Forbes ranks Top-Earning ‘Idols’ ; the elite three: Underwood, Clarkson and Daughtry

The Top-Earning ‘Idols’

Forbes’ rankings of the top-earning American Idol alums are based on earnings from album sales, concerts, endorsements and other income for the year from June 1, 2009, through May 2010.

No. 1: Carrie Underwood

$13 million

The Muskogee, Okla.-born country pop singer has won four Grammys, 14 Billboard Music Awards and five American Music Awards. She’s also sold 9.6 million albums.

No. 2: Kelly Clarkson

$11.7 million

Idol’s first winner has sold 10.6 million albums (along with 16.1 million digital tracks, according to Nielsen SoundScan). Her latest single, “Already Gone,” hit No. 3 on Billboard charts. Currently touring in New Zealand, she’ll play the Lilith Fair music festival this month. Clarkson, 28, is now working on her fifth album.

No. 3: Chris Daughtry

$10.2 million

After playing with a series of bar bands traveling around North Carolina, Daughtry made it to Idol’s final four in the fifth season. Since leaving the show he has sold 5.7 million copies of his two albums: a Grammy-nominated self-titled debut in 2006 and Leave This Town, released last year. Followers on Twitter: 159,000.

No. 4: Kellie Pickler

$7.6 million

Pickler was one of the hardest-working Idol alums this past year, with a 100-date concert schedule. The season five finalist has sold 1.3 million records, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

No. 5: Jordin Sparks

$3.7 million

Entering Idol competition at age 17, Sparks was the youngest winner in the show’s history. The season six winner broke out with “No Air,” a duet with R&B vocalist Chris Brown. She has toured with Alicia Keyes and the Jonas Brothers. Sparks’ second album, Battlefield, debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard charts.

No. 6: Jennifer Hudson

$3.5 million

Hudson ranks lower this year due to slowing album sales and a light touring schedule, yet she remains one of the most successful Idol alums. She placed just seventh in the third season but went on to win an Oscar in 2006 for her role in Dreamgirls. Her 2008 self-titled album, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, has sold over 750,000 copies. Earlier this year she signed on as the latest spokeswoman for Weight Watchers.

No. 7: David Cook

$2.8 million

Three years ago, David Cook was tending bar in Tulsa, Okla. After winning Idol’s seventh season title in 2008, his first single, “The Time of My Life,” debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100, followed by a debut album, David Cook, which went platinum. He continues a lucrative endorsement deal with Skechers shoes.

No. 8: David Archuleta

$2.2 million

Defeated in the seventh season by David Cook, Archuleta went on to release a self-titled album on Jive records that reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts. He has played more than 100 live shows since Idol. Twitter followers: 372,000.

No. 9: Clay Aiken

$2 million

The Raleigh, N.C., native maintains a loyal following six years after finishing second on Idol. He has sold 4 million albums and penned a New York Times bestselling memoir. Aiken recently finished a run in Broadway’s “Spamalot.”

No. 10: Kris Allen

$1.7 million

The Arkansas native gained traction with Idol fans with his acoustic version of Kanye West’s “Heartless.” He engineered a stunning upset over Adam Lambert last year. He signed with Jive Records and released a self-titled album that reached No. 11 on the Billboard 200. He’s been performing in Las Vegas and touring nationally.

Original story appears on Forbes.com

TV Guide: American Idol’s Sexiest Stars

idols_sexiest

PART I: They’re talented, famous, and best of all, sexy! TV Guide Network ogles the sexiest stars to come out of AMERICAN IDOL! Find out why people can’t get enough of Blake Lewis, Brooke White, Jason Castro, Saisha Mercado and more!

PART II: TV Guide Network continues its look at the sexy stars of AMERICAN IDOL by checking out Michael Johns, David Cook, Kellie Pickler, Justin Guarini, Kristy Lee Cook and many more!

PART III: Check out some of the hottest stars ever to come out of AMERICAN IDOL as TV Guide Network concludes its look at Idol’s sexiest with Chris Daughtry, Kimberly Caldwell, Katharine McPhee, Bo Bice and more!

American Idol RoundUp

Created by Simon Fuller

Directed by John Pritchett (live shows), Bruce Gowers (live shows, 2002-2008), Nigel Lythgoe (audition shows), Ken Warwick (audition shows)

Presented by Ryan Seacrest, Brian Dunkleman (season 1)

Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson

Country of origin United States

Original channel FOX (repeats on Fox Reality)

Original run June 11, 2002 – Present

American Idol is America’s favorite reality show without question. And it is one of ours too, shallow as it may seem. The show is professionally presented and always draws the best performances, although many of our favorites are the botched horror shows during the early auditions.

The judges are all great at calling the show, with Simon’s honesty telling the real story most of the time. Although he has botched plenty, like last year’s final. The stages and camera work are all exceptional. And the show’s costume designers, professional accompaniment, and the presentation are exceptional, making what start off as reasonably talented amateurs into seemingly seasoned professionals by year’s end.

And who doesn’t dream of being Kelly Clarkson or David Cook or Jordin Sparks up on that stage and wowing millions, in some cases after having no exposure whatsoever? And doesn’t every contestant appear a winner, when a fourth place finisher like Chris Daughtry becomes a downright American icon pulling off hit after hit in his first year as a professional performer. Or Kellie Pickler, who got eliminated in the final ten, only to show up with a new set of breasts and a top country hit “In My Red High Heels“.

kara_dioguardiIn mid 2008, American Idol announced a new addition to the judges lineup for Season 8 that premiered in January 13, 2008. Kara DioGuardi is the fourth judge for American Idol. How she fares as a judge remains to be seen going into the actual competition.

American Idol is our number two favorite.

THE AMERICAN IDOLS:

Season 1: Kelly Clarkson, 20, from Burleson, TX

Season 2: Ruben Studdard, 25, from Birmingham, AL

Season 3: Fantasia, 19, from High Point, NC

Season 4: Carrie Underwood, 21, from Checotah, OK

Season 5: Taylor Hicks, 29, from Birmingham, AL

Season 6: Jordin Sparks, 17, from Glendale, AZ

Season 7: David Cook, 25, from Blue Springs, MO

Season 8: ????

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