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10 Most Successful American Idol Contestants

Kelly jennifer carrie american idol success

Another season of American Idol comes to an end this week, and while finalists Candice Glover and Kree Harrison are still waiting to see what the future holds for them, some of the show’s past contestants are still soaking up their own success stories.

With 11 seasons already behind us, the show has produced dozens of successful artists. In honor of tonight and tomorrow’s two-part finale, we’re counting down the Top 10 biggest stars to be produced from the competition singing show that started it all. See if your favorites made the list!

10. Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler

After finishing in sixth place on Season 5, Kellie became a well-known name in country music, especially after pal-ing up with famous country names like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. She’s released three albums, the first of which was certified Gold. Although Kellie’s biggest years of fame were shortly after Idol, she’s recently made a comeback by becoming a finalist on Dancing With the Stars. She’ll compete in the finals next Monday.

9. Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks

Jordin won season six of American Idol when she was only 17. Later that year, she released her first album, which was certified Platinum. Although her follow-up album wasn’t nearly as successful, Jordin branched out beyond the music world and has been in film and on TV and Broadway. Additionally, she has a clothing line and fragrance.

8. Phillip Phillips

Phillip Phillips album

After winning Season 11 of American Idol, Phillip released his coronation song “Home” to the most successful sales in the history of the show’s winning-numbers, selling more than 4-million copies. The song was featured in NBC’s coverage of the Olympics and several other commercials and trailers. His follow-up single “Gone, Gone, Gone” is also getting valued radio play, and although he’s newer to the Alumni category, Phillip is certainly a star at this point in time.

7. Fantasia


Fantasia won Season three and has since released four studio albums. She’s been nominated for 8 Grammy Awards, and finally took one home in 2010 for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for her song “Bittersweet.” In 2010, she also starred in her own reality series called Fantasia For Real.

6. Chris Daughtry

Chris Daughtry

Chris came in fourth place on Season Five, and formed a band called Daughtry soon after. The band has had three albums and was even nominated for a Grammy Award. Besides his own songwriting and band, Chris has written songs for various artists, particularly other Idol alums. The band is currently working on its fourth studio album.

5. Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery

Country singer Scotty was named the winner of Season 10, and released his debut album just five months after the competition. It was eventually certified platinum. He became the first country artist to debut at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 charts with a first album, and the record reached Number 1 on five different charts. He also won the all-important Best New Artist award at the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards.

4. Katharine McPhee

Katharine McPhee

Katharine was the runner-up of Season 5 of American Idol, and since then, released two studio albums, plus a Christmas album. While she never really took off on Top 40 radio, Katharine got recognition by starring in The House Bunny, and more notably, NBC’s show Smash. Although the show just got cancelled after two seasons, chances are Katharine has made a name for herself to get some work in the future.

3. Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer was a favorite to win Season Three of American Idol, and the world was shocked when she got voted off in seventh place. It didn’t hurt her career, though, as Jennifer went on to produce two studio albums, the first of which won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. More notably, though, Jennifer took home an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Dream Girls, making her the only Idol alum to get a Grammy AND an Oscar. She’s starred in several other movies since then, too, and even made an appearance-arc on Smash with Katharine.

2. Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson

It’s hard to believe that Kelly was American Idol’s first winner back in 2002. She’s released five albums, and has even produced enough hit records to release a Greatest Hits compilation. Her five albums were all certified at least Platinum, and she’s been nominated for nine Grammy Awards, winning three altogether. Additionally, Kelly has sold out multiple arenas and served as a mentor on several different singing competitions.

1. Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood

Since winning Season Four of American Idol, Carrie has released four studio albums, all certified Platinum. She’s won six Grammy Awards and was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award as a songwriter. The country singer also won the Academy of Country Music’s coveted Entertainer of the Year Award twice, being the first female to do so. Carrie holds several records as a country artist, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and has been on four major, solo tours since winning Idol.