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IMAGE: Idols
Jordin Sparks, Carrie Underwood, David Cook and Kelly Clarkson know all about what it's like to win the "American Idol" crown.
Access Hollywood
updated 5/25/2011 10:05:51 PM ET 2011-05-26T02:05:51

“American Idol” will crown its tenth winner on Wednesday night and from the moment show host Ryan Seacrest calls either Lauren Alaina or Scotty McCreery’s name, the newest “American Idol” will embark on a life-changing journey.

Judging by past winners though, it’ll take the Season 10 champ a few beats for it all to sink in.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: ‘American Idol’ Season 10: The Final!

“I don’t think it has hit me yet. At all,” Carrie Underwood told Access Hollywood back in 2005 after winning “Idol’s” Season 4 crown. “I am in awe.”

Season 7 winner David Cook, in 2008, was more than shocked, admitting to Access Hollywood backstage after the show that when he first heard his name called, he thought it was David Archuleta who had actually taken the title.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: David Cook: From ‘American Idol’ To Rock Star

“I had my mind made up that I was taking second,” Cook told Access backstage following the finale. “I had it in my head, ‘All right they’re going to say his name, I’m just going to make sure that I congratulate him properly.’ When they said my name, I heard Archuleta, so I turned, then it processed as I was turning.”

A then 17-year old Jordin Sparks (the same age Scotty is now) never suspected she would walk away with the prize over her Season 6 final competitor Blake Lewis.

Story: Warnings for Scotty: Five 'Idol' don'ts

“Everybody knew but me,” Sparks told Access the day after winning the Season 6 crown in 2007. “It was anybody’s game I thought and we were standing up there and I would’ve been fine with whatever happened.”

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Hot Shots Of Country Cutie Carrie Underwood!

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For the winner, as the news sinks in, they might be able to get a few hours of shut eye before a marathon series of early morning interviews, but Jordin said it was more like a catnap.

“I’m running on two – two-and-a-half hours [of sleep] I think… It’s crazy,” she laughed.

VIEW THE PHOTOS: Kelly! Jordin! Carrie & More Of Your Former ‘American Idols’

After a whirlwind press tour, including an exclusive performance at Access Hollywood, it’ll be back to preparing for another type of tour – this time across the country, performing with the winner’s fellow former contestants, something original “Idol,” Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson said provided some much needed support.

“It is weird touring because we’re like already at arenas. I’ve been to concerts and most of the ones I go to can’t even make it to arenas. They’re like small bands and stuff, " Clarkson told Access in 2002 as she prepped for the “Idol” tour. “It’s kind of crazy because we’re doing like 30-something shows in a month-and-a-half, that’s pretty. fun. The fact that I like the other nine people [is good to], so it’s cool that I get along and I have nine other people to lean to lean on.”

And the perks start right away for the winner too – from invites to award shows and premieres, to features in magazines praising the winner for a host of reasons.

Not long after his 2008 win, Cook landed on People magazine’s “Sexiest Bachelors” list.

“It’s cool, it’s a pretty huge honor. You know, you grow up walking through the supermarket and you see People magazine and it’s like Brad Pitt, George Clooney,” he told Access at the time.

“It’s not a bad thing,” the humble star said. “But I don’t know, it’s new territory.”

Clarkson also carved out time to film a music video for her debut single, “A Moment Like This,” but it wasn’t easy.

“We had the whole MTV crew back there doing the whole ‘Making The Band’ stuff and I burnt my feet,” Clarkson laughed in an interview with Access in 2002. “People don’t realize what goes into a video, like little things, like you have to keep singing through stuff, like when you’re foot is on fire from the candle floating in the water.”

And after the tour and the rush of that first single, it’s off to the studio to start work on the winner’s debut album.

“It’s been really interesting, I have gotten into the writing process and for me, I want to put out music that that is still, you know, popular music, but also kind of strays from that [traditional] pop music vibe,” Cook told Access in 2008 as he was gearing up to hit the studio. “I have come up with some really cool songs that I am really proud of. I feel like I am in a place musically that I have never been before so it’s interesting. This record will be something.”

For Kelly Clarkson, life after “American Idol” was more than just an album – she got the starring role in a movie – “From Justin To Kelly” – and she told Access about trying to balance the two – acting and recording — back in 2003.

“The only tough thing about it is I’m trying to fit in, well I am fitting in, my album at the same time, but I don’t mind doing it on my off days, or I get some Saturdays off… I don’t mind working,” she explained.

Season 4’s Underwood even planned to follow it all up with something rather studious.

“I have one semester left, I think I can take online classes,” Carrie told Access of finishing her bachelor’s degree — something she did a year after her win, in 2006.

But beyond albums and tours, appearances and features, the newly crowned “Idol” should get themselves some good advice.

Clarkson told Access in 2003 that she got her biggest tip from her own idol — Reba McEntire.

“She said, ‘Make sure you’re having fun,’ So I’m making sure,” Clarkson laughed.

Copyright 2013 by NBC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Photos: 'American Idol' season 10 finale

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  1. Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery

    "American Idol's" season 10 finale came down to two country singers, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, with McCreery claiming the crown. The finale was held at the Nokia Theatre LA Live in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25. A record-setting 122 million votes were cast. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Beyonce

    Beyonce rocked out with "Idol's" returning female finalists, performing her hit "Crazy in Love." (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. James Durbin and Judas Priest

    Fourth-place finisher James Durbin, right, once again gave metal a chance by performing with the heavy metal band Judas Priest. Durbin sang with band frontman Rob Halford on the songs "Living After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Jack Black and Casey Abrams

    "Kung Fu Panda 2" star Jack Black, left, and sixth-place finisher Casey Abrams performed "Fat Bottomed Girls" during the "Idol" season 10 finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. The top 13

    The top 13 contestants, from left, Thia Megia, Stefano Langone, Pia Toscano, Naima Adedapo, Casey Abrams, Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Ashthon Jones, Paul McDonald, Haley Reinhart, Karen Rodriguez and Jacob Lusk performed together one more time. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Lady Gaga

    Lady Gaga returned to the "Idol" stage again to perform her song "Edge of Glory." (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Steven Tyler

    "Idol" judge Steven Tyler waved to the crowd as he walked onstage during the results show. His first season on the show was an eventful one. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Jacob Lusk and Gladys Knight

    Jacob Lusk, who finished in fifth place, performed "Smile" with Kurt Franklin and Gladys Knight. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Tim McGraw and Scotty McCreery

    Before the winner was announced, country star Tim McGraw performed a duet of "Live Like You Were Dying" with finalist Scotty McCreery. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Beyonce and the girls

    Pia Toscano, Ashthon Jones, Beyonce and Naima Adedapo performed together during the "Idol" finale. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Marc Anthony and J.Lo

    Marc Anthony, who appeared on an earlier episode of "American Idol" this season, came back to perform during the finale. His wife, judge Jennifer Lopez, joined him onstage to show off her dance moves. (Kevin Winter/american Idol 2011 / Getty Images Contributor) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. The judges

    This year's "Idol" judging panel of Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler acknowledged the crowd at the beginning of the finale show. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Haley Reinhart and Tony Bennett

    Third-place finisher Haley Reinhart performed "Steppin' Out With My Baby" with legend Tony Bennett during the "American Idol" season 10 finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. The top guys

    The top six guys performed a group number during the "Idol" finale. They are, from left, Scotty McCreery, James Durbin, Paul McDonald, Stefano Langone, Jacob Lusk and Casey Abrams. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. "T-Boz" and "Chilli"

    Singers Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas of TLC perform onstage. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Tom Jones and the guys

    The top 12 male finalists perform with special guest Tom Jones during the show's finale. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Carrie Underwood and Lauren Alaina

    Season four winner Carrie Underwood performed her hit song, "Before He Cheats," with finalist Lauren Alaina during the "Idol" season 10 finale. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Does whatever a spider can

    Even Spiderman showed up for the finale. Bono and The Edge of U2 and Reeve Carney were caught in the superhero's web. (Kevin Winter / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. And the winner is ...

    Finalists Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina held each other for support as host Ryan Seacrest prepared to announce the winner of "American Idol" season 10. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Rooting for Scotty

    Fans celebrate Scotty McCreery's victory during a viewing party held at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. McCreery is from Garner, N.C. (Jim R. Bounds / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Great Scott!

    Winner Scotty McCreery hugs finalist Lauren Alaina as Jennifer Lopez hand him his trophy at the "American Idol" finale. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Group hug

    "Idol" contestants congratulate Scotty McCreery after he won. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Here comes the confetti

    Scotty McCreery celebrates with fellow contestants as confetti buries the stage. (Chris Pizzello / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. The new 'Idol'

    Scotty McCreery celebrates after being named the winner. The judges had all given a slight edge to Lauren Alaina the night before the results show. (Michael Becker / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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  1. Image: Fox's "American Idol 2011" Finale - Results Show - Show
    Kevin Winter / Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (24) ‘American Idol’ season 10 finale
  2. Image: Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery
    Michael Becker / FOX
    Slideshow (71) 'American Idol' Season 10 - Top 13
  3. FOX
    Slideshow (25) 'American Idol' Season 10 - Top 24

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