as the winner over Molly Malaney in the Finale. But during the "after show", he dumped winner Melissa in favor of Molly. Melissa ended up on ''Series/DancingWithTheStars'' (and wound up winning the All-Stars season), while Molly ended up with the "not as rich as he says he is, and willing to humiliate Melissa on national television, so how great can he be" Jason.

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* The most recent seasons of ''TheBachelor'' ''Series/TheBachelor'' had an interesting take on this trope. Jason selected Melissa Rycroft as the winner over Molly Malaney in the Finale. But during the "after show", he dumped winner Melissa in favor of Molly. Melissa ended up on ''Series/DancingWithTheStars'' (and wound up winning the All-Stars season), while Molly ended up with the "not as rich as he says he is, and willing to humiliate Melissa on national television, so how great can he be" Jason.



* In a way, Gwen from ''TotalDramaIsland'' (the runner up of the first season) because she is better liked by the fanbase.

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* In a way, Gwen from ''TotalDramaIsland'' ''Series/TotalDramaIsland'' (the runner up of the first season) because she is better liked by the fanbase.



* ''TheXFactor'' has played this trope straight. The runners up from the first series, the vocal group G4, were ultimately more successful than winner Steve Brookstein, whose coronation single was his [[OneHitWonder only hit ever]], although this was more to do with diusputes with the label, who he has been INCREDIBLY critical of since. In the 2009 series, runner up Olly Murs seems to have become more successful than winner Joe [=McElderry=] (whose singing career looked to have been kind of a non-starter after very publicly losing the Christmas number one single spot to Music/RageAgainstTheMachine - he released a cover of a Norweigan song that disappointed, his follow up singles went nowhere, and his appearance on another talent competition reality show, ''Popstar to Operastar'', was mainly to build up whatever momentum he had left), as have [[SoBadItsGood memorable]] and [[AnimeHair visually distinctive]] duo Jedward, who appear to be getting into children's TV presenting and advertising and have twice carried the Irish baton at Series/{{Eurovision|SongContest}} successfully enough.

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* ''TheXFactor'' ''Series/TheXFactor'' has played this trope straight. The runners up from the first series, the vocal group G4, were ultimately more successful than winner Steve Brookstein, whose coronation single was his [[OneHitWonder only hit ever]], although this was more to do with diusputes with the label, who he has been INCREDIBLY critical of since. In the 2009 series, runner up Olly Murs seems to have become more successful than winner Joe [=McElderry=] (whose singing career looked to have been kind of a non-starter after very publicly losing the Christmas number one single spot to Music/RageAgainstTheMachine - he released a cover of a Norweigan song that disappointed, his follow up singles went nowhere, and his appearance on another talent competition reality show, ''Popstar to Operastar'', was mainly to build up whatever momentum he had left), as have [[SoBadItsGood memorable]] and [[AnimeHair visually distinctive]] duo Jedward, who appear to be getting into children's TV presenting and advertising and have twice carried the Irish baton at Series/{{Eurovision|SongContest}} successfully enough.
22nd Jun '16 9:33:25 AM twilicorn
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** Casey James is the most successful singer from Season 9, having a few songs on the country chart, but the most successful of the finalists is Katie Stevens, who finished 8th place, but emerged five years later as one of the stars of the hit show FakingIt. Chances are no one remembers any of the other Top 24 contestants, including Casey (except for [=Lee DeWyze=] being the worst winner ever).
*** The only other contestants from the season who get any attention are Todrick Hall, who didn't make the Top 12, but became a successful YouTube celebrity, and Tori Kelly, who didn't even make it past Hollywood Week, but emerged in 2015 with the album "Unbreakable Smile".
** [=MacKenzie Bourg=], who finished fourth on Season 15, may be on his way to becoming another example of this, which could be owed to both his surprising diligence and the efforts of his fiercely loyal fanbase that's been with him since his stint on Season 3 of ''Series/TheVoice''. A mere two days after his elimination, [=MacKenzie=] went on to record his widely-praised original song "Roses", releasing it the night before the finale, which led to it skyrocketing up the iTunes charts in less than a day. Overall it sold 22,000 copies, enough for it to debut at #4 on the Rock Digital Songs chart, the best position for an ''Idol'' alum since Phillip Phillips' coronation single "Home".

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** Casey James is the most successful singer from Season 9, having a few songs on the country chart, but the most successful of the finalists is Katie Stevens, who finished 8th place, but emerged five years later as one of the stars of the hit show FakingIt.''Series/FakingIt''. Chances are no one remembers any of the other Top 24 contestants, including Casey (except for [=Lee DeWyze=] being the worst winner ever).
*** The only other contestants from the season who get any attention are Todrick Hall, who didn't make the Top 12, but became a successful YouTube Website/YouTube celebrity, and Tori Kelly, who didn't even make it past Hollywood Week, but emerged in 2015 with the album "Unbreakable Smile".
Smile", which led to her getting a supporting role in the film ''WesternAnimation/{{Sing}}'' a year later.
** [=MacKenzie Bourg=], [=MacKenzie=] Bourg, who finished fourth on Season 15, may be on his way to becoming another example of this, which could be owed to both his surprising diligence and the efforts of his fiercely loyal fanbase that's been with him since his stint on Season 3 of ''Series/TheVoice''. A mere two days after his elimination, [=MacKenzie=] went on to record his widely-praised original song "Roses", releasing it the night before the finale, which led to it skyrocketing up the iTunes charts in less than a day. Overall it sold 22,000 copies, enough for it to debut at #4 on the Rock Digital Songs chart, the best position for an ''Idol'' alum since Phillip Phillips' coronation single "Home".
22nd Jun '16 9:27:05 AM twilicorn
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* The ''Billboard'' Year-End charts rank the most popular songs of each year for the pop, R&B, and country charts. On a few occasions, the top song of the year has been one that did not reach #1 on the actual chart: Music/FaithHill's "Breathe" and Music/{{Lifehouse}}'s "Hanging by a Moment", both of which only got to #2 on the Hot 100 but were that chart's top songs of 2000 and 2001, respectively.

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* The ''Billboard'' Year-End charts rank the most popular songs of each year for the pop, R&B, and country charts. On a few occasions, the top song of the year has been one that did not reach #1 on the actual chart: chart. Once this happened two consecutive years: Music/FaithHill's "Breathe" and Music/{{Lifehouse}}'s "Hanging by a Moment", Moment" both of which only got to #2 on the Hot 100 but were that chart's top songs of 2000 and 2001, respectively.


Added DiffLines:

** 2008 winner Music/AmyWinehouse was the biggest name of the bunch at the time, but she died under tragic circumstances not long after her win with the DeadArtistsAreBetter trope keeping in the public eye. One of the losers that year was Music/TaylorSwift, who would go on to equal her in popularity during TheNewTens.
22nd Jun '16 9:13:43 AM twilicorn
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** 2012: While Music/BonIver is still well-respected in alternative circles, they're not quite as popular with the general public as Music/NickiMinaj, Music/{{Skrillex}} or even Music/TheBandPerry.



** 2001 was won by long forgotten boy band A1. One of the acts they beat would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the new millenium. Their name was Music/{{Coldplay}}.

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** 2001 was won by long forgotten boy band A1. One of the acts they beat would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the new millenium.millennium. Their name was Music/{{Coldplay}}.



** Austin Mahone, who won in 2013, was a fairly popular teen idol, but his career was held back by the continued popularity of One Direction. Thus, his career quickly fizzled out, and he himself faded into obscurity. His opponents included Music/IggyAzalea, Music/TwentyOnePilots, Music/TheWeeknd, and Music/{{Zedd}, all of whom had considerably more success than him.

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** Austin Mahone, who won in 2013, was a fairly popular teen idol, but his career was held back by the continued popularity of One Direction. Thus, his career quickly fizzled out, and he himself faded into obscurity. His opponents included Music/IggyAzalea, Music/TwentyOnePilots, Music/TheWeeknd, and Music/{{Zedd}, Music/{{Zedd}}, all of whom had considerably more success than him.
4th Jun '16 3:15:24 PM twilicorn
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** The judges on this same season told Music/LindseyStirling she'd never sell as a "Hip Hop Violinist", that she needed a band to work with, and that she just wasn't good enough to f

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** The judges on this same season told Music/LindseyStirling she'd never sell as a "Hip Hop Violinist", that she needed a band to work with, and that she just wasn't good enough to ffly through the air playing the violin. She's now gone on two tours and has surpassed LindseyLohan in Youtube search popularity, she does not work with a band in most of her music videos, and in her "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDsfou6UfjU Mission Impossible]]" collaboration, she imitated the MissionImpossibleCableDrop whilst playing.
* Rachel Tucker finished fourth on the Andrew Lloyd Webber talent search show 'I'd Do Anything', however unlike the winner who has virtually disappeared, Rachel went from strength to strength playing Meat in ''Theatre/WeWillRockYou'', and played Elphaba in the West End production of ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' for over two years. She ended her run as the West End's longest-running Elphaba and a fan favorite.
** Samantha Barks finished third. She went on to play [[Theatre/LesMiserables Eponine]] at the Queen's Theatre, sing the role at the 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2, and played the same in the 2012 film version. Not too shabby.
** And fulfilling the trope to the letter, runner-up Jessie Buckley went to RADA, made quite the splash at the Creator/RoyalShakespeareCompany and broke into television with glowing reviews for her role as Princess Marya Bolkonskaya in the Creator/{{BBC}}'s 2016 adaptation of literary classic ''Literature/WarAndPeace''.
* This trope is older than Reality TV. In 1986, Creator/HalleBerry was Miss Ohio in the Miss USA pageant, but came in second place for the main title. Obviously, she has since gone on to become an Oscar-winning actress.
* On a similar note, the winner of the inaugural Elite Model Management ''Look of the Year'' contest in 1983 was a 15-year-old called Lisa Hollenbeck. Among the losers that year were Creator/CindyCrawford and Stephanie Seymour, who've probably gotten over their disappointment by now.
* Creator/{{CMT}}'s ''Can You Duet'' (a two-season show that formed new musical duos) zig-zagged this trope:
** Season 1 winners Caitlin & Will broke up after only one single, while third-placers Joey + Rory (Rory Lee Feek and [[CreatorCouple his wife]], Joey Martin Feek) recorded eight albums and amassed a sizeable fanbase with [[NoHitWonder almost no help from country radio]], helped in no small part by Rory's name recognition as a songwriter and producer. They continued to record until [[AuthorExistenceFailure Joey died of cervical cancer]] in March 2016. Even fourth-placers Kate & Kacey were more successful, releasing three albums and co-writing a Music/GeorgeStrait album track.
** Season 2 winners Steel Magnolia were {{One Hit Wonder}}s with "Keep On Lovin' You" and had a semi-successful debut album, but they broke up in 2012. Fifth-place O'Shea already had a following and some awards in their native Australia. The Stellas went on to have a few hits in their native Canada, and their daughters Lennon and Maisy, in addition to being regulars on the show ''Series/{{Nashville}}'', have gotten something of a [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff cult following in Switzerland]] after a song of theirs was [[RepurposedPopSong used in a commercial]].
* ''Series/NashvilleStar'' (2003-08) zig-zagged this trope, with some seasons producing famous people only among the runners-up, and some seasons [[AvertedTrope producing nobody of note at all, winning or losing]]:
** Season 1 winner Buddy Jewell was a TwoHitWonder with the smashes "Help Pour Out the Rain" and "Sweet Southern Comfort", but his second album bombed and he was never heard from again. Music/MirandaLambert had an ''extremely'' slow start, with no major hits off either of her first two albums between 2005-08, but finally had her BreakthroughHit in 2009 with "White Liar" and has since become one of the most popular female acts in Nashville in TheNewTens.
** Season 2 was a wash, at least stateside: winner Brad Cotter had no success whatsoever with his debut album (even though the lead single "I Meant To" briefly held the record for the highest debuting single by a new act on the country charts {later bested by Lambert, above}, it stalled at #35). Runner-up George Canyon went nowhere in the US, but remains fairly popular in his native Canada.
** Season 3: Also a wash, as winner Erika Jo's album went nowhere, and runner-up Jason Meadows's success with his lone single "18 Video Tapes" was limited to small-market stations at best. Fourth-placer Lance Miller has written a few hit singles for other people, though.
** Season 4: Also looked to be a wash at first, as winner Chris Young's debut album was a flop; however, he scored a BreakthroughHit with "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)" from his second album and has been a consistent hit-maker since. Fourth-placer Matt Mason later won the only season of Creator/{{CMT}}'s short-lived ''CMT's Next Superstar'', but his win seems to have been for naught.
** Season 5: Perhaps the biggest example yet, as winner Angela Hacker never released anything other than an album of demos that she cut while she was still on the show, and a couple guest appearances on Cowboy Troy albums. She's such a nobody that she doesn't even have a Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} article. Meanwhile, fifth-placer Whitney Duncan managed to get a full album out (although she had an EarlyBirdCameo on a Music/KennyRogers song back in 2004), and ''seventh''-placer Music/KaceyMusgraves has become a popular artist in TheNewTens despite minimal airplay.
** Season 6: Also a wash. Winner Melissa Lawson only put out one single that never made it to an album; fourth-placer Coffey Anderson did a few independent Christian albums; and seventh-placer Justin Gaston switched to acting.
* For a while, ''Series/CanadianIdol'' Season 5 winner Brian Melo had the best career of the singers that season, if only because his winner's single hit #11 on the Canadian Hot 100. A few of the winners such as Ryan Malcolm and Kalan Porter had number one hits on the old Canadian charts, but that chart used the outdated method of counting only single sales (for example, Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" remake stayed in the top 20 for over three years!). Four years later, third-placer and then two-hit wonder Music/CarlyRaeJepsen releases the single "Call Me Maybe," which not only became the show's first top 10 hit, but also reached number-one. But that was only just the beginning. Shortly after the song reached the top, Music/JustinBieber tweeted that he was a fan of the song and made a video of it with his friends. With million of people hearing about Carly for the first time ever, her song proceeded to top over ten other national charts including the Hot 100 in the United States, and become a full-fledged [[MemeticMutation meme]], especially after a Barack Obama-inspired parody was released. Jepsen remains the only ''Canadian Idol'' contestant to be famous outside of Canada.
** Three years earlier, Jacob Hoggard places third behind Kalan Porter and Theresa Sokyrka. Jacob's band, Hedley, has since gone on to chart more singles and albums than any other acts associated with ''Series/CanadianIdol.'' (In Canada, that is. As mentioned above, most non-Canadians have only heard of Jepsen.) They even cracked the US Modern Rock charts once.
** According to ThatOtherWiki, both Melo and runner-up Jaydee Bixby have sold more albums tham Jepsen, but it is a totally different story for singles success.
* A downplayed example from ''Series/MasterchefAustralia''. Season 7 winner Billie isn't doing bad, having earned herself a respectable career in the cooking industry as a new member of Heston Blumenthal's "The Fat Duck". But the one who got the most out of the show is probably 4th place Reynold. Hailed as the "Dessert King" of the show, he proved to be one of the most popular contestants the series has to offer; and after getting eliminated, he managed to open a successful dessert bar in Sydney. He was brought back in Season 8 to coordinate one of the Pressure Tests, an honour typically reserved for only the best cooks in the country.
* None of the male winners of Golf Channel's ''The Big Break'' have made it to the PGA Tour since their appearance, but quite a few lower finishers have. Several older contestants had already played on the PGA Tour before Big Break; Jeff Mitchell (from BBVI) was for a while the only ''Big Break'' player to win a PGA Tour event...the 1980 Phoenix Open. (He was also a co-leader after the 1st round of The Masters that year.) Since then, Tommy Gainey, eliminated fifth in Big Break IV, and Matt Every, eliminated ''second'' in Big Break VIII, have won on the PGA Tour.
* Several singers were rejected by ''Series/AmericanIdol'' such as Music/ColbieCaillat, Music/LadyAntebellum singer Hilary Scott, and R and B singer Bobby Valentino.
* It's hard to remember that ChristinaGrimmie didn't win Season 6 of TheVoice considering that she's still popular on YouTube while the two singers that placed above her disappeared as fast as Adam's beard did. Of course the show has yet to see a truly successful winner; Cassadee Pope from Season 3 may be the leading success story, but Music/MelanieMartinez from that same season has also achieved considerable success after her stint on the show.
* The UK series played the trope disastrously straight in its first season. Leanne Mitchell's 'winners' song didn't make the top 40, and her album, released a year later with almost no promotion, failed to even make the top 100. Runners up Bo Bruce and Tyler James never made it onto the wider stage, but at least their albums didnt fare this badly.
** The second series both averted and played straight the trope. Mentor Will.I.am put everything on his protégée Leah Mcfall winning, but it was instead won by Andrea Begley. Begley was the first UK voice alum whose album charted in the top 10, but Mcfall has been better known, and Will has kept faith in her.
* ''Series/StarSearch'' had one in 1985 Jr. Female Vocalist runner-up Tiffany Renee, who dropped the "Renee" and became the first SS alum to land a #1 hit. Meanwhile, the girl who defeated her, Melissa Moultrie, had an appearance on the '80s version of ''Series/TheTwilightZone''...and that's pretty much it.
* On ''Series/LastComicStanding'', the only winner to have a relatively successful career after the show was Josh Blue. Runners up Doug Benson, Ralphie May, Rich Vos, Kathleen Madigan, Creator/GabrielIglesias, and Amy Schumer are far more popular than the winners of their respective series (May and Vos were 2 and 3 behind season 1 winner Dat Phan. Madigan came in fifth in Season 2, where John Heffron won. Schumer came in fourth and Benson in sixth [although the latter was fairly well-known beforehand] in Season 5 to Jon Reep. Iglesias was also already well known when he competed in Season 4, where he was disqualified for [[DisproportionateRetribution using a cell phone to contact his family]]).
** Kathleen Madigan was also an established comedian, having appeared in nationally televised stand-up programs since at least the early 1990s.
* On ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'', simply ''appearing'' on the show is enough to grant superstar status in the gay club circuit, since almost every queen gains a following during the course of the season, in addition to whatever fanbase they had prior to entering, and all former contestants go on the Drag Race tour. Actually winning the season is a formality more than anything.
* In September 2012, Music/MatchboxTwenty finally scored their first #1 album on the Billboard 200 with ''North.'' Debuting one rung below it was Music/ImagineDragons' ''Night Visions.'' The former would go on to become the second lowest-selling #1 album of 2012, while the latter on the other hand would become one of the best selling albums of 2013, and one of a very small number of albums to sell 1 million copies in a declining sales climate. Additionally, ''North'''s debut week was the only one in its lifetime in which it sold more copies a week than ''Night Visions.''
* [[Series/BigBrother Big Brother Canada]] season 1 ended with Jillian winning and Gary Levi placing second. Gary has since gone on to be a huge social media personality, a spokesperson for being yourself across Canada, and co-hosts the second season after-show with Peter Brown (sixth place). Jillian, meanwhile, is rarely heard of and often thought of as the woman who stole Gary's first place prize (one of the jurors accidentally voted for the wrong person, and that one vote decided the game.)
* In the South Korean professional ''VideoGame/StarCraft'' scene, Hong Jin-Ho a.k.a. [=YellOw=] is known as the "King of Silver" for repeatedly placing 2nd in tournaments but never managing to win first place in a major tournament. But after retiring from professional [=StarCraft=], he leveraged that reputation and popularity to become a TV star, re-purposing his quick wits as a frequent guest on SNL Korea as well as various game, panel, and variety shows.
* Anyone remember Little Boots? She was the singer who won BBC's ''Sound of 2009'' poll. She hasn't gone onto much success, but third-placed Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine and sixth-placed Music/LadyGaga become much more successful.
** Same deal with Michael Kiwanuka, who faded into obscurity after winning the "Sound of 2012" whereas Frank Ocean and Music/{{Skrillex}} soared to superstardom in the months that followed.
** Music/{{Haim}}, who won in 2013, hasn't done too badly, but Music/TheWeeknd would ultimately eclipse them by 2015.
** Music/SamSmith, the 2014 winner, has averted this so far. He is still far and away the most successful act to have been featured that year. This would happen again with 2015 winners Years And Years.
** The ''Sound of 2016'' poll was won by Jack Garratt, who's obscure compared to second placer Alessia Cara.
* The ''Billboard'' Year-End charts rank the most popular songs of each year for the pop, R&B, and country charts. On a few occasions, the top song of the year has been one that did not reach #1 on the actual chart: Music/FaithHill's "Breathe" and Music/{{Lifehouse}}'s "Hanging by a Moment", both of which only got to #2 on the Hot 100 but were that chart's top songs of 2000 and 2001, respectively.
* This is also true of the Year-End charts for the CountryMusic format, which have presented a few oddities:
** "Friends in Low Places" by Music/GarthBrooks only ranked at ''#28'' for the year, with the top hit of 1990 being the largely-forgotten "Nobody's Home" by Music/ClintBlack.
** Surely the biggest country hit of 1992 was Billy Ray Cyrus's inescapable "Achy Breaky Heart", right? Nope, according to ''Billboard'' it was "I Saw the Light" by Wynonna Judd; Billy Ray ranked #2 for the year.
** 2003 presents a real oddity. The year had multiple long-lasting #1 hits, including "19 Somethin'" by Music/MarkWills, "Have You Forgotten?" by Darryl Worley, "Beer for My Horses" by Music/TobyKeith and Music/WillieNelson, and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" by Music/AlanJackson and Music/JimmyBuffett. So what was the biggest hit? "My Front Porch Looking In" by Music/{{Lonestar}}, which barely squeaked in a single week at #1 after "Beer" did. Respectively, "19 Somethin'", "Have You Forgotten?", "Beer for My Horses", and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" ranked at #3, #12, #2, and #4.
** 2010's biggest hit was "Love Like Crazy" by Lee Brice, which only got to #3, and became the first song ever to take the ''Billboard'' Year-End honor for country despite not peaking at #1 on the main charts. This is due mainly to "Love Like Crazy" setting a new record for the longest run in the chart's history, as it spent a whopping ''56'' weeks on the charts.
** 2012's biggest hit was "Time Is Love" by Josh Turner, which only got to #2, but also benefited from an abnormally long chart run.
** Brice did it again in 2015 when "Drinking Class" was the top hit of the year despite also only peaking at #2, but [[RuleOfThree also benefited from an abnormally long chart run]].
* At the 1965 UsefulNotes/{{Academy Award}}s, the winner for Best Live-Action Short Subject was Claude Berri's ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ_ugJ_E11A Le Poulet]]'', a 15-minute DeliberatelyMonochrome short about a family who buys a chicken. While it's a cute movie and there is a decent punchline in there, it's not exactly memorable, and ''Le Poulet'' faded into obscurity. One of the losers? Oh, only a cute little Creator/JimHenson movie called '''''Film/TimePiece'''''...
** This wasn't the last time this would happen to Jim - in 1979, "The Rainbow Connection" from ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'' lost its Oscar to "It Goes Like It Goes" from ''Film/NormaRae''. The winning song, while decent, is barely remembered these days, while "Rainbow Connection" has become a modern standard, covered by everyone from the Music/{{Carpenters}} to Johnny Mathis to Music/SarahMcLachlan.
* Canadian reality competition ''The Next Star'' has produced these results at least twice. For example, the first season was won by a boy named Dunnery Bond who quickly faded to obscurity after the show. A few years later, sixth-place contestant Alyssa Reid would burst onto the scene with a hit remake of Music/{{Heart}}'s "Alone," which became an unlikely #2 hit in the U.K. A few years later, Diego Gomes would find himself outperformed by fellow teenage singer Victoria Duffield, who had a hit with "Shut Up and Dance". While neither Alyssa nor Victoria can really be called "superstars," they've certainly done better than the winners.
* The 1990 Juno Awards (Canada's Grammy equivalent) had Daniel Lanois win the award for Most Promising Male Vocalist. While he's been modestly successful, he didn't get much fame outside of Canada, and he's better known now as a producer than he is as an artist. One of the losers just so happened to be a young Music/RufusWainwright. Enough said, really.
** The 1980 and 1981 awards were won by Walter Rossi and Graham Shaw. Even in Canada these names are very obscure today. But it just so happens that one of the losers both years was some guy called Music/BryanAdams.
** In 1979 the award was won by Nick Gilder. Today, Gilder is recalled as a {{one hit wonder}} for "Hot Child In The City" but one of the victors was future funk legend Music/RickJames.
** In 1987 the Most Promising Female award went to the late Rita [=MacNeil=] -- and beat out an up-and-coming Quebecois vocalist named Music/CelineDion.
** Music/{{Kiesza}} won in 2015. While she hasn't done too badly, one of the artists she beat out was Music/ShawnMendes, who has all but eclipsed her in popularity especially outside of Canada.
* A fictional example in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'''s Witch Trials. Since witches are almost all terrible losers, the winner can look forward to being vaguely resented for the rest of the year (which is fine because it's always Granny Weatherwax and she doesn't care). Nanny Ogg, as runner-up, gets told it was a good try, and she did really well, and would she like a drink? In "The Sea and Little Fishes", she's very afraid that without Granny entering, and no-one else having their head in the game, she might actually ''win''.
-->"She only just lost" was a much better compliment than "she only just won".
* At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Women's judo 70g tournament was won by Masae Ueno. While most people won't recognize that name, they'll certainly know the athlete who finished in third: Ronda Rousey.
* During October of 2013, Music/JustinTimberlake's ''The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2'' debuted at #1 on the ''Billboard 200'' with 350,000 copies sold. At #2 was Music/{{Drake}}'s ''Nothing Was the Same'', which hit #1 the week prior with sales of 658,000 and second week sales of 148,000. Below both of them was Music/{{Lorde}}'s debut album ''Music/PureHeroine'', which stalled at #3 with a debut of only 129,000. Eventually, ''Pure Heroine'' became a SleeperHit that outsold both albums in the United States and worldwide, reaching double platinum status in U.S. alone and global sales of nearly three million. Considering that this was a debut album by a teenage girl from New Zealand and they were established superstars, that's impressive.
* Music/LanaDelRey taking #1 on the Billboard 200 in June 2014 with ''Ultraviolence'' was an impressive accomplishment in its own right, especially given that it ended the long-lasting #1 streak of ''Music/LinkinPark''. But the true Cinderella story of that week was the #2 album, Music/SamSmith's ''In The Lonely Hour.'' In the long run, Del Rey barely made it to gold (and Linkin Park didn't even make it, period), while Smith captured lightning in a bottle on the way to a massive ''2 million'' copies in the U.S. alone. Not bad, considering it was Smith's ''debut album.''
* Many times, the Grammy for Best New Artist is won by an artist who hasn't done too well in comparison to the runners-up.
** Famed Broadway star Robert Goulet won the 1963 award. While Goulet had a respectable career, Peter, Paul, and Mary and the Four Seasons have held up better.
** Averted in 1965, which was won by Music/TheBeatles. who by the time of their win already achieved more than their competition ever would ''combined''. Had someone else won and they would today be considered the ''Film/HowGreenWasMyValley'' of the Grammys.
** Bobbie Gentry won the 1968 award; today, she is only remembered for her sole #1 hit "Ode To Billie Joe" while Music/JeffersonAirplane has had a much longer lasting influence.
** Jose Feliciano, a Puerto Rican rock singer, won the award in 1969. Today, few people would say the award should have gone to anyone other than Music/{{Cream}}, while Feliciano is mostly known today for the Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad".
** Crosby, Stills & Nash won the award in 1970. They're still well regarded today, but not exactly as much as ''Music/LedZeppelin''.
** 1971 champions Music/TheCarpenters are still a legendary Adult Contemporary act; problem is, they also beat a guy named Music/EltonJohn.
** America, the band who won in 1973, have done quite well for themselves. Still, it isn't easy to hold your reputation as Best New Artist when you beat a little band called the Eagles.
** The Starland Vocal Band of 1977 were a very infamous winner, ended up a OneHitWonder -- Boston definitely won in the long run.
** Debby Boone of 1978 was another one-hit wonder who failed to have the same legacy as, say, Music/{{Foreigner}}.
** A Taste of Honey won in 1979. A two-hit wonder disco band beat out, amongst others, new wave legends the Cars and Elvis Costello and stadium rock icons Toto.
** Music/RickieLeeJones is a cult songwriter who won the award in 1980, but never really made it into the mainstream like the world-renowned Dire Straits -- and even then, they don't compare to the impact that a young comedian named Creator/RobinWilliams made outside the music world.
** Averted in 1991, when Music/MariahCarey won the award and would have far more success than any of her competition.
** Marc Cohn, who won in 1992, hasn't exactly aged as well as Boyz II Men or Seal.
** Music/LaurynHill who won in 1999, vanished about a year later while the Music/BackstreetBoys continued their meteoric rise to stardom.
** Shelby Lynne, the 2001 champion (despite recording since ''1989''), faded into nearly complete obscurity after the ceremony, while ''[[Music/BradPaisley all]] [[Music/PapaRoach four]]'' [[Music/JillScott of]] [[Music/{{Sisqo}} her]] opponents have done better than her in the long run. Well, maybe not Sisqo, because his sole #1 single was [[ChartDisplacement completely overshadowed]] by the "Thong Song".
** Everyone was shocked when Music/{{Adele}}, a little known British singer, came out on top over the heavily favored Jonas Brothers in 2009. Later she would go on to become one of the industry's biggest superstars of all time, and her win today is about as contested as The Beatles' victory in 1965.
** Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding beat out Music/JustinBieber and Music/{{Drake}} in 2011. Both Canadian singers would continue to soar while Spalding vanished back into complete obscurity.
** 2014 winner Music/{{Macklemore}}, at the time of his win, was easily the biggest of the five nominees at the time of his win. However, his popularity has waned considerably since then, and Music/EdSheeran and Music/KendrickLamar became more popular than him.
** Just about everyone listed on Website/{{Cracked}}'s [[http://www.cracked.com/article_15856_the-7-most-unforgivable-grammy-award-snubs-all-time.html 7 Most Unforgivable Grammy Snubs]] fit this trope, including the previously-mentioned A Taste Of Honey (although only in relation to Costello's snub).
* The annual Creator/TripleJ Hottest 100, which lists the biggest alternative/indie songs of the year as voted by the Australian public, has produced these results from time to time, usually showing favoritism for local acts:
** The top six of the 1997 poll were Music/{{Blink 182}}'s "Dammit", Music/{{Radiohead}}'s "Paranoid Android", Music/TheVerve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony", Music/{{Chumbawamba}}'s "Tubthumping", Music/{{Blur}}'s "Song 2", and the winner was… "No Aphrodisiac", a song by a not particularly well known Aussie group.
** Powderfinger nabbed the top spot in 1999 and 2000, beating out the likes of "[[Music/FatboySlim Praise You]]", [[Music/TheBloodhoundGang "The Bad Touch"]], "[[Music/RageAgainstTheMachine Guerrilla Radio]]", "[[Music/LimpBizkit Nookie]]", and [[Music/RedHotChiliPeppers "Scar Tissue"]] the former year and [[Music/{{U2}} "Beautiful Day"]], "Teenage Dirtbag", "[[Music/{{Coldplay}} Yellow]]", [[Music/RedHotChiliPeppers "Californication"]], and "[[Music/TheDandyWarhols Bohemian Like You]]" the latter.[[note]]As a postscript to this, their next highest-placing song on a Triple J Hottest 100 was at #4 in 2003 with "(Baby I've Got You) On My Mind", whereas the rest of the top 5 consisted of four of the most iconic songs of the 2000s: "Are You Gonna Be My Girl", "Hey Ya!", "Seven Nation Army," and "Clocks". They're tied with the Music/FooFighters with 22 Hottest 100 hits.[[/note]]
*** Powderfinger's lead singer, Bernard Fanning, topped the 2005 countdown with "Wish You Well". He notably beat out "Feel Good Inc." and "Best of You".
** The 2006 award wasn't won by Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" or Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", but by the much less known Augie March song "One Crowded Hour".
** The winner taking it all is actually very rare in the contest - of the 23 annual Hottest 100's that have been held, there have been only eleven cases thus far where the winning song didn't fade into obscurity: Music/TheCranberries' "Zombie" in 1994, Music/{{Oasis}}' "Wonderwall" in 1995, Music/TheOffspring's "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" in 1998, Music/QueensOfTheStoneAge's "No One Knows" in 2002, Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" in 2003, Music/FranzFerdinand's "Take Me Out" in 2004, Music/{{Muse}}'s "Music/KnightsOfCydonia" in 2006[[note]]which almost became an example of this trope as its win over the eventual runner-up, Silverchair's "Straight Lines", was by a mere 14 votes, the closest margin in Triple J history[[/note]], Music/KingsOfLeon's "Sex on Fire" in 2008, Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man" in 2009, Music/{{Gotye}}'s "Somebody That I Used to Know" in 2011 and Music/{{Macklemore}}'s "Thrift Shop" in 2012. "Riptide" would be listed here since it also crossed over to the US charts but as noted below, it was nowhere near as big as the second and third-placed songs and also tends to be overshadowed by the fourth placed song.
** The 2013 contest: In fourth place was the Music/ArcticMonkeys' career-defining garage rock anthem "Do I Wanna Know?"; in third place was Music/DaftPunk's Grammy-winning comeback smash "Get Lucky"; in second place was Music/{{Lorde}}'s "Royals", a song that launched one of the most unlikely success stories of the 2010s. And the winner? "Riptide" by Music/VanceJoy, a folk-rock song by a completely unknown singer-songwriter. While it became a bigger success later in the year it's still not enough to overtake ''any'' of the former three songs.
** Chet Faker's "Talk Is Cheap" came out victorious in 2014. It hasn't done as well as Milky Chance's third-place European smash hit "Stolen Dance" and Music/{{Sia}}'s unlikely ninth-placed hit "Chandelier". And all of ''those'' are barely a blip on the radar compared to the song that ended up in sixth-place: Mark Ronson and Music/BrunoMars' decade-defining megahit "Uptown Funk!"
** 2015 was won by another little-heard Aussie jam: "Hoops" by the Reubens, with high favorite "King Kunta" by Music/KendrickLamar at #2. However, neither was as big as the third-placed song: Major Lazer, DJ Snake and MØ's "Lean On". In addition, a few other global hits were found scattered around the list, such as Drake's "Hotline Bling" and Macklemore's "Downtown".
** Creator/DenisLeary won the very first annual Hottest 100 in 1993. While he's still well-respected as an actor today, his winning song "Asshole" has fallen into obscurity, while 2nd-placed "Creep" by Music/{{Radiohead}}, 3rd-placed "Linger" by Music/TheCranberries and 4th-placed "No Rain" by Music/BlindMelon have all fared much better.
* The biggest new opening of the February 19-21, 1999 box office was ''October Sky'', a film about the space race. Another, much more iconic film with the same initials was the week's second biggest new film -- ''Film/{{OfficeSpace}}''.
* The 1967 Grammy for Best Rock Song had not one but ''five'' all-time classic songs on their list: "Elanor Rigby" by Music/TheBeatles, "Last Train to Clarksville" by Music/TheMonkees, "Cherish" by Music/TheAssociation, "Monday Monday" by Music/TheMamasAndThePapas, and "Good Vibrations" by Music/TheBeachBoys. A sixth nominee, "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band didn't even sound like a rock song (it was more of a {{Retraux}}y 20's swing song) and it still came out on top, though its win seems to be for naught.
* On several occasions in the race for the [[AVeryBritishChristmas Christmas Number One]] position on the British charts, the Christmas Number Two song has a longer shelf life among listeners. Two notable cases are Music/JohnLennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" and Music/MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You", which are still heard today but lost the Christmas slot to St. Winnifred's School Choir's "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" and East 17's "Stay Another Day" respectively. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_Singles_Chart_Christmas_number_twos More here.]]
* The BRIT award for British Breakthrough act:
** In 1990 it was won by Lisa Stansfield, who had the most commercial success in the U.S., but ultimately has barely made any impact in music compared to Music/TheStoneRoses.
** 1991 was won by the long forgotten Betty Boo. Compare her success to the likes of Music/HappyMondays and Music/TheCharlatans.
** 1992 winner Beverly Craven. She's essentially a one hit wonder, and hardly anything compared to Music/{{Seal}}.
** 1993 may be the most infamous example in British history. It was won by Tasmin Archer, a singer who faded into almost complete obscurity after her hit "Sleeping Satellite". One of the acts she beat? ''Music/TakeThat''.
** 1994 winner Gabrielle was no Music/{{Jamiroquai}}.
** 1997's winner was Kula Shaker, who beat the Music/SpiceGirls. Enough said, really.
** 2001 was won by long forgotten boy band A1. One of the acts they beat would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the new millenium. Their name was Music/{{Coldplay}}.
** Music/ArcticMonkeys, who won in 2006, were initally overshadowed by James Blunt. However, they later turned it around and are far more respected than Blunt ever was, scoring two #1 singles in their native UK.
** The Fratellis (2007) haven't done too badly, but Music/LilyAllen is more known than they are.
** Music/{{Adele}} lost to Music/{{Duffy}} in 2009. She would later eclipse her in popularity.
** Although JLS, who won in 2010, were very popular at the time of their victory, they faded into complete obscurity only a few years later and Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine won in the long run.
** Tinie Tempah won in 2011 -- today he is all but forgotten even in the U.K. while Music/EllieGoulding and Music/MumfordAndSons were the big winners.
* MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist
** It's easier to list the total aversions, where the winning artist had the most success, and their song is a classic: 1988 (Music/GunsNRoses with "Welcome to the Jungle"), 1992 (Music/{{Nirvana}} with "Smells like Teen Spirit"), 1993 (Music/StoneTemplePilots with "Plush"), 1996 (Music/AlanisMorissette with "Ironic"), 1999 (Music/{{Eminem}} with "My Name Is"), 2001 (Music/AliciaKeys with "Fallin'"; Music/{{Coldplay}} is the only nominee that can compete with her), 2002 (Music/AvrilLavigne with "Complicated"), 2004 (Music/{{Maroon 5}} with "This Love"; although it's a close call with Music/KanyeWest), 2005 (Music/TheKillers with "Mr. Brightside"), 2009 (Music/LadyGaga with "Poker Face"; another close one with Music/{{Drake}}), 2010 (Music/JustinBieber with "Baby") and 2012 (Music/OneDirection with "What Makes You Beautiful").
** The first winner was Music/{{Eurythmics}} in 1984 with the iconic "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". One of the artists they beat was none other than the queen of pop herself, Music/{{Madonna}}, as well as ''two'' Music/CyndiLauper classics ("Time After Time" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun").
** 'Til Tuesday won in 1985 with "Voices Carry". Lead singer Aimee Mann became an Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter, but solo or not her commercial success is barely a blip compared to Music/{{Sade}}, whose "Smooth Operator" was also nominated that year.
** Music/{{Aha}} won in 1986 for "Take on Me". It's certainly one of the 80's most iconic tracks, but [[AmericansHateTingle a-ha never had much success Stateside]]. Music/WhitneyHouston was the clear winner in the long term.
** Music/LivingColour beat out Music/PaulaAbdul in 1989, although their winning song "Cult of Personality" is, like "Take on Me", probably the best remembered song.
** 1990 winner Michael Penn didn't have a very long career, choosing to marry the lead singer of '85 winners 'Til Tuesday, and largely faded into the shadows of The Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz (although neither with their more well-known songs). "Black Velvet" is the best remembered song of the bunch.
** Jesus Jones won in 1991. Music/{{Seal}} was the only one who is remembered as anything more than a one-hit wonder (although Deee-Lite was the only actual one-hit wonder there).
** Music/CountingCrows won in 1994. While still well-respected, they aren't nearly as iconic as Music/{{Beck}} or Music/GreenDay.
** Music/HootieAndTheBlowfish won in 1995, so they're an aversion. However, their legacy hasn't aged quite as well as that of, say, Music/JeffBuckley.
** Music/FionaApple in 1997 is a weird case. Her winning song "Sleep to Dream" is the least known of the five nominees, but she herself is probably the best known of them all.
** Macy Gray beat out Music/ChristinaAguilera, Music/PapaRoach, Music/{{Pink}}, and Sisqo. Of those, only Sisqo was more quickly forgotten than Gray.
** Music/FiftyCent's "In da Club" was 2003's victor. While it's easily one of the most iconic songs of the new millennium, his career hasn't aged nearly as well as Music/KellyClarkson. Interestingly, Clarkson's nominated song, "Miss Independent" is seen as one of her lesser-known hits. The biggest song that can compete fame-wise to "In da Club" is "[[Music/{{Evanescence}} Bring Me to Life]]"
** Music/AvengedSevenfold are easily one of the biggest metal bands of the new millennium, but one of the artists they beat out for the 2006 prize was Music/{{Rihanna}}.
** Music/GymClassHeroes, 2007's winners, have had their fair share of success, but they're barely a blip compared to female icons Music/CarrieUnderwood and Music/AmyWinehouse.
** Music/MileyCyrus, Music/KatyPerry, Music/TaylorSwift, and Jordin Sparks were beat in 2008 by Music/TokioHotel. However, Tokio faded into obscurity shortly afterwards and the former three became pop megastars.
** Music/TylerTheCreator, who won in 2011, is a popular underground rapper, but his success isn't nearly as great as Wiz Khalifa.
** Music/OneDirection, who won in 2012, are an aversion, as they are by far the most successful of the nominees. However, their winning song "What Makes You Beautiful" isn't ''quite'' as iconic as Music/CarlyRaeJepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
** Austin Mahone, who won in 2013, was a fairly popular teen idol, but his career was held back by the continued popularity of One Direction. Thus, his career quickly fizzled out, and he himself faded into obscurity. His opponents included Music/IggyAzalea, Music/TwentyOnePilots, Music/TheWeeknd, and Music/{{Zedd}, all of whom had considerably more success than him.
** Music/FifthHarmony beat out Music/FiveSecondsOfSummer in 2014. At first, this was seen as an upset as 5SOS was easily the bigger name at the time. Most people were expecting the latter to win easily. However, as time went on, 5SOS's popularity waned and 5H proved to be the more successful act. Overall, it's played perfectly straight, as Music/SamSmith remains the biggest name of the bunch.
1st Jun '16 6:34:26 AM JamesAustin
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* The 2004 WWE Diva Search. Christy Hemme won the contest and got put on TV almost immediately. She then got pushed into a WrestleMania program with Trish Stratus (as a replacement for the injured Lita) that she was nowhere near ready for, and was bad enough she went around apologizing for her poor performance afterwards. She then wound up having to be the focus of the entire WWE Divas division (injuries, firings and departures left WWE with few veteran female wrestlers in 2005) before being released by WWE in December of that year. Meanwhile, Michelle [=McCool=] (who placed seventh) bided her time in some bad gimmicks before winning the WWE Women's Championship three times and being the first WWE Divas Champion as well as being 1/2 of the most hated female duos ever, Team Lay-Cool (with 2006 DS winner Layla).

to:

* The 2004 WWE Diva Search. Christy Hemme Wrestling/ChristyHemme won the contest and got put on TV almost immediately. She then got pushed into a WrestleMania program with Trish Stratus (as a replacement for the injured Lita) that she was nowhere near ready for, and was bad enough she went around apologizing for her poor performance afterwards. She then wound up having to be the focus of the entire WWE Divas division (injuries, firings and departures left WWE with few veteran female wrestlers in 2005) before being released by WWE in December of that year. Meanwhile, Michelle [=McCool=] (who placed seventh) bided her time in some bad gimmicks before winning the WWE Women's Championship three times and being the first WWE Divas Champion as well as being 1/2 of the most hated female duos ever, Team Lay-Cool (with 2006 DS winner Layla).



** The judges on this same season told Music/LindseyStirling she'd never sell as a "Hip Hop Violinist", that she needed a band to work with, and that she just wasn't good enough to fly through the air playing the violin. She's now gone on two tours and has surpassed LindseyLohan in Youtube search popularity, she does not work with a band in most of her music videos, and in her "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDsfou6UfjU Mission Impossible]]" collaboration, she imitated the MissionImpossibleCableDrop whilst playing.
* Rachel Tucker finished fourth on the Andrew Lloyd Webber talent search show 'I'd Do Anything', however unlike the winner who has virtually disappeared, Rachel went from strength to strength playing Meat in ''Theatre/WeWillRockYou'', and played Elphaba in the West End production of ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' for over two years. She ended her run as the West End's longest-running Elphaba and a fan favorite.
** Samantha Barks finished third. She went on to play [[Theatre/LesMiserables Eponine]] at the Queen's Theatre, sing the role at the 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2, and played the same in the 2012 film version. Not too shabby.
** And fulfilling the trope to the letter, runner-up Jessie Buckley went to RADA, made quite the splash at the Creator/RoyalShakespeareCompany and broke into television with glowing reviews for her role as Princess Marya Bolkonskaya in the Creator/{{BBC}}'s 2016 adaptation of literary classic ''Literature/WarAndPeace''.
* This trope is older than Reality TV. In 1986, Creator/HalleBerry was Miss Ohio in the Miss USA pageant, but came in second place for the main title. Obviously, she has since gone on to become an Oscar-winning actress.
* On a similar note, the winner of the inaugural Elite Model Management ''Look of the Year'' contest in 1983 was a 15-year-old called Lisa Hollenbeck. Among the losers that year were Creator/CindyCrawford and Stephanie Seymour, who've probably gotten over their disappointment by now.
* Creator/{{CMT}}'s ''Can You Duet'' (a two-season show that formed new musical duos) zig-zagged this trope:
** Season 1 winners Caitlin & Will broke up after only one single, while third-placers Joey + Rory (Rory Lee Feek and [[CreatorCouple his wife]], Joey Martin Feek) recorded eight albums and amassed a sizeable fanbase with [[NoHitWonder almost no help from country radio]], helped in no small part by Rory's name recognition as a songwriter and producer. They continued to record until [[AuthorExistenceFailure Joey died of cervical cancer]] in March 2016. Even fourth-placers Kate & Kacey were more successful, releasing three albums and co-writing a Music/GeorgeStrait album track.
** Season 2 winners Steel Magnolia were {{One Hit Wonder}}s with "Keep On Lovin' You" and had a semi-successful debut album, but they broke up in 2012. Fifth-place O'Shea already had a following and some awards in their native Australia. The Stellas went on to have a few hits in their native Canada, and their daughters Lennon and Maisy, in addition to being regulars on the show ''Series/{{Nashville}}'', have gotten something of a [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff cult following in Switzerland]] after a song of theirs was [[RepurposedPopSong used in a commercial]].
* ''Series/NashvilleStar'' (2003-08) zig-zagged this trope, with some seasons producing famous people only among the runners-up, and some seasons [[AvertedTrope producing nobody of note at all, winning or losing]]:
** Season 1 winner Buddy Jewell was a TwoHitWonder with the smashes "Help Pour Out the Rain" and "Sweet Southern Comfort", but his second album bombed and he was never heard from again. Music/MirandaLambert had an ''extremely'' slow start, with no major hits off either of her first two albums between 2005-08, but finally had her BreakthroughHit in 2009 with "White Liar" and has since become one of the most popular female acts in Nashville in TheNewTens.
** Season 2 was a wash, at least stateside: winner Brad Cotter had no success whatsoever with his debut album (even though the lead single "I Meant To" briefly held the record for the highest debuting single by a new act on the country charts {later bested by Lambert, above}, it stalled at #35). Runner-up George Canyon went nowhere in the US, but remains fairly popular in his native Canada.
** Season 3: Also a wash, as winner Erika Jo's album went nowhere, and runner-up Jason Meadows's success with his lone single "18 Video Tapes" was limited to small-market stations at best. Fourth-placer Lance Miller has written a few hit singles for other people, though.
** Season 4: Also looked to be a wash at first, as winner Chris Young's debut album was a flop; however, he scored a BreakthroughHit with "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)" from his second album and has been a consistent hit-maker since. Fourth-placer Matt Mason later won the only season of Creator/{{CMT}}'s short-lived ''CMT's Next Superstar'', but his win seems to have been for naught.
** Season 5: Perhaps the biggest example yet, as winner Angela Hacker never released anything other than an album of demos that she cut while she was still on the show, and a couple guest appearances on Cowboy Troy albums. She's such a nobody that she doesn't even have a Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} article. Meanwhile, fifth-placer Whitney Duncan managed to get a full album out (although she had an EarlyBirdCameo on a Music/KennyRogers song back in 2004), and ''seventh''-placer Music/KaceyMusgraves has become a popular artist in TheNewTens despite minimal airplay.
** Season 6: Also a wash. Winner Melissa Lawson only put out one single that never made it to an album; fourth-placer Coffey Anderson did a few independent Christian albums; and seventh-placer Justin Gaston switched to acting.
* For a while, ''Series/CanadianIdol'' Season 5 winner Brian Melo had the best career of the singers that season, if only because his winner's single hit #11 on the Canadian Hot 100. A few of the winners such as Ryan Malcolm and Kalan Porter had number one hits on the old Canadian charts, but that chart used the outdated method of counting only single sales (for example, Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" remake stayed in the top 20 for over three years!). Four years later, third-placer and then two-hit wonder Music/CarlyRaeJepsen releases the single "Call Me Maybe," which not only became the show's first top 10 hit, but also reached number-one. But that was only just the beginning. Shortly after the song reached the top, Music/JustinBieber tweeted that he was a fan of the song and made a video of it with his friends. With million of people hearing about Carly for the first time ever, her song proceeded to top over ten other national charts including the Hot 100 in the United States, and become a full-fledged [[MemeticMutation meme]], especially after a Barack Obama-inspired parody was released. Jepsen remains the only ''Canadian Idol'' contestant to be famous outside of Canada.
** Three years earlier, Jacob Hoggard places third behind Kalan Porter and Theresa Sokyrka. Jacob's band, Hedley, has since gone on to chart more singles and albums than any other acts associated with ''Series/CanadianIdol.'' (In Canada, that is. As mentioned above, most non-Canadians have only heard of Jepsen.) They even cracked the US Modern Rock charts once.
** According to ThatOtherWiki, both Melo and runner-up Jaydee Bixby have sold more albums tham Jepsen, but it is a totally different story for singles success.
* None of the male winners of Golf Channel's ''The Big Break'' have made it to the PGA Tour since their appearance, but quite a few lower finishers have. Several older contestants had already played on the PGA Tour before Big Break; Jeff Mitchell (from BBVI) was for a while the only ''Big Break'' player to win a PGA Tour event...the 1980 Phoenix Open. (He was also a co-leader after the 1st round of The Masters that year.) Since then, Tommy Gainey, eliminated fifth in Big Break IV, and Matt Every, eliminated ''second'' in Big Break VIII, have won on the PGA Tour.
* Several singers were rejected by ''Series/AmericanIdol'' such as Music/ColbieCaillat, Music/LadyAntebellum singer Hilary Scott, and R and B singer Bobby Valentino.
* It's hard to remember that ChristinaGrimmie didn't win Season 6 of TheVoice considering that she's still popular on YouTube while the two singers that placed above her disappeared as fast as Adam's beard did. Of course the show has yet to see a truly successful winner; Cassadee Pope from Season 3 may be the leading success story, but Melanie Martinez from that same season has also achieved considerable success after her stint on the show.
* The UK series played the trope disastrously straight in its first season. Leanne Mitchell's 'winners' song didn't make the top 40, and her album, released a year later with almost no promotion, failed to even make the top 100. Runners up Bo Bruce and Tyler James never made it onto the wider stage, but at least their albums didnt fare this badly.
** The second series both averted and played straight the trope. Mentor Will.I.am put everything on his protégée Leah Mcfall winning, but it was instead won by Andrea Begley. Begley was the first UK voice alum whose album charted in the top 10, but Mcfall has been better known, and Will has kept faith in her.
* ''Series/StarSearch'' had one in 1985 Jr. Female Vocalist runner-up Tiffany Renee, who dropped the "Renee" and became the first SS alum to land a #1 hit. Meanwhile, the girl who defeated her, Melissa Moultrie, had an appearance on the '80s version of ''Series/TheTwilightZone''...and that's pretty much it.
* On ''Series/LastComicStanding'', the only winner to have a relatively successful career after the show was Josh Blue. Runners up Doug Benson, Ralphie May, Rich Vos, Kathleen Madigan, Creator/GabrielIglesias, and Amy Schumer are far more popular than the winners of their respective series (May and Vos were 2 and 3 behind season 1 winner Dat Phan. Madigan came in fifth in Season 2, where John Heffron won. Schumer came in fourth and Benson in sixth [although the latter was fairly well-known beforehand] in Season 5 to Jon Reep. Iglesias was also already well known when he competed in Season 4, where he was disqualified for [[DisproportionateRetribution using a cell phone to contact his family]]).
** Kathleen Madigan was also an established comedian, having appeared in nationally televised stand-up programs since at least the early 1990s.
* On ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'', simply ''appearing'' on the show is enough to grant superstar status in the gay club circuit, since almost every queen gains a following during the course of the season, in addition to whatever fanbase they had prior to entering, and all former contestants go on the Drag Race tour. Actually winning the season is a formality more than anything.
* In September 2012, Music/MatchboxTwenty finally scored their first #1 album on the Billboard 200 with ''North.'' Debuting one rung below it was Music/ImagineDragons' ''Night Visions.'' The former would go on to become the second lowest-selling #1 album of 2012, while the latter on the other hand would become one of the best selling albums of 2013, and one of a very small number of albums to sell 1 million copies in a declining sales climate. Additionally, ''North'''s debut week was the only one in its lifetime in which it sold more copies a week than ''Night Visions.''
* [[Series/BigBrother Big Brother Canada]] season 1 ended with Jillian winning and Gary Levi placing second. Gary has since gone on to be a huge social media personality, a spokesperson for being yourself across Canada, and co-hosts the second season after-show with Peter Brown (sixth place). Jillian, meanwhile, is rarely heard of and often thought of as the woman who stole Gary's first place prize (one of the jurors accidentally voted for the wrong person, and that one vote decided the game.)
* In the South Korean professional ''VideoGame/StarCraft'' scene, Hong Jin-Ho a.k.a. [=YellOw=] is known as the "King of Silver" for repeatedly placing 2nd in tournaments but never managing to win first place in a major tournament. But after retiring from professional [=StarCraft=], he leveraged that reputation and popularity to become a TV star, re-purposing his quick wits as a frequent guest on SNL Korea as well as various game, panel, and variety shows.
* Anyone remember Little Boots? She was the singer who won BBC's ''Sound of 2009'' poll. She hasn't gone onto much success, but third-placed Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine and sixth-placed Music/LadyGaga become much more successful.
** Same deal with Michael Kiwanuka, who faded into obscurity after winning the "Sound of 2012" whereas Frank Ocean and Music/{{Skrillex}} soared to superstardom in the months that followed.
** Music/{{Haim}}, who won in 2013, hasn't done too badly, but Music/TheWeeknd would ultimately eclipse them by 2015.
** Music/SamSmith, the 2014 winner, has averted this so far. He is still far and away the most successful act to have been featured that year. This would happen again with 2015 winners Years And Years.
** The ''Sound of 2016'' poll was won by Jack Garratt, who's obscure compared to second placer Alessia Cara.
* The ''Billboard'' Year-End charts rank the most popular songs of each year for the pop, R&B, and country charts. On a few occasions, the top song of the year has been one that did not reach #1 on the actual chart: Music/FaithHill's "Breathe" and Music/{{Lifehouse}}'s "Hanging by a Moment", both of which only got to #2 on the Hot 100 but were that chart's top songs of 2000 and 2001, respectively.
* This is also true of the Year-End charts for the CountryMusic format, which have presented a few oddities:
** "Friends in Low Places" by Music/GarthBrooks only ranked at ''#28'' for the year, with the top hit of 1990 being the largely-forgotten "Nobody's Home" by Music/ClintBlack.
** Surely the biggest country hit of 1992 was Billy Ray Cyrus's inescapable "Achy Breaky Heart", right? Nope, according to ''Billboard'' it was "I Saw the Light" by Wynonna Judd; Billy Ray ranked #2 for the year.
** 2003 presents a real oddity. The year had multiple long-lasting #1 hits, including "19 Somethin'" by Music/MarkWills, "Have You Forgotten?" by Darryl Worley, "Beer for My Horses" by Music/TobyKeith and Music/WillieNelson, and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" by Music/AlanJackson and Music/JimmyBuffett. So what was the biggest hit? "My Front Porch Looking In" by Music/{{Lonestar}}, which barely squeaked in a single week at #1 after "Beer" did. Respectively, "19 Somethin'", "Have You Forgotten?", "Beer for My Horses", and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" ranked at #3, #12, #2, and #4.
** 2010's biggest hit was "Love Like Crazy" by Lee Brice, which only got to #3, and became the first song ever to take the ''Billboard'' Year-End honor for country despite not peaking at #1 on the main charts. This is due mainly to "Love Like Crazy" setting a new record for the longest run in the chart's history, as it spent a whopping ''56'' weeks on the charts.
** 2012's biggest hit was "Time Is Love" by Josh Turner, which only got to #2, but also benefited from an abnormally long chart run.
** Brice did it again in 2015 when "Drinking Class" was the top hit of the year despite also only peaking at #2, but [[RuleOfThree also benefited from an abnormally long chart run]].
* At the 1965 UsefulNotes/{{Academy Award}}s, the winner for Best Live-Action Short Subject was Claude Berri's ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ_ugJ_E11A Le Poulet]]'', a 15-minute DeliberatelyMonochrome short about a family who buys a chicken. While it's a cute movie and there is a decent punchline in there, it's not exactly memorable, and ''Le Poulet'' faded into obscurity. One of the losers? Oh, only a cute little Creator/JimHenson movie called '''''Film/TimePiece'''''...
** This wasn't the last time this would happen to Jim - in 1979, "The Rainbow Connection" from ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'' lost its Oscar to "It Goes Like It Goes" from ''Film/NormaRae''. The winning song, while decent, is barely remembered these days, while "Rainbow Connection" has become a modern standard, covered by everyone from the Music/{{Carpenters}} to Johnny Mathis to Music/SarahMcLachlan.
* Canadian reality competition ''The Next Star'' has produced these results at least twice. For example, the first season was won by a boy named Dunnery Bond who quickly faded to obscurity after the show. A few years later, sixth-place contestant Alyssa Reid would burst onto the scene with a hit remake of Music/{{Heart}}'s "Alone," which became an unlikely #2 hit in the U.K. A few years later, Diego Gomes would find himself outperformed by fellow teenage singer Victoria Duffield, who had a hit with "Shut Up and Dance". While neither Alyssa nor Victoria can really be called "superstars," they've certainly done better than the winners.
* The 1990 Juno Awards (Canada's Grammy equivalent) had Daniel Lanois win the award for Most Promising Male Vocalist. While he's been modestly successful, he didn't get much fame outside of Canada, and he's better known now as a producer than he is as an artist. One of the losers just so happened to be a young Music/RufusWainwright. Enough said, really.
** The 1980 and 1981 awards were won by Walter Rossi and Graham Shaw. Even in Canada these names are very obscure today. But it just so happens that one of the losers both years was some guy called Music/BryanAdams.
** In 1979 the award was won by Nick Gilder. Today, Gilder is recalled as a {{one hit wonder}} for "Hot Child In The City" but one of the victors was future funk legend Music/RickJames.
** In 1987 the Most Promising Female award went to the late Rita [=MacNeil=] -- and beat out an up-and-coming Quebecois vocalist named Music/CelineDion.
** Music/{{Kiesza}} won in 2015. While she hasn't done too badly, one of the artists she beat out was Music/ShawnMendes, who has all but eclipsed her in popularity especially outside of Canada.
* A fictional example in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'''s Witch Trials. Since witches are almost all terrible losers, the winner can look forward to being vaguely resented for the rest of the year (which is fine because it's always Granny Weatherwax and she doesn't care). Nanny Ogg, as runner-up, gets told it was a good try, and she did really well, and would she like a drink? In "The Sea and Little Fishes", she's very afraid that without Granny entering, and no-one else having their head in the game, she might actually ''win''.
-->"She only just lost" was a much better compliment than "she only just won".
* At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Women's judo 70g tournament was won by Masae Ueno. While most people won't recognize that name, they'll certainly know the athlete who finished in third: Ronda Rousey.
* During October of 2013, Music/JustinTimberlake's ''The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2'' debuted at #1 on the ''Billboard 200'' with 350,000 copies sold. At #2 was Music/{{Drake}}'s ''Nothing Was the Same'', which hit #1 the week prior with sales of 658,000 and second week sales of 148,000. Below both of them was Music/{{Lorde}}'s debut album ''Music/PureHeroine'', which stalled at #3 with a debut of only 129,000. Eventually, ''Pure Heroine'' became a SleeperHit that outsold both albums in the United States and worldwide, reaching double platinum status in U.S. alone and global sales of nearly three million. Considering that this was a debut album by a teenage girl from New Zealand and they were established superstars, that's impressive.
* Music/LanaDelRey taking #1 on the Billboard 200 in June 2014 with ''Ultraviolence'' was an impressive accomplishment in its own right, especially given that it ended the long-lasting #1 streak of ''Music/LinkinPark''. But the true Cinderella story of that week was the #2 album, Music/SamSmith's ''In The Lonely Hour.'' In the long run, Del Rey barely made it to gold (and Linkin Park didn't even make it, period), while Smith captured lightning in a bottle on the way to a massive ''2 million'' copies in the U.S. alone. Not bad, considering it was Smith's ''debut album.''
* Many times, the Grammy for Best New Artist is won by an artist who hasn't done too well in comparison to the runners-up.
** Famed Broadway star Robert Goulet won the 1963 award. While Goulet had a respectable career, Peter, Paul, and Mary and the Four Seasons have held up better.
** Averted in 1965, which was won by Music/TheBeatles. who by the time of their win already achieved more than their competition ever would ''combined''. Had someone else won and they would today be considered the ''Film/HowGreenWasMyValley'' of the Grammys.
** Bobbie Gentry won the 1968 award; today, she is only remembered for her sole #1 hit "Ode To Billie Joe" while Music/JeffersonAirplane has had a much longer lasting influence.
** Jose Feliciano, a Puerto Rican rock singer, won the award in 1969. Today, few people would say the award should have gone to anyone other than Music/{{Cream}}, while Feliciano is mostly known today for the Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad".
** Crosby, Stills & Nash won the award in 1970. They're still well regarded today, but not exactly as much as ''Music/LedZeppelin''.
** 1971 champions Music/TheCarpenters are still a legendary Adult Contemporary act; problem is, they also beat a guy named Music/EltonJohn.
** America, the band who won in 1973, have done quite well for themselves. Still, it isn't easy to hold your reputation as Best New Artist when you beat a little band called the Eagles.
** The Starland Vocal Band of 1977 were a very infamous winner, ended up a OneHitWonder -- Boston definitely won in the long run.
** Debby Boone of 1978 was another one-hit wonder who failed to have the same legacy as, say, Music/{{Foreigner}}.
** A Taste of Honey won in 1979. A two-hit wonder disco band beat out, amongst others, new wave legends the Cars and Elvis Costello and stadium rock icons Toto.
** Music/RickieLeeJones is a cult songwriter who won the award in 1980, but never really made it into the mainstream like the world-renowned Dire Straits -- and even then, they don't compare to the impact that a young comedian named Creator/RobinWilliams made outside the music world.
** Averted in 1991, when Music/MariahCarey won the award and would have far more success than any of her competition.
** Marc Cohn, who won in 1992, hasn't exactly aged as well as Boyz II Men or Seal.
** Music/LaurynHill who won in 1999, vanished about a year later while the Music/BackstreetBoys continued their meteoric rise to stardom.
** Shelby Lynne, the 2001 champion (despite recording since ''1989''), faded into nearly complete obscurity after the ceremony, while ''[[Music/BradPaisley all]] [[Music/PapaRoach four]]'' [[Music/JillScott of]] [[Music/{{Sisqo}} her]] opponents have done better than her in the long run. Well, maybe not Sisqo, because his sole #1 single was [[ChartDisplacement completely overshadowed]] by the "Thong Song".
** Everyone was shocked when Music/{{Adele}}, a little known British singer, came out on top over the heavily favored Jonas Brothers in 2009. Later she would go on to become one of the industry's biggest superstars of all time, and her win today is about as contested as The Beatles' victory in 1965.
** Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding beat out Music/JustinBieber and Music/{{Drake}} in 2011. Both Canadian singers would continue to soar while Spalding vanished back into complete obscurity.
** 2014 winner Music/{{Macklemore}}, at the time of his win, was easily the biggest of the five nominees at the time of his win. However, his popularity has waned considerably since then, and Music/EdSheeran and Music/KendrickLamar became more popular than him.
** Just about everyone listed on Website/{{Cracked}}'s [[http://www.cracked.com/article_15856_the-7-most-unforgivable-grammy-award-snubs-all-time.html 7 Most Unforgivable Grammy Snubs]] fit this trope, including the previously-mentioned A Taste Of Honey (although only in relation to Costello's snub).
* The annual Creator/TripleJ Hottest 100, which lists the biggest alternative/indie songs of the year as voted by the Australian public, has produced these results from time to time, usually showing favoritism for local acts:
** The top six of the 1997 poll were Music/{{Blink 182}}'s "Dammit", Music/{{Radiohead}}'s "Paranoid Android", Music/TheVerve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony", Music/{{Chumbawamba}}'s "Tubthumping", Music/{{Blur}}'s "Song 2", and the winner was… "No Aphrodisiac", a song by a not particularly well known Aussie group.
** Powderfinger nabbed the top spot in 1999 and 2000, beating out the likes of "[[Music/FatboySlim Praise You]]", [[Music/TheBloodhoundGang "The Bad Touch"]], "[[Music/RageAgainstTheMachine Guerrilla Radio]]", "[[Music/LimpBizkit Nookie]]", and [[Music/RedHotChiliPeppers "Scar Tissue"]] the former year and [[Music/{{U2}} "Beautiful Day"]], "Teenage Dirtbag", "[[Music/{{Coldplay}} Yellow]]", [[Music/RedHotChiliPeppers "Californication"]], and "[[Music/TheDandyWarhols Bohemian Like You]]" the latter.[[note]]As a postscript to this, their next highest-placing song on a Triple J Hottest 100 was at #4 in 2003 with "(Baby I've Got You) On My Mind", whereas the rest of the top 5 consisted of four of the most iconic songs of the 2000s: "Are You Gonna Be My Girl", "Hey Ya!", "Seven Nation Army," and "Clocks". They're tied with the Music/FooFighters with 22 Hottest 100 hits.[[/note]]
*** Powderfinger's lead singer, Bernard Fanning, topped the 2005 countdown with "Wish You Well". He notably beat out "Feel Good Inc." and "Best of You".
** The 2006 award wasn't won by Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" or Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", but by the much less known Augie March song "One Crowded Hour".
** The winner taking it all is actually very rare in the contest - of the 23 annual Hottest 100's that have been held, there have been only eleven cases thus far where the winning song didn't fade into obscurity: Music/TheCranberries' "Zombie" in 1994, Music/{{Oasis}}' "Wonderwall" in 1995, Music/TheOffspring's "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" in 1998, Music/QueensOfTheStoneAge's "No One Knows" in 2002, Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" in 2003, Music/FranzFerdinand's "Take Me Out" in 2004, Music/{{Muse}}'s "Music/KnightsOfCydonia" in 2006[[note]]which almost became an example of this trope as its win over the eventual runner-up, Silverchair's "Straight Lines", was by a mere 14 votes, the closest margin in Triple J history[[/note]], Music/KingsOfLeon's "Sex on Fire" in 2008, Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man" in 2009, Music/{{Gotye}}'s "Somebody That I Used to Know" in 2011 and Music/{{Macklemore}}'s "Thrift Shop" in 2012. "Riptide" would be listed here since it also crossed over to the US charts but as noted below, it was nowhere near as big as the second and third-placed songs and also tends to be overshadowed by the fourth placed song.
** The 2013 contest: In fourth place was the Music/ArcticMonkeys' career-defining garage rock anthem "Do I Wanna Know?"; in third place was Music/DaftPunk's Grammy-winning comeback smash "Get Lucky"; in second place was Music/{{Lorde}}'s "Royals", a song that launched one of the most unlikely success stories of the 2010s. And the winner? "Riptide" by Music/VanceJoy, a folk-rock song by a completely unknown singer-songwriter. While it became a bigger success later in the year it's still not enough to overtake ''any'' of the former three songs.
** Chet Faker's "Talk Is Cheap" came out victorious in 2014. It hasn't done as well as Milky Chance's third-place European smash hit "Stolen Dance" and Music/{{Sia}}'s unlikely ninth-placed hit "Chandelier". And all of ''those'' are barely a blip on the radar compared to the song that ended up in sixth-place: Mark Ronson and Music/BrunoMars' decade-defining megahit "Uptown Funk!"
** 2015 was won by another little-heard Aussie jam: "Hoops" by the Reubens, with high favorite "King Kunta" by Music/KendrickLamar at #2. However, neither was as big as the third-placed song: Major Lazer, DJ Snake and MØ's "Lean On". In addition, a few other global hits were found scattered around the list, such as Drake's "Hotline Bling" and Macklemore's "Downtown".
** Creator/DenisLeary won the very first annual Hottest 100 in 1993. While he's still well-respected as an actor today, his winning song "Asshole" has fallen into obscurity, while 2nd-placed "Creep" by Music/{{Radiohead}}, 3rd-placed "Linger" by Music/TheCranberries and 4th-placed "No Rain" by Music/BlindMelon have all fared much better.
* The biggest new opening of the February 19-21, 1999 box office was ''October Sky'', a film about the space race. Another, much more iconic film with the same initials was the week's second biggest new film -- ''Film/{{OfficeSpace}}''.
* The 1967 Grammy for Best Rock Song had not one but ''five'' all-time classic songs on their list: "Elanor Rigby" by Music/TheBeatles, "Last Train to Clarksville" by Music/TheMonkees, "Cherish" by Music/TheAssociation, "Monday Monday" by Music/TheMamasAndThePapas, and "Good Vibrations" by Music/TheBeachBoys. A sixth nominee, "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band didn't even sound like a rock song (it was more of a {{Retraux}}y 20's swing song) and it still came out on top, though its win seems to be for naught.
* On several occasions in the race for the [[AVeryBritishChristmas Christmas Number One]] position on the British charts, the Christmas Number Two song has a longer shelf life among listeners. Two notable cases are Music/JohnLennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" and Music/MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You", which are still heard today but lost the Christmas slot to St. Winnifred's School Choir's "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" and East 17's "Stay Another Day" respectively. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_Singles_Chart_Christmas_number_twos More here.]]
* The BRIT award for British Breakthrough act:
** In 1990 it was won by Lisa Stansfield, who had the most commercial success in the U.S., but ultimately has barely made any impact in music compared to Music/TheStoneRoses.
** 1991 was won by the long forgotten Betty Boo. Compare her success to the likes of Music/HappyMondays and Music/TheCharlatans.
** 1992 winner Beverly Craven. She's essentially a one hit wonder, and hardly anything compared to Music/{{Seal}}.
** 1993 may be the most infamous example in British history. It was won by Tasmin Archer, a singer who faded into almost complete obscurity after her hit "Sleeping Satellite". One of the acts she beat? ''Music/TakeThat''.
** 1994 winner Gabrielle was no Music/{{Jamiroquai}}.
** 1997's winner was Kula Shaker, who beat the Music/SpiceGirls. Enough said, really.
** 2001 was won by long forgotten boy band A1. One of the acts they beat would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the new millenium. Their name was Music/{{Coldplay}}.
** Music/ArcticMonkeys, who won in 2006, were initally overshadowed by James Blunt. However, they later turned it around and are far more respected than Blunt ever was, scoring two #1 singles in their native UK.
** The Fratellis (2007) haven't done too badly, but Music/LilyAllen is more known than they are.
** Music/{{Adele}} lost to Music/{{Duffy}} in 2009. She would later eclipse her in popularity.
** Although JLS, who won in 2010, were very popular at the time of their victory, they faded into complete obscurity only a few years later and Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine won in the long run.
** Tinie Tempah won in 2011 -- today he is all but forgotten even in the U.K. while Music/EllieGoulding and Music/MumfordAndSons were the big winners.
* MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist
** It's easier to list the total aversions, where the winning artist had the most success, and their song is a classic: 1988 (Music/GunsNRoses with "Welcome to the Jungle"), 1992 (Music/{{Nirvana}} with "Smells like Teen Spirit"), 1993 (Music/StoneTemplePilots with "Plush"), 1996 (Music/AlanisMorissette with "Ironic"), 1999 (Music/{{Eminem}} with "My Name Is"), 2001 (Music/AliciaKeys with "Fallin'"; Music/{{Coldplay}} is the only nominee that can compete with her), 2002 (Music/AvrilLavigne with "Complicated"), 2004 (Music/{{Maroon 5}} with "This Love"; although it's a close call with Music/KanyeWest), 2005 (Music/TheKillers with "Mr. Brightside"), 2009 (Music/LadyGaga with "Poker Face"; another close one with Music/{{Drake}}), 2010 (Music/JustinBieber with "Baby") and 2012 (Music/OneDirection with "What Makes You Beautiful").
** The first winner was Music/{{Eurythmics}} in 1984 with the iconic "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". One of the artists they beat was none other than the queen of pop herself, Music/{{Madonna}}, as well as ''two'' Music/CyndiLauper classics ("Time After Time" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun").
** 'Til Tuesday won in 1985 with "Voices Carry". Lead singer Aimee Mann became an Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter, but solo or not her commercial success is barely a blip compared to Music/{{Sade}}, whose "Smooth Operator" was also nominated that year.
** Music/{{Aha}} won in 1986 for "Take on Me". It's certainly one of the 80's most iconic tracks, but [[AmericansHateTingle a-ha never had much success Stateside]]. Music/WhitneyHouston was the clear winner in the long term.
** Music/LivingColour beat out Music/PaulaAbdul in 1989, although their winning song "Cult of Personality" is, like "Take on Me", probably the best remembered song.
** 1990 winner Michael Penn didn't have a very long career, choosing to marry the lead singer of '85 winners 'Til Tuesday, and largely faded into the shadows of The Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz (although neither with their more well-known songs). "Black Velvet" is the best remembered song of the bunch.
** Jesus Jones won in 1991. Music/{{Seal}} was the only one who is remembered as anything more than a one-hit wonder (although Deee-Lite was the only actual one-hit wonder there).
** Music/CountingCrows won in 1994. While still well-respected, they aren't nearly as iconic as Music/{{Beck}} or Music/GreenDay.
** Music/HootieAndTheBlowfish won in 1995, so they're an aversion. However, their legacy hasn't aged quite as well as that of, say, Music/JeffBuckley.
** Music/FionaApple in 1997 is a weird case. Her winning song "Sleep to Dream" is the least known of the five nominees, but she herself is probably the best known of them all.
** Macy Gray beat out Music/ChristinaAguilera, Music/PapaRoach, Music/{{Pink}}, and Sisqo. Of those, only Sisqo was more quickly forgotten than Gray.
** Music/FiftyCent's "In da Club" was 2003's victor. While it's easily one of the most iconic songs of the new millennium, his career hasn't aged nearly as well as Music/KellyClarkson. Interestingly, Clarkson's nominated song, "Miss Independent" is seen as one of her lesser-known hits. The biggest song that can compete fame-wise to "In da Club" is "[[Music/{{Evanescence}} Bring Me to Life]]"
** Music/AvengedSevenfold are easily one of the biggest metal bands of the new millennium, but one of the artists they beat out for the 2006 prize was Music/{{Rihanna}}.
** Music/GymClassHeroes, 2007's winners, have had their fair share of success, but they're barely a blip compared to female icons Music/CarrieUnderwood and Music/AmyWinehouse.
** Music/MileyCyrus, Music/KatyPerry, Music/TaylorSwift, and Jordin Sparks were beat in 2008 by Music/TokioHotel. However, Tokio faded into obscurity shortly afterwards and the former three became pop megastars.
** Music/TylerTheCreator, who won in 2011, is a popular underground rapper, but his success isn't nearly as great as Wiz Khalifa.
** Music/OneDirection, who won in 2012, are an aversion, as they are by far the most successful of the nominees. However, their winning song "What Makes You Beautiful" isn't ''quite'' as iconic as Music/CarlyRaeJepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
** Austin Mahone, who won in 2013, was a fairly popular teen idol, but his career was held back by the continued popularity of One Direction. Thus, his career quickly fizzled out, and he himself faded into obscurity. His opponents included Music/IggyAzalea, Music/TwentyOnePilots, Music/TheWeeknd, and Music/{{Zedd}, all of whom had considerably more success than him.
** Music/FifthHarmony beat out Music/FiveSecondsOfSummer in 2014. At first, this was seen as an upset as 5SOS was easily the bigger name at the time. Most people were expecting the latter to win easily. However, as time went on, 5SOS's popularity waned and 5H proved to be the more successful act. Overall, it's played perfectly straight, as Music/SamSmith remains the biggest name of the bunch.
* A downplayed example from ''Series/MasterchefAustralia''. Season 7 winner Billie isn't doing bad, having earned herself a respectable career in the cooking industry as a new member of Heston Blumenthal's "The Fat Duck". But the one who got the most out of the show is probably 4th place Reynold. Hailed as the "Dessert King" of the show, he proved to be one of the most popular contestants the series has to offer; and after getting eliminated, he managed to open a successful dessert bar in Sydney. He was brought back in Season 8 to coordinate one of the Pressure Tests, an honour typically reserved for only the best cooks in the country.

to:

** The judges on this same season told Music/LindseyStirling she'd never sell as a "Hip Hop Violinist", that she needed a band to work with, and that she just wasn't good enough to fly through the air playing the violin. She's now gone on two tours and has surpassed LindseyLohan in Youtube search popularity, she does not work with a band in most of her music videos, and in her "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDsfou6UfjU Mission Impossible]]" collaboration, she imitated the MissionImpossibleCableDrop whilst playing.
* Rachel Tucker finished fourth on the Andrew Lloyd Webber talent search show 'I'd Do Anything', however unlike the winner who has virtually disappeared, Rachel went from strength to strength playing Meat in ''Theatre/WeWillRockYou'', and played Elphaba in the West End production of ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' for over two years. She ended her run as the West End's longest-running Elphaba and a fan favorite.
** Samantha Barks finished third. She went on to play [[Theatre/LesMiserables Eponine]] at the Queen's Theatre, sing the role at the 25th Anniversary Concert at the O2, and played the same in the 2012 film version. Not too shabby.
** And fulfilling the trope to the letter, runner-up Jessie Buckley went to RADA, made quite the splash at the Creator/RoyalShakespeareCompany and broke into television with glowing reviews for her role as Princess Marya Bolkonskaya in the Creator/{{BBC}}'s 2016 adaptation of literary classic ''Literature/WarAndPeace''.
* This trope is older than Reality TV. In 1986, Creator/HalleBerry was Miss Ohio in the Miss USA pageant, but came in second place for the main title. Obviously, she has since gone on to become an Oscar-winning actress.
* On a similar note, the winner of the inaugural Elite Model Management ''Look of the Year'' contest in 1983 was a 15-year-old called Lisa Hollenbeck. Among the losers that year were Creator/CindyCrawford and Stephanie Seymour, who've probably gotten over their disappointment by now.
* Creator/{{CMT}}'s ''Can You Duet'' (a two-season show that formed new musical duos) zig-zagged this trope:
** Season 1 winners Caitlin & Will broke up after only one single, while third-placers Joey + Rory (Rory Lee Feek and [[CreatorCouple his wife]], Joey Martin Feek) recorded eight albums and amassed a sizeable fanbase with [[NoHitWonder almost no help from country radio]], helped in no small part by Rory's name recognition as a songwriter and producer. They continued to record until [[AuthorExistenceFailure Joey died of cervical cancer]] in March 2016. Even fourth-placers Kate & Kacey were more successful, releasing three albums and co-writing a Music/GeorgeStrait album track.
** Season 2 winners Steel Magnolia were {{One Hit Wonder}}s with "Keep On Lovin' You" and had a semi-successful debut album, but they broke up in 2012. Fifth-place O'Shea already had a following and some awards in their native Australia. The Stellas went on to have a few hits in their native Canada, and their daughters Lennon and Maisy, in addition to being regulars on the show ''Series/{{Nashville}}'', have gotten something of a [[GermansLoveDavidHasselhoff cult following in Switzerland]] after a song of theirs was [[RepurposedPopSong used in a commercial]].
* ''Series/NashvilleStar'' (2003-08) zig-zagged this trope, with some seasons producing famous people only among the runners-up, and some seasons [[AvertedTrope producing nobody of note at all, winning or losing]]:
** Season 1 winner Buddy Jewell was a TwoHitWonder with the smashes "Help Pour Out the Rain" and "Sweet Southern Comfort", but his second album bombed and he was never heard from again. Music/MirandaLambert had an ''extremely'' slow start, with no major hits off either of her first two albums between 2005-08, but finally had her BreakthroughHit in 2009 with "White Liar" and has since become one of the most popular female acts in Nashville in TheNewTens.
** Season 2 was a wash, at least stateside: winner Brad Cotter had no success whatsoever with his debut album (even though the lead single "I Meant To" briefly held the record for the highest debuting single by a new act on the country charts {later bested by Lambert, above}, it stalled at #35). Runner-up George Canyon went nowhere in the US, but remains fairly popular in his native Canada.
** Season 3: Also a wash, as winner Erika Jo's album went nowhere, and runner-up Jason Meadows's success with his lone single "18 Video Tapes" was limited to small-market stations at best. Fourth-placer Lance Miller has written a few hit singles for other people, though.
** Season 4: Also looked to be a wash at first, as winner Chris Young's debut album was a flop; however, he scored a BreakthroughHit with "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)" from his second album and has been a consistent hit-maker since. Fourth-placer Matt Mason later won the only season of Creator/{{CMT}}'s short-lived ''CMT's Next Superstar'', but his win seems to have been for naught.
** Season 5: Perhaps the biggest example yet, as winner Angela Hacker never released anything other than an album of demos that she cut while she was still on the show, and a couple guest appearances on Cowboy Troy albums. She's such a nobody that she doesn't even have a Wiki/{{Wikipedia}} article. Meanwhile, fifth-placer Whitney Duncan managed to get a full album out (although she had an EarlyBirdCameo on a Music/KennyRogers song back in 2004), and ''seventh''-placer Music/KaceyMusgraves has become a popular artist in TheNewTens despite minimal airplay.
** Season 6: Also a wash. Winner Melissa Lawson only put out one single that never made it to an album; fourth-placer Coffey Anderson did a few independent Christian albums; and seventh-placer Justin Gaston switched to acting.
* For a while, ''Series/CanadianIdol'' Season 5 winner Brian Melo had the best career of the singers that season, if only because his winner's single hit #11 on the Canadian Hot 100. A few of the winners such as Ryan Malcolm and Kalan Porter had number one hits on the old Canadian charts, but that chart used the outdated method of counting only single sales (for example, Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" remake stayed in the top 20 for over three years!). Four years later, third-placer and then two-hit wonder Music/CarlyRaeJepsen releases the single "Call Me Maybe," which not only became the show's first top 10 hit, but also reached number-one. But that was only just the beginning. Shortly after the song reached the top, Music/JustinBieber tweeted that he was a fan of the song and made a video of it with his friends. With million of people hearing about Carly for the first time ever, her song proceeded to top over ten other national charts including the Hot 100 in the United States, and become a full-fledged [[MemeticMutation meme]], especially after a Barack Obama-inspired parody was released. Jepsen remains the only ''Canadian Idol'' contestant to be famous outside of Canada.
** Three years earlier, Jacob Hoggard places third behind Kalan Porter and Theresa Sokyrka. Jacob's band, Hedley, has since gone on to chart more singles and albums than any other acts associated with ''Series/CanadianIdol.'' (In Canada, that is. As mentioned above, most non-Canadians have only heard of Jepsen.) They even cracked the US Modern Rock charts once.
** According to ThatOtherWiki, both Melo and runner-up Jaydee Bixby have sold more albums tham Jepsen, but it is a totally different story for singles success.
* None of the male winners of Golf Channel's ''The Big Break'' have made it to the PGA Tour since their appearance, but quite a few lower finishers have. Several older contestants had already played on the PGA Tour before Big Break; Jeff Mitchell (from BBVI) was for a while the only ''Big Break'' player to win a PGA Tour event...the 1980 Phoenix Open. (He was also a co-leader after the 1st round of The Masters that year.) Since then, Tommy Gainey, eliminated fifth in Big Break IV, and Matt Every, eliminated ''second'' in Big Break VIII, have won on the PGA Tour.
* Several singers were rejected by ''Series/AmericanIdol'' such as Music/ColbieCaillat, Music/LadyAntebellum singer Hilary Scott, and R and B singer Bobby Valentino.
* It's hard to remember that ChristinaGrimmie didn't win Season 6 of TheVoice considering that she's still popular on YouTube while the two singers that placed above her disappeared as fast as Adam's beard did. Of course the show has yet to see a truly successful winner; Cassadee Pope from Season 3 may be the leading success story, but Melanie Martinez from that same season has also achieved considerable success after her stint on the show.
* The UK series played the trope disastrously straight in its first season. Leanne Mitchell's 'winners' song didn't make the top 40, and her album, released a year later with almost no promotion, failed to even make the top 100. Runners up Bo Bruce and Tyler James never made it onto the wider stage, but at least their albums didnt fare this badly.
** The second series both averted and played straight the trope. Mentor Will.I.am put everything on his protégée Leah Mcfall winning, but it was instead won by Andrea Begley. Begley was the first UK voice alum whose album charted in the top 10, but Mcfall has been better known, and Will has kept faith in her.
* ''Series/StarSearch'' had one in 1985 Jr. Female Vocalist runner-up Tiffany Renee, who dropped the "Renee" and became the first SS alum to land a #1 hit. Meanwhile, the girl who defeated her, Melissa Moultrie, had an appearance on the '80s version of ''Series/TheTwilightZone''...and that's pretty much it.
* On ''Series/LastComicStanding'', the only winner to have a relatively successful career after the show was Josh Blue. Runners up Doug Benson, Ralphie May, Rich Vos, Kathleen Madigan, Creator/GabrielIglesias, and Amy Schumer are far more popular than the winners of their respective series (May and Vos were 2 and 3 behind season 1 winner Dat Phan. Madigan came in fifth in Season 2, where John Heffron won. Schumer came in fourth and Benson in sixth [although the latter was fairly well-known beforehand] in Season 5 to Jon Reep. Iglesias was also already well known when he competed in Season 4, where he was disqualified for [[DisproportionateRetribution using a cell phone to contact his family]]).
** Kathleen Madigan was also an established comedian, having appeared in nationally televised stand-up programs since at least the early 1990s.
* On ''Series/RuPaulsDragRace'', simply ''appearing'' on the show is enough to grant superstar status in the gay club circuit, since almost every queen gains a following during the course of the season, in addition to whatever fanbase they had prior to entering, and all former contestants go on the Drag Race tour. Actually winning the season is a formality more than anything.
* In September 2012, Music/MatchboxTwenty finally scored their first #1 album on the Billboard 200 with ''North.'' Debuting one rung below it was Music/ImagineDragons' ''Night Visions.'' The former would go on to become the second lowest-selling #1 album of 2012, while the latter on the other hand would become one of the best selling albums of 2013, and one of a very small number of albums to sell 1 million copies in a declining sales climate. Additionally, ''North'''s debut week was the only one in its lifetime in which it sold more copies a week than ''Night Visions.''
* [[Series/BigBrother Big Brother Canada]] season 1 ended with Jillian winning and Gary Levi placing second. Gary has since gone on to be a huge social media personality, a spokesperson for being yourself across Canada, and co-hosts the second season after-show with Peter Brown (sixth place). Jillian, meanwhile, is rarely heard of and often thought of as the woman who stole Gary's first place prize (one of the jurors accidentally voted for the wrong person, and that one vote decided the game.)
* In the South Korean professional ''VideoGame/StarCraft'' scene, Hong Jin-Ho a.k.a. [=YellOw=] is known as the "King of Silver" for repeatedly placing 2nd in tournaments but never managing to win first place in a major tournament. But after retiring from professional [=StarCraft=], he leveraged that reputation and popularity to become a TV star, re-purposing his quick wits as a frequent guest on SNL Korea as well as various game, panel, and variety shows.
* Anyone remember Little Boots? She was the singer who won BBC's ''Sound of 2009'' poll. She hasn't gone onto much success, but third-placed Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine and sixth-placed Music/LadyGaga become much more successful.
** Same deal with Michael Kiwanuka, who faded into obscurity after winning the "Sound of 2012" whereas Frank Ocean and Music/{{Skrillex}} soared to superstardom in the months that followed.
** Music/{{Haim}}, who won in 2013, hasn't done too badly, but Music/TheWeeknd would ultimately eclipse them by 2015.
** Music/SamSmith, the 2014 winner, has averted this so far. He is still far and away the most successful act to have been featured that year. This would happen again with 2015 winners Years And Years.
** The ''Sound of 2016'' poll was won by Jack Garratt, who's obscure compared to second placer Alessia Cara.
* The ''Billboard'' Year-End charts rank the most popular songs of each year for the pop, R&B, and country charts. On a few occasions, the top song of the year has been one that did not reach #1 on the actual chart: Music/FaithHill's "Breathe" and Music/{{Lifehouse}}'s "Hanging by a Moment", both of which only got to #2 on the Hot 100 but were that chart's top songs of 2000 and 2001, respectively.
* This is also true of the Year-End charts for the CountryMusic format, which have presented a few oddities:
** "Friends in Low Places" by Music/GarthBrooks only ranked at ''#28'' for the year, with the top hit of 1990 being the largely-forgotten "Nobody's Home" by Music/ClintBlack.
** Surely the biggest country hit of 1992 was Billy Ray Cyrus's inescapable "Achy Breaky Heart", right? Nope, according to ''Billboard'' it was "I Saw the Light" by Wynonna Judd; Billy Ray ranked #2 for the year.
** 2003 presents a real oddity. The year had multiple long-lasting #1 hits, including "19 Somethin'" by Music/MarkWills, "Have You Forgotten?" by Darryl Worley, "Beer for My Horses" by Music/TobyKeith and Music/WillieNelson, and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" by Music/AlanJackson and Music/JimmyBuffett. So what was the biggest hit? "My Front Porch Looking In" by Music/{{Lonestar}}, which barely squeaked in a single week at #1 after "Beer" did. Respectively, "19 Somethin'", "Have You Forgotten?", "Beer for My Horses", and "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" ranked at #3, #12, #2, and #4.
** 2010's biggest hit was "Love Like Crazy" by Lee Brice, which only got to #3, and became the first song ever to take the ''Billboard'' Year-End honor for country despite not peaking at #1 on the main charts. This is due mainly to "Love Like Crazy" setting a new record for the longest run in the chart's history, as it spent a whopping ''56'' weeks on the charts.
** 2012's biggest hit was "Time Is Love" by Josh Turner, which only got to #2, but also benefited from an abnormally long chart run.
** Brice did it again in 2015 when "Drinking Class" was the top hit of the year despite also only peaking at #2, but [[RuleOfThree also benefited from an abnormally long chart run]].
* At the 1965 UsefulNotes/{{Academy Award}}s, the winner for Best Live-Action Short Subject was Claude Berri's ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZ_ugJ_E11A Le Poulet]]'', a 15-minute DeliberatelyMonochrome short about a family who buys a chicken. While it's a cute movie and there is a decent punchline in there, it's not exactly memorable, and ''Le Poulet'' faded into obscurity. One of the losers? Oh, only a cute little Creator/JimHenson movie called '''''Film/TimePiece'''''...
** This wasn't the last time this would happen to Jim - in 1979, "The Rainbow Connection" from ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'' lost its Oscar to "It Goes Like It Goes" from ''Film/NormaRae''. The winning song, while decent, is barely remembered these days, while "Rainbow Connection" has become a modern standard, covered by everyone from the Music/{{Carpenters}} to Johnny Mathis to Music/SarahMcLachlan.
* Canadian reality competition ''The Next Star'' has produced these results at least twice. For example, the first season was won by a boy named Dunnery Bond who quickly faded to obscurity after the show. A few years later, sixth-place contestant Alyssa Reid would burst onto the scene with a hit remake of Music/{{Heart}}'s "Alone," which became an unlikely #2 hit in the U.K. A few years later, Diego Gomes would find himself outperformed by fellow teenage singer Victoria Duffield, who had a hit with "Shut Up and Dance". While neither Alyssa nor Victoria can really be called "superstars," they've certainly done better than the winners.
* The 1990 Juno Awards (Canada's Grammy equivalent) had Daniel Lanois win the award for Most Promising Male Vocalist. While he's been modestly successful, he didn't get much fame outside of Canada, and he's better known now as a producer than he is as an artist. One of the losers just so happened to be a young Music/RufusWainwright. Enough said, really.
** The 1980 and 1981 awards were won by Walter Rossi and Graham Shaw. Even in Canada these names are very obscure today. But it just so happens that one of the losers both years was some guy called Music/BryanAdams.
** In 1979 the award was won by Nick Gilder. Today, Gilder is recalled as a {{one hit wonder}} for "Hot Child In The City" but one of the victors was future funk legend Music/RickJames.
** In 1987 the Most Promising Female award went to the late Rita [=MacNeil=] -- and beat out an up-and-coming Quebecois vocalist named Music/CelineDion.
** Music/{{Kiesza}} won in 2015. While she hasn't done too badly, one of the artists she beat out was Music/ShawnMendes, who has all but eclipsed her in popularity especially outside of Canada.
* A fictional example in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'''s Witch Trials. Since witches are almost all terrible losers, the winner can look forward to being vaguely resented for the rest of the year (which is fine because it's always Granny Weatherwax and she doesn't care). Nanny Ogg, as runner-up, gets told it was a good try, and she did really well, and would she like a drink? In "The Sea and Little Fishes", she's very afraid that without Granny entering, and no-one else having their head in the game, she might actually ''win''.
-->"She only just lost" was a much better compliment than "she only just won".
* At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the Women's judo 70g tournament was won by Masae Ueno. While most people won't recognize that name, they'll certainly know the athlete who finished in third: Ronda Rousey.
* During October of 2013, Music/JustinTimberlake's ''The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2'' debuted at #1 on the ''Billboard 200'' with 350,000 copies sold. At #2 was Music/{{Drake}}'s ''Nothing Was the Same'', which hit #1 the week prior with sales of 658,000 and second week sales of 148,000. Below both of them was Music/{{Lorde}}'s debut album ''Music/PureHeroine'', which stalled at #3 with a debut of only 129,000. Eventually, ''Pure Heroine'' became a SleeperHit that outsold both albums in the United States and worldwide, reaching double platinum status in U.S. alone and global sales of nearly three million. Considering that this was a debut album by a teenage girl from New Zealand and they were established superstars, that's impressive.
* Music/LanaDelRey taking #1 on the Billboard 200 in June 2014 with ''Ultraviolence'' was an impressive accomplishment in its own right, especially given that it ended the long-lasting #1 streak of ''Music/LinkinPark''. But the true Cinderella story of that week was the #2 album, Music/SamSmith's ''In The Lonely Hour.'' In the long run, Del Rey barely made it to gold (and Linkin Park didn't even make it, period), while Smith captured lightning in a bottle on the way to a massive ''2 million'' copies in the U.S. alone. Not bad, considering it was Smith's ''debut album.''
* Many times, the Grammy for Best New Artist is won by an artist who hasn't done too well in comparison to the runners-up.
** Famed Broadway star Robert Goulet won the 1963 award. While Goulet had a respectable career, Peter, Paul, and Mary and the Four Seasons have held up better.
** Averted in 1965, which was won by Music/TheBeatles. who by the time of their win already achieved more than their competition ever would ''combined''. Had someone else won and they would today be considered the ''Film/HowGreenWasMyValley'' of the Grammys.
** Bobbie Gentry won the 1968 award; today, she is only remembered for her sole #1 hit "Ode To Billie Joe" while Music/JeffersonAirplane has had a much longer lasting influence.
** Jose Feliciano, a Puerto Rican rock singer, won the award in 1969. Today, few people would say the award should have gone to anyone other than Music/{{Cream}}, while Feliciano is mostly known today for the Christmas classic "Feliz Navidad".
** Crosby, Stills & Nash won the award in 1970. They're still well regarded today, but not exactly as much as ''Music/LedZeppelin''.
** 1971 champions Music/TheCarpenters are still a legendary Adult Contemporary act; problem is, they also beat a guy named Music/EltonJohn.
** America, the band who won in 1973, have done quite well for themselves. Still, it isn't easy to hold your reputation as Best New Artist when you beat a little band called the Eagles.
** The Starland Vocal Band of 1977 were a very infamous winner, ended up a OneHitWonder -- Boston definitely won in the long run.
** Debby Boone of 1978 was another one-hit wonder who failed to have the same legacy as, say, Music/{{Foreigner}}.
** A Taste of Honey won in 1979. A two-hit wonder disco band beat out, amongst others, new wave legends the Cars and Elvis Costello and stadium rock icons Toto.
** Music/RickieLeeJones is a cult songwriter who won the award in 1980, but never really made it into the mainstream like the world-renowned Dire Straits -- and even then, they don't compare to the impact that a young comedian named Creator/RobinWilliams made outside the music world.
** Averted in 1991, when Music/MariahCarey won the award and would have far more success than any of her competition.
** Marc Cohn, who won in 1992, hasn't exactly aged as well as Boyz II Men or Seal.
** Music/LaurynHill who won in 1999, vanished about a year later while the Music/BackstreetBoys continued their meteoric rise to stardom.
** Shelby Lynne, the 2001 champion (despite recording since ''1989''), faded into nearly complete obscurity after the ceremony, while ''[[Music/BradPaisley all]] [[Music/PapaRoach four]]'' [[Music/JillScott of]] [[Music/{{Sisqo}} her]] opponents have done better than her in the long run. Well, maybe not Sisqo, because his sole #1 single was [[ChartDisplacement completely overshadowed]] by the "Thong Song".
** Everyone was shocked when Music/{{Adele}}, a little known British singer, came out on top over the heavily favored Jonas Brothers in 2009. Later she would go on to become one of the industry's biggest superstars of all time, and her win today is about as contested as The Beatles' victory in 1965.
** Jazz bassist Esperanza Spalding beat out Music/JustinBieber and Music/{{Drake}} in 2011. Both Canadian singers would continue to soar while Spalding vanished back into complete obscurity.
** 2014 winner Music/{{Macklemore}}, at the time of his win, was easily the biggest of the five nominees at the time of his win. However, his popularity has waned considerably since then, and Music/EdSheeran and Music/KendrickLamar became more popular than him.
** Just about everyone listed on Website/{{Cracked}}'s [[http://www.cracked.com/article_15856_the-7-most-unforgivable-grammy-award-snubs-all-time.html 7 Most Unforgivable Grammy Snubs]] fit this trope, including the previously-mentioned A Taste Of Honey (although only in relation to Costello's snub).
* The annual Creator/TripleJ Hottest 100, which lists the biggest alternative/indie songs of the year as voted by the Australian public, has produced these results from time to time, usually showing favoritism for local acts:
** The top six of the 1997 poll were Music/{{Blink 182}}'s "Dammit", Music/{{Radiohead}}'s "Paranoid Android", Music/TheVerve's "Bitter Sweet Symphony", Music/{{Chumbawamba}}'s "Tubthumping", Music/{{Blur}}'s "Song 2", and the winner was… "No Aphrodisiac", a song by a not particularly well known Aussie group.
** Powderfinger nabbed the top spot in 1999 and 2000, beating out the likes of "[[Music/FatboySlim Praise You]]", [[Music/TheBloodhoundGang "The Bad Touch"]], "[[Music/RageAgainstTheMachine Guerrilla Radio]]", "[[Music/LimpBizkit Nookie]]", and [[Music/RedHotChiliPeppers "Scar Tissue"]] the former year and [[Music/{{U2}} "Beautiful Day"]], "Teenage Dirtbag", "[[Music/{{Coldplay}} Yellow]]", [[Music/RedHotChiliPeppers "Californication"]], and "[[Music/TheDandyWarhols Bohemian Like You]]" the latter.[[note]]As a postscript to this, their next highest-placing song on a Triple J Hottest 100 was at #4 in 2003 with "(Baby I've Got You) On My Mind", whereas the rest of the top 5 consisted of four of the most iconic songs of the 2000s: "Are You Gonna Be My Girl", "Hey Ya!", "Seven Nation Army," and "Clocks". They're tied with the Music/FooFighters with 22 Hottest 100 hits.[[/note]]
*** Powderfinger's lead singer, Bernard Fanning, topped the 2005 countdown with "Wish You Well". He notably beat out "Feel Good Inc." and "Best of You".
** The 2006 award wasn't won by Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" or Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", but by the much less known Augie March song "One Crowded Hour".
** The winner taking it all is actually very rare in the contest - of the 23 annual Hottest 100's that have been held, there have been only eleven cases thus far where the winning song didn't fade into obscurity: Music/TheCranberries' "Zombie" in 1994, Music/{{Oasis}}' "Wonderwall" in 1995, Music/TheOffspring's "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" in 1998, Music/QueensOfTheStoneAge's "No One Knows" in 2002, Jet's "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" in 2003, Music/FranzFerdinand's "Take Me Out" in 2004, Music/{{Muse}}'s "Music/KnightsOfCydonia" in 2006[[note]]which almost became an example of this trope as its win over the eventual runner-up, Silverchair's "Straight Lines", was by a mere 14 votes, the closest margin in Triple J history[[/note]], Music/KingsOfLeon's "Sex on Fire" in 2008, Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man" in 2009, Music/{{Gotye}}'s "Somebody That I Used to Know" in 2011 and Music/{{Macklemore}}'s "Thrift Shop" in 2012. "Riptide" would be listed here since it also crossed over to the US charts but as noted below, it was nowhere near as big as the second and third-placed songs and also tends to be overshadowed by the fourth placed song.
** The 2013 contest: In fourth place was the Music/ArcticMonkeys' career-defining garage rock anthem "Do I Wanna Know?"; in third place was Music/DaftPunk's Grammy-winning comeback smash "Get Lucky"; in second place was Music/{{Lorde}}'s "Royals", a song that launched one of the most unlikely success stories of the 2010s. And the winner? "Riptide" by Music/VanceJoy, a folk-rock song by a completely unknown singer-songwriter. While it became a bigger success later in the year it's still not enough to overtake ''any'' of the former three songs.
** Chet Faker's "Talk Is Cheap" came out victorious in 2014. It hasn't done as well as Milky Chance's third-place European smash hit "Stolen Dance" and Music/{{Sia}}'s unlikely ninth-placed hit "Chandelier". And all of ''those'' are barely a blip on the radar compared to the song that ended up in sixth-place: Mark Ronson and Music/BrunoMars' decade-defining megahit "Uptown Funk!"
** 2015 was won by another little-heard Aussie jam: "Hoops" by the Reubens, with high favorite "King Kunta" by Music/KendrickLamar at #2. However, neither was as big as the third-placed song: Major Lazer, DJ Snake and MØ's "Lean On". In addition, a few other global hits were found scattered around the list, such as Drake's "Hotline Bling" and Macklemore's "Downtown".
** Creator/DenisLeary won the very first annual Hottest 100 in 1993. While he's still well-respected as an actor today, his winning song "Asshole" has fallen into obscurity, while 2nd-placed "Creep" by Music/{{Radiohead}}, 3rd-placed "Linger" by Music/TheCranberries and 4th-placed "No Rain" by Music/BlindMelon have all fared much better.
* The biggest new opening of the February 19-21, 1999 box office was ''October Sky'', a film about the space race. Another, much more iconic film with the same initials was the week's second biggest new film -- ''Film/{{OfficeSpace}}''.
* The 1967 Grammy for Best Rock Song had not one but ''five'' all-time classic songs on their list: "Elanor Rigby" by Music/TheBeatles, "Last Train to Clarksville" by Music/TheMonkees, "Cherish" by Music/TheAssociation, "Monday Monday" by Music/TheMamasAndThePapas, and "Good Vibrations" by Music/TheBeachBoys. A sixth nominee, "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band didn't even sound like a rock song (it was more of a {{Retraux}}y 20's swing song) and it still came out on top, though its win seems to be for naught.
* On several occasions in the race for the [[AVeryBritishChristmas Christmas Number One]] position on the British charts, the Christmas Number Two song has a longer shelf life among listeners. Two notable cases are Music/JohnLennon's "(Just Like) Starting Over" and Music/MariahCarey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You", which are still heard today but lost the Christmas slot to St. Winnifred's School Choir's "There's No One Quite Like Grandma" and East 17's "Stay Another Day" respectively. [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_UK_Singles_Chart_Christmas_number_twos More here.]]
* The BRIT award for British Breakthrough act:
** In 1990 it was won by Lisa Stansfield, who had the most commercial success in the U.S., but ultimately has barely made any impact in music compared to Music/TheStoneRoses.
** 1991 was won by the long forgotten Betty Boo. Compare her success to the likes of Music/HappyMondays and Music/TheCharlatans.
** 1992 winner Beverly Craven. She's essentially a one hit wonder, and hardly anything compared to Music/{{Seal}}.
** 1993 may be the most infamous example in British history. It was won by Tasmin Archer, a singer who faded into almost complete obscurity after her hit "Sleeping Satellite". One of the acts she beat? ''Music/TakeThat''.
** 1994 winner Gabrielle was no Music/{{Jamiroquai}}.
** 1997's winner was Kula Shaker, who beat the Music/SpiceGirls. Enough said, really.
** 2001 was won by long forgotten boy band A1. One of the acts they beat would go on to become one of the biggest bands of the new millenium. Their name was Music/{{Coldplay}}.
** Music/ArcticMonkeys, who won in 2006, were initally overshadowed by James Blunt. However, they later turned it around and are far more respected than Blunt ever was, scoring two #1 singles in their native UK.
** The Fratellis (2007) haven't done too badly, but Music/LilyAllen is more known than they are.
** Music/{{Adele}} lost to Music/{{Duffy}} in 2009. She would later eclipse her in popularity.
** Although JLS, who won in 2010, were very popular at the time of their victory, they faded into complete obscurity only a few years later and Music/FlorenceAndTheMachine won in the long run.
** Tinie Tempah won in 2011 -- today he is all but forgotten even in the U.K. while Music/EllieGoulding and Music/MumfordAndSons were the big winners.
* MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist
** It's easier to list the total aversions, where the winning artist had the most success, and their song is a classic: 1988 (Music/GunsNRoses with "Welcome to the Jungle"), 1992 (Music/{{Nirvana}} with "Smells like Teen Spirit"), 1993 (Music/StoneTemplePilots with "Plush"), 1996 (Music/AlanisMorissette with "Ironic"), 1999 (Music/{{Eminem}} with "My Name Is"), 2001 (Music/AliciaKeys with "Fallin'"; Music/{{Coldplay}} is the only nominee that can compete with her), 2002 (Music/AvrilLavigne with "Complicated"), 2004 (Music/{{Maroon 5}} with "This Love"; although it's a close call with Music/KanyeWest), 2005 (Music/TheKillers with "Mr. Brightside"), 2009 (Music/LadyGaga with "Poker Face"; another close one with Music/{{Drake}}), 2010 (Music/JustinBieber with "Baby") and 2012 (Music/OneDirection with "What Makes You Beautiful").
** The first winner was Music/{{Eurythmics}} in 1984 with the iconic "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". One of the artists they beat was none other than the queen of pop herself, Music/{{Madonna}}, as well as ''two'' Music/CyndiLauper classics ("Time After Time" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun").
** 'Til Tuesday won in 1985 with "Voices Carry". Lead singer Aimee Mann became an Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter, but solo or not her commercial success is barely a blip compared to Music/{{Sade}}, whose "Smooth Operator" was also nominated that year.
** Music/{{Aha}} won in 1986 for "Take on Me". It's certainly one of the 80's most iconic tracks, but [[AmericansHateTingle a-ha never had much success Stateside]]. Music/WhitneyHouston was the clear winner in the long term.
** Music/LivingColour beat out Music/PaulaAbdul in 1989, although their winning song "Cult of Personality" is, like "Take on Me", probably the best remembered song.
** 1990 winner Michael Penn didn't have a very long career, choosing to marry the lead singer of '85 winners 'Til Tuesday, and largely faded into the shadows of The Black Crowes and Lenny Kravitz (although neither with their more well-known songs). "Black Velvet" is the best remembered song of the bunch.
** Jesus Jones won in 1991. Music/{{Seal}} was the only one who is remembered as anything more than a one-hit wonder (although Deee-Lite was the only actual one-hit wonder there).
** Music/CountingCrows won in 1994. While still well-respected, they aren't nearly as iconic as Music/{{Beck}} or Music/GreenDay.
** Music/HootieAndTheBlowfish won in 1995, so they're an aversion. However, their legacy hasn't aged quite as well as that of, say, Music/JeffBuckley.
** Music/FionaApple in 1997 is a weird case. Her winning song "Sleep to Dream" is the least known of the five nominees, but she herself is probably the best known of them all.
** Macy Gray beat out Music/ChristinaAguilera, Music/PapaRoach, Music/{{Pink}}, and Sisqo. Of those, only Sisqo was more quickly forgotten than Gray.
** Music/FiftyCent's "In da Club" was 2003's victor. While it's easily one of the most iconic songs of the new millennium, his career hasn't aged nearly as well as Music/KellyClarkson. Interestingly, Clarkson's nominated song, "Miss Independent" is seen as one of her lesser-known hits. The biggest song that can compete fame-wise to "In da Club" is "[[Music/{{Evanescence}} Bring Me to Life]]"
** Music/AvengedSevenfold are easily one of the biggest metal bands of the new millennium, but one of the artists they beat out for the 2006 prize was Music/{{Rihanna}}.
** Music/GymClassHeroes, 2007's winners, have had their fair share of success, but they're barely a blip compared to female icons Music/CarrieUnderwood and Music/AmyWinehouse.
** Music/MileyCyrus, Music/KatyPerry, Music/TaylorSwift, and Jordin Sparks were beat in 2008 by Music/TokioHotel. However, Tokio faded into obscurity shortly afterwards and the former three became pop megastars.
** Music/TylerTheCreator, who won in 2011, is a popular underground rapper, but his success isn't nearly as great as Wiz Khalifa.
** Music/OneDirection, who won in 2012, are an aversion, as they are by far the most successful of the nominees. However, their winning song "What Makes You Beautiful" isn't ''quite'' as iconic as Music/CarlyRaeJepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
** Austin Mahone, who won in 2013, was a fairly popular teen idol, but his career was held back by the continued popularity of One Direction. Thus, his career quickly fizzled out, and he himself faded into obscurity. His opponents included Music/IggyAzalea, Music/TwentyOnePilots, Music/TheWeeknd, and Music/{{Zedd}, all of whom had considerably more success than him.
** Music/FifthHarmony beat out Music/FiveSecondsOfSummer in 2014. At first, this was seen as an upset as 5SOS was easily the bigger name at the time. Most people were expecting the latter to win easily. However, as time went on, 5SOS's popularity waned and 5H proved to be the more successful act. Overall, it's played perfectly straight, as Music/SamSmith remains the biggest name of the bunch.
* A downplayed example from ''Series/MasterchefAustralia''. Season 7 winner Billie isn't doing bad, having earned herself a respectable career in the cooking industry as a new member of Heston Blumenthal's "The Fat Duck". But the one who got the most out of the show is probably 4th place Reynold. Hailed as the "Dessert King" of the show, he proved to be one of the most popular contestants the series has to offer; and after getting eliminated, he managed to open a successful dessert bar in Sydney. He was brought back in Season 8 to coordinate one of the Pressure Tests, an honour typically reserved for only the best cooks in the country.
f
21st May '16 5:47:37 PM JamesAustin
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** Season 1: DanielBryan became one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE history, becoming a one-time World Heavyweight Champion and a three time WWE Champion while WadeBarrett hasn't had anything as big as his initial world title chase during the Nexus angle -- it took a gimmick overhaul into a messenger of "bad news" to regain him some of the popularity he had lost since then. The season's only other notable success story was sixth-placer Skip Sheffield, who became mega-face Wrestling/{{Ryback}} and soared to main event status only months after his re-debut. Like Barrett, his popularity waned very quickly after his

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** Season 1: DanielBryan [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson Daniel Bryan]] became one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE history, becoming a one-time World Heavyweight Champion and a three time WWE Champion while WadeBarrett Wrestling/WadeBarrett hasn't had anything as big as his initial world title chase during the Nexus angle -- it took a gimmick overhaul into a messenger of "bad news" to regain him some of the popularity he had lost since then. The season's only other notable success story was sixth-placer Skip Sheffield, who became mega-face Wrestling/{{Ryback}} and soared to main event status only months after his re-debut. Like Barrett, his popularity waned very quickly after his
16th May '16 5:43:23 AM Adept
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----

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----* A downplayed example from ''Series/MasterchefAustralia''. Season 7 winner Billie isn't doing bad, having earned herself a respectable career in the cooking industry as a new member of Heston Blumenthal's "The Fat Duck". But the one who got the most out of the show is probably 4th place Reynold. Hailed as the "Dessert King" of the show, he proved to be one of the most popular contestants the series has to offer; and after getting eliminated, he managed to open a successful dessert bar in Sydney. He was brought back in Season 8 to coordinate one of the Pressure Tests, an honour typically reserved for only the best cooks in the country.
14th May '16 7:01:04 AM LaptopGuy
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** It's easier to list the total aversions, where the winning artist had the most success, and their song is a classic: 1988 (Music/GunsNRoses with "Welcome to the Jungle"), 1992 (Music/{{Nirvana}} with "Smells like Teen Spirit"), 1993 (Music/StoneTemplePilots with "Plush"), 1996 (Music/AlanisMorissette with "Ironic"), 1999 (Music/{{Eminem}} with "My Name Is"), 2001 (Music/AliciaKeys with "Fallin'"), 2002 (Music/AvrilLavigne with "Complicated"), 2004 (Music/{{Maroon 5}} with "This Love"), 2005 (Music/TheKillers with "Mr. Brightside"), 2009 (Music/LadyGaga with "Poker Face"), 2010 (Music/JustinBieber with "Baby") and 2012 (Music/OneDirection with "What Makes You Beautiful").

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** It's easier to list the total aversions, where the winning artist had the most success, and their song is a classic: 1988 (Music/GunsNRoses with "Welcome to the Jungle"), 1992 (Music/{{Nirvana}} with "Smells like Teen Spirit"), 1993 (Music/StoneTemplePilots with "Plush"), 1996 (Music/AlanisMorissette with "Ironic"), 1999 (Music/{{Eminem}} with "My Name Is"), 2001 (Music/AliciaKeys with "Fallin'"), "Fallin'"; Music/{{Coldplay}} is the only nominee that can compete with her), 2002 (Music/AvrilLavigne with "Complicated"), 2004 (Music/{{Maroon 5}} with "This Love"), Love"; although it's a close call with Music/KanyeWest), 2005 (Music/TheKillers with "Mr. Brightside"), 2009 (Music/LadyGaga with "Poker Face"), Face"; another close one with Music/{{Drake}}), 2010 (Music/JustinBieber with "Baby") and 2012 (Music/OneDirection with "What Makes You Beautiful").



** Music/HootieAndTheBlowfish won in 1995, so they're an aversion.

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** Music/HootieAndTheBlowfish won in 1995, so they're an aversion. However, their legacy hasn't aged quite as well as that of, say, Music/JeffBuckley.


Added DiffLines:

** Music/FiftyCent's "In da Club" was 2003's victor. While it's easily one of the most iconic songs of the new millennium, his career hasn't aged nearly as well as Music/KellyClarkson. Interestingly, Clarkson's nominated song, "Miss Independent" is seen as one of her lesser-known hits. The biggest song that can compete fame-wise to "In da Club" is "[[Music/{{Evanescence}} Bring Me to Life]]"


Added DiffLines:

** Music/OneDirection, who won in 2012, are an aversion, as they are by far the most successful of the nominees. However, their winning song "What Makes You Beautiful" isn't ''quite'' as iconic as Music/CarlyRaeJepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
** Austin Mahone, who won in 2013, was a fairly popular teen idol, but his career was held back by the continued popularity of One Direction. Thus, his career quickly fizzled out, and he himself faded into obscurity. His opponents included Music/IggyAzalea, Music/TwentyOnePilots, Music/TheWeeknd, and Music/{{Zedd}, all of whom had considerably more success than him.
** Music/FifthHarmony beat out Music/FiveSecondsOfSummer in 2014. At first, this was seen as an upset as 5SOS was easily the bigger name at the time. Most people were expecting the latter to win easily. However, as time went on, 5SOS's popularity waned and 5H proved to be the more successful act. Overall, it's played perfectly straight, as Music/SamSmith remains the biggest name of the bunch.
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