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This young singer from North Carolina went from unknown teenager to worldwide superstar after winning the third season of American Idol. Sixty-five million people voted for her, leading to her record deal with Clive Davis' J Records. Her debut album, Free Yourself, dropped in 2004 and earned several Grammy nods. Despite her successes, life has not always been easy for Fantasia. She chronicled her struggles to reach the top as a young single mother in the 2006 book Life Is Not a Fairy Tale, which was later turned into a Lifetime television movie (starring Fantasia as herself). Her self-titled sophomore album dropped later that year, followed by a 2007 star turn as Celie in the Broadway musical The Color Purple. Not long after, however, Fantasia faced a new set of problems, including fans' ire and lost ticket sales after missed Color Purple performances (which turned out to be due to a cyst on her vocal cords), spiraling debt and her record label dropping her. But the scrappy singer revived herself yet again in 2010 with a new album, another Color Purple run and a reality show.

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