From getting eliminated from Indian Idol in 2005 to judging the same reality show years later, few singers have had a journey quite like Neha Kakkar. As the singer turns 33, we are going back 16 years to the time we saw her on TV.

Neha auditioned for Indian Idol season 2, when she was still a Class 11 student. Back then, she was a popular singer in the jagran circuit but wanted to make it big as a Bollywood singer too.

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“I want to be Indian Idol because the way the world is crazy about Abhijeet Sawant, I want to feel that craziness too. I want people to say, ‘Look at that girl! That’s Neha Kakkar!,” she said in her special video byte for the show. Her father said that she is popular jagran singer, so much that the public goes ‘mad’ when she performs.

During her audition, Neha impressed all three judges–Anu Malik, Farah Khan and Sonu Nigam. However, her ride through the season was a bit more choppy. She was eliminated early on but was thankful for the opportunity the show got her.

However, after the show, she had to wait almost seven years before she landed her breakthrough song, Second Hand Jawaani in Cocktail. After that, there was no looking back for her. She delivered popular dance numbers such as Sunny Sunny, London Thumakda, Kaala Chashma, Kargai Chull, Aankh Maarey and more.

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Neha is now a judge on same show and is also among the most popular singers in Bollywood. She was the most streamed Indian artist on Spotify and has close to 58.2 million followers on Instagram.

Neha got married last year to singer Rohan Preet Singh. She often shared pictures and videos with him on Instagram.

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