10 Country Stars Who Were Total Underdogs

CMA Fest 2023 - Day 1

Photo: Jason Kempin / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

Everyone loves an underdog, and country music is full of 'em. Or, they USED to be underdogs at least. "The Boot" posted a list of 10 country stars who were totally underrated at first!

1. Luke Combs. Nobody would sign him, and "The Voice" even rejected him because he, quote, "wasn't interesting enough." He never made it on the show.

2. Jelly Roll. No one in country sounded like him, or looked like him.

3. Walker Hayes. He moved to Nashville in 2005 and toiled away for a decade before making it big.

4. Chris Stapleton. He was known in the industry as a great songwriter. But it was another 15 years before he really went mainstream.

5. Taylor Swift. It was obvious she had talent early on. But no one expected her to be the biggest star in the world.

6. Oliver Anthony. The most obvious one on the list. A former factory worker who recorded "Rich Men North of Richmond" in a field and ended up with the top song in the country.

7. Gabby Barrett. She finished third on season 16 of "American Idol", but might be the most successful third place finisher ever.

8. Kellie Pickler. She finished sixth on "Idol" in 2006. That's the year Taylor Hicks won.

9. Kane Brown. He got famous posting covers on Facebook, and nobody took him seriously. His first two singles flopped, but then he had five straight #1 hits.

10. Billy Ray Cyrus. "Achy Breaky Heart" was huge when it came out in 1990, but got slammed by critics. So people thought he was a one-hit wonder. But he's still relevant 33 years later. He helped Lil Nas X break out with "Old Town Road" in 2019.

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