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Which American Idols Made It Big When The Cameras Stopped Rolling?

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Talents can be globally-known without winning the famous American Idol title, but participating in this show makes things easier if you are longing to be a celebrity. Yes, American Idol is exciting, entertaining, and brings together some fabulous people with mindblowing talents. Some of them go to the final cut, and only the lucky ones (the most talented ones) get to win the first place and an opportunity to record an album by being mentored by the best in the industry.

As expected, they receive money as well – a sizeable cash prize, to be exact. Those who don’t make it to the final stage are usually forgotten. However, many still manage to have a career on their own. Interestingly, winners don’t always make it after the show, while the show’s underdogs manage to make real hits and experience the greatest success. Here is a glimpse of the most successful contestants today.

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25. Kimberley Locke

Net worth: $1.5 million

Kimberley Locke is mostly known for coming in third place during the second season of globally-known American Idol. After she participated in the show, Kimberley worked hard to make a new appearance in 2004, when she released her first album, “One Love.”

She was also seen in 2007, in the fifth season of Celebrity Fit Club. After that, Kimberly decided to trade her in the spotlight experience, for behind-the-scenes life. In 2001 she founded an entertainment company, I AM Entertainment. The idea of this project is to help entertainers to make a living off their talent.

24. Haley Reinhart

Net worth: $1.5 million

Illinois-born Haley Reinhart made a strong impression on the audience of American Idol’s ninth season. Haley showed that she won’t let one bad experience define her, so she continued fighting.

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Haley gained additional recognition after doing Bill Murphy’s voice-over in Netflix’s animated comedy, F is for Family for three seasons. At the moment, she is shooting in Texas for Rodriguez’s superhero science fiction film; We Can’t Be Heroes. This is Haley’s acting debut.

23. Diana DeGarmo

Net worth: $1.5 million

DeGarmo is mostly known for amazing performances in the third season of American Idol. She was also a finalist on NBC’s America’s Most Talented Kid. After her experience on American Idol, Diana decided to work further on her music career.

DeGarmo is active in the world of musical theater. She starred in several plays, including Oz, West Side Story, and Hairspray. DeGarmo has a soft spot for musical performances. After all, her television acting debut was in the CBS soap opera, The Young and the Restless. She plays Angelina Veneziano, a fictional character.

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22. Bo Bice

Net worth: $2 million

Bo Bice will forever be remembered for his free-child look, with long hair and groovy glasses. This appearance was his on-stage trademark. And as the runner-up of the series’ fourth season, he has managed to create a significant fan base.

After American Idol, Bo released his first solo album, “The Real Thing.” Eventually, the album went gold and even reached number four of the Billboard charts. He also had a few TV appearances and even joined the cast of American Chopper.

21. Josh Gracin

Net worth: $2 million

Before he kicked off his music career, Josh Gracin was a US marine. He appeared in the second season of American Idol and stole people’s hearts. He took fourth place, just behind Kimberley Locke. Josh also got significant exposure during the season, which only benefit his career.

When he performed “I’m Movin’ On” by Rascal Flatts, he impressed the band so much that they instantly connected him with Marty Williams, the co-producer of two of their most successful albums. From there, everything was just a success. So far, Gracin has released three albums – the first album went gold.

20. Taylor Hicks

Net worth: $2 million

Taylor Hicks took the first place in the fifth season of American Idol. He was close to losing from everyone’s favorite Katherine McPhee, but eventually, he won. However, once the show ended, he didn’t have much success. His first album – titled Taylor Hicks – reached number two on the Billboard charts, and that was it.

From here, his record label dropped him. Still, he managed to bounce back his career. He is the only American Idol winner who manages to lock down a Las Vegas residency. Nowadays, he is busy showcasing food across the States, hosting Amazon Prime’s State Plate.

19. Mandisa

Net worth: $3 million

Mandisa had to fight for her fame. Her journey in the fifth season was everything but natural. She ended taking ninth place, and she even had to deal with Simon’s comments about her weight. However, she was determined to succeed. Soon after the show ended, Mandisa managed to make a name for herself as one of the country’s most popular Christian and contemporary gospel artists of today.

So far, Mandisa has released six studio albums. Her first album hit number one on the Top Christian Albums chart. Mandisa was also the first female artist to hit number one on this chart after the chart’s entire 27 years of existence.

18. Ruben Studdard

Net worth: $3 million

Ruben Studdard, or otherwise knowns as Teddy bear, took the first place in the second season. After his big prize, he released his debut album, “Soulful,” which was certified platinum. His second album became the top-selling gospel album at the time.

Ruben published seven studio albums, and he also find some time to participate in The Biggest Loser’s fifteenth season. Studdard also had an appearance in shows, such as 8 Simple Rules and All of Us. Ruben also appeared in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.

17. Kris Allen

Net worth: $3.5 million

The season eight of American Idol was marked by Kris Allen. People loved his energy and voice, fro the first time he stepped on stage. Moreover, people loved him so much that they forgot just how controversial his victory was.

The second place went to Lambeto, many the real winner. Still, Allen has proven that he deserved the title of winner. So far, he has released a total of four studio albums, and each album is better than the previous one.

16. Kimberly Caldwell

Net worth: $4 million

Kimberly Caldwell is known for her appearance on the second season of the show. Interestingly, she manages to build wealth from her signing careers, as well as her professional path after the run on the show. Kimberly joined Fox’s Sports Network as a correspondent on the program, 54321.

She also did a host on rapper P. Diddy’s reality TV singing competition show, named Starmaker. Sadly, the show aired only for one season. From there, she made an appearance on Deal or No Deal and hosted Oxygen Network’s first season of Best Ink.

15. Scotty McCreery

Net worth: $4 million

Scotty McCreery is a now-famous country singer who won season 10 of American Idol. At the time, Scotty was only 17-years old. Furthermore, he is the youngest male to be crowned the title of American Idol. So far, Scotty has released a total of four studio albums.

His first album, “Clear as Day,” went platinum. In 2017, his single “Five More Minutes,” reached the top of the Billboard chart and made Scotty the first country singer to chart a record without any help of a record label.

14. Phillip Phillips

Net worth: $5 million

Phillip Phillips – so memorable name, right? The name is so catchy that no one can forget it. Moreover, no one will even forget Phillip Phillips from American Idol, who won season 11 of the show. His song, “Home,” is to date the all-time best-selling single.

After his victory, Phillips focused on his music. SO far, POhiklip has released three studio albums, and in 2019 he appeared in one episode of Hawaii Five-0. In 2019, he shared with the world that he and his wife are expecting a son.

13. David Cook

Net worth: $5 million

David Cook is a Texas-born rocker who became famous by accident. Initially, he went to the American Idol audition in Omaha, Nebraska, to support his little brother. His brother didn’t end up to the next round, while David did. Eventually.

David became season seven’s winner, and once the season ended, David continued breaking records. In only one week, he landed 11 songs on the Hot 100. Before David, this record was held by Miley Cyrus.

12. David Archuleta

Net worth: $5 million

In the reality talent competition, Star Search 2, David Archuleta won the title of Junior Vocal Champion, and it helped him in his musical career. Seven years after participating in Star Search 2, David started competing in American Idol. It was easy to see just how confident he was, and it enabled him to get second place.

Archuleta’s self-titled first – and best-selling – an album made it on the Billboard 200 chart, by taking the second place. After his third album, David took a two-year break. During his break, David was actually busy working on his missionary work in Chile. Upon his arrival, David started working on his fourth album. So far, David has released seven albums.

11. Kellie Pickler

Net worth: $5 million

Kellie Pickler ended in sixth place on American Idol’s fifth season. Yet, she delivered some fantastic performances, and people loved her. After the show, Kellie released her debut album, “Small Town Girl,” that was well-received and got to some high position on charts. She also tried her skills in reality TV and won in the sixteenth season of Dancing with the Stars in 2013.

She also co-hosted the daytime talk show, Pickler & Ben with comedian Ben Aaron between 2017-2019, a show is known for its focus on human interest stories as well as celebrity, beauty, and lifestyle.

10. Fantasia Barrino

Net worth: $5 million

Fantasia Barrino stepped into the world of American Idol back in 2004, when she introduced the States other powerful R&B voice. She also won the third season fo the show. After her big victory, Fantasia released her first album, “Free Yourself,” that went platinum and earned her three Grammy nominations.

She did even better with her second album, “Fantasia.” It’s main single, “When I See U” stayed at the top of the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for a total of eight weeks. This album also earned her another three Grammy nominations. So far, she has been nominated for a total of 12 Grammy Awards and has won one.

9. Elliott Yamin

Net worth: $6 million

Elliot Yamin came in third place on American Idol’s fifth season, and although he didn’t win the audience, fans and the jury loved him. Moreover, no one could argue that he isn’t a natural talent. Even Simon said that Elliot was “potentially the best male vocalist” that the show had ever seen up to that point.

After the contest, Elliot went on to prove his talent further by releasing studio albums. His self-titled debut album reached number one on the Billboard chart and even hit the golden status in the States and Japan.

8. Clay Aiken

Net worth: $7 million

Clay Aiken is one of the earliest American Idol contestants. Clay is known from season two when he made a huge boom with his performance. His debut album, “Measure of a Man,” went multi-platinum. From there, he released five more albums and sold more than five million copied. All in, he is the fourth highest-selling American Idol.

So far, he did much more than merely creating fantastic music. He also published a memoir, “Learning to Sing,” in 2004, which reached second place on the New York Times Best Seller list. He even had a few TV appearances including The Celebrity Apprentice and standing on Broadway. He also tried politics, so he ran for North Carolina’s Congress in 2014, but he lost the general election.

7. Katherine McPhee

Net worth: $8 million

After competing in American Idol’s fifth season, Katherine has released a total of five studio albums. In American Idol, she finished second, after Taylor Hicks. Interestingly, her music career has not been her only source of income.

Her acting debut was The House Bunny, and afterward at Shark Night 3D. She also has several TV appearances, including CSI: NY, NBC’s Smash, and CBS’ Scorpion. She married David Foster in June 2018.

6. Chris Daughtry

Net worth: $10 million

Chris Daughtry is one of those American Idol contestants who didn’t win but still managed to find success. After the fifth season of the show, Chris sighed a record deal with RCA Records and became the lead singer of a band symbolically named Daughtry.

In only five weeks, the band’s debut album was sold in over one million copies, making it the history’s fastest-selling debut rock album. Chris Daughtry co-operated with big music names such as Slash, Timbaland, and Carlos Santana.

5. Jordin Sparks

Net worth: $10 million

Jordin Sparks was only 17-years-old when she became the show’s youngest winner in season six. As expected, her professional career didn’t stop there. Jordin team up with Chris Brown, for a due titled “No Air,” which instantly became the highest-selling single ever released by aby contestant on the series.

Her second album, named Battlefield, also was a huge success and made it to the top 20 of the Billboard Top 100 chart. When she is not recording in the studio, Sparks explored Broadywa and acting. On top of that, she has a perfume line.

4. Jennifer Hudson

Net worth: $20 million

Jennifer Hudson is everywhere – rocking singles, filming movies, appearing in TV shows, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and workout… She can do it all, and it all started in the third season of American Idol when Hudson was eliminated from the top seven.

Straight from the show, she went to the big screen to play Effie White in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, a huge movie hit that brought her big awards, including an Academy Award. She even tried her talent on Broadway, starring in Broadway debut, The Color Purple, that got her second Grammy.

3. Adam Lambert

Net worth: $20 million

Adam Lambert wowed America with his voice and performance skills in season eight of the show. The audience was shocked when he came in second place behind Kris Allen. Still, it was evident that he isn’t going anywhere and that he is ready to be a real star.

As soon as he left the show, Adam released his first studio album, “For Your Entertainment,” and it was an instant hit. So far, Adam has released three studio albums. His talent even got him to tour with Queen.

2. Kelly Clarkson

Net worth: $28 million

Kelly Clarkson was the first American Idol in history. Thanks to the show, Kelly got herself a record deal with RCA Records, and she went on to produce award-winning albums and chart-topping records. She also has three Grammys, three MTV Video Music Awards, and so on. She also found success in film, writing, and television.

She even signed a deal with a book publisher in 2016, for a children’s book. In total, she released two children’s books so far. Clarkson also worked as a judge on The Voice, and she is a host on the daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show.

1. Carrie Underwood

Net worth: $85 million

Carrie Underwood marked the entire show. Her successful singing careers started when she first appeared in the fourth season of American Idol. She won that season. Overall, the show was a fruitful platform for this young star.

After her debut album, her career only went up. She even received three Grammy’s for a debut album. She is officially one of the most successful artists in music, and she has been listed as one of Time’s 100 most influential people in the world.

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