RANKED: The 19 most successful ‘American Idol’ contestants of all time

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From left, Carrie Underwood, Ruben Studdard, and Kelly Clarkson. Getty Images

There will be a lot of discussion about the legacy of “American Idol” after it names its final winner and the stage lights go off on Thursday night.

After 15 seasons, the singing-competition show has inspired countless imitators, both failed and thriving, from “The Voice” to “America’s Got Talent.” And in its heyday, it reached nearly 40 million live viewers — a feat that no TV show will ever reach again in the DVR, delayed-viewing, multi-platform world we’ve entered.

But possibly the show’s biggest draw was its ability to pluck Americans out of obscurity and make them stars. This was proven over and over again with not just its winners, but many of the contestants who found fame even without the guaranteed recording contract.

That is no simple feat. “The Voice” is in its 10th season and has still yet to create a music superstar.

In celebration of “Idol’s” legacy, here’s a look at the competition’s most successful winners and alums:

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permalink=”/#19-season-9-winner-lee-dewyze-2010-1″
title=”19. Season 9 winner: Lee DeWyze (2010)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $50,000

No. of albums: 6

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: DeWyze has actively supported and performed for several charity organisations. In 2012, he offered his song ‘Fight’ for free to anyone who donated to The Heart Foundation benefiting heart-disease awareness.”
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permalink=”/#18-season-14-nick-fradiani-2015-2″
title=”18. Season 14: Nick Fradiani (2015)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $1 million

No. of albums: N/A

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: Fradiani’s single ‘Beautiful Life’ is the FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup Official Anthem. His first album is slated to come out this year.”
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permalink=”/#17-season-12-candice-glover-2013-3″
title=”17. Season 12: Candice Glover (2013)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $1 million

No. of albums: 1

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: Glover was featured on Chadd Black’s 2015 single ‘Love No Fear.’ Her next album is due out this year. She is also starring in the gospel musical ‘The Love Shack,’ which opened in LA in February.”
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permalink=”/#16-season-10-winner-scotty-mccreery-2011-4″
title=”16. Season 10 winner: Scotty McCreery (2011)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $1.2 million

No. of albums: 3

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: McCreery attends North Carolina State University with a major in communications. He also supports and performs to benefit several charities, including Operation Christmas Child, City of Hope, World Vision, and Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program.”
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permalink=”/#15-season-13-winner-caleb-johnson-2014-5″
title=”15. Season 13 winner: Caleb Johnson (2014)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $2 million

No. of albums: 2 (one with band Elijah Hooker)

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: Johnson is releasing his second solo album this year.”
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permalink=”/#14-season-5-winner-taylor-hicks-2006-6″
title=”14. Season 5 winner: Taylor Hicks (2006)”
content=”Estimated net worth:$2 million

No. of albums: 3

Grammy awards: 1 nomination, 1 win

Other projects: Hicks guest-starred as the judge of a singing competition (alongside fellow ‘Idol’ alum Clay Aiken) on ‘Law & Order: SVU.’ The first ‘Idol’ winner to score a long-term Las Vegas residency, Hicks currently performs at the Paris Las Vegas.”
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permalink=”/#13-season-8-winner-kris-allen-2009-7″
title=”13. Season 8 winner: Kris Allen (2009)”
content=”Estimated net worth:$2.5 million

No. of albums: 5

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: Allen has cowritten several songs for other artists, including ‘Before We Come Undone’ for South African ‘Idol’ winner Lloyd Cele, ‘Still Got Tonight’ for ‘Glee’s’ Matthew Morrison, and ‘Raise Your Hand’ for ‘The Voice’ winner Javier Colon.”
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permalink=”/#12-season-2-winner-ruben-studdard-2003-8″
title=”12. Season 2 winner: Ruben Studdard (2003)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $3 million

No. of albums: 7

Grammy awards: 1 nomination

Other projects: He competed on the 15th season of ‘The Biggest Loser.’ He has also branched out into acting with several guest roles on TV shows, including ‘8 Simple Rules,’ ‘Life on a Stick,’ ‘All of Us,’ and ‘Eve.’ And he founded an organisation to advance arts in education.”
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permalink=”/#11-season-11-winner-phillip-phillips-2012-9″
title=”11. Season 11 winner: Phillip Phillips (2012)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $3.5 million

No. of albums: 2

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: Phillips supports and performs to benefit several charity organisations, including the Sarah foundation and the Gibson flood relief campaign.”
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permalink=”/#10-season-7-winner-david-cook-2008-10″
title=”10. Season 7 winner: David Cook (2008)”
content=”Estimated net worth:$5 million

No. of albums: 4

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: In 2009, Cook signed an endorsement deal with Skechers shoes. The proceeds for Cook’s song ‘Permanent’ went to researching brain cancer, which his brother died from in 2009.”
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permalink=”/#9-season-3-winner-fantasia-barrino-2004-11″
title=”9. Season 3 winner: Fantasia Barrino (2004)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $5 million

No. of albums: 5

Grammy awards: 11 nominations, 1 win

Other projects: She starred in a Lifetime movie about herself, and starred in two Broadway shows, ‘The Colour Purple’ and ‘After Midnight.’ She also starred in her own reality show for VH1, ‘Fantasia for Real.'”
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permalink=”/#8-season-5-runner-up-katherine-mcphee-2006-12″
title=”8. Season 5 runner-up: Katherine McPhee (2006)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $6 million

No. of albums: 4

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: McPhee successfully transitioned into an acting career with lead roles on TV shows ‘Smash’ and ‘Scorpion,’ and in movies ‘The House Bunny’ and ‘You May Not Kiss the Bride.’

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permalink=”/#7-season-2-runner-up-clay-aiken-2003-13″
title=”7. Season 2 runner-up: Clay Aiken (2003)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $6 million

No. of albums: 9

Grammy awards: N/A

Other projects: Aiken has supported and worked with several charities benefitting children, autism causes, gay rights, HIV/AIDS, and served as a UNICEF ambassador. In 2014, he ran for a congressional seat in North Carolina, but was defeated by the incumbent.

In 2008, he appeared in the Broadway production of ‘Monty Python’s Spamalot.’ Aiken has also guest-starred on TV shows ‘The Office,’ ‘Law & Order: SVU,’ and ‘Drop Dead Diva.’ He competed in the fifth season of ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ becoming runner-up to winner Arsenio Hall.”
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permalink=”/#6-season-5-fourth-place-finalist-chris-daughtry-2006-14″
title=”6. Season 5 fourth-place finalist: Chris Daughtry (2006)”
content=”Estimated net worth:$8.5 million

No. of albums: 7 (One each with bands Cadence and Absent Element, five with band Daughtry)

Grammy awards: 4 nominations

Other projects: Daughtry broke into television with a guest appearance on ‘CSI: New York.’ He was cast on the Fox pilot ‘Studio City,’ but the network didn’t order it to series. Recently, he appeared on Fox’s musical event, ‘The Passion.’ He has the third-highest record sales of ‘Idol’ contestants behind Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.”
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permalink=”/#5-season-6-winner-jordin-sparks-2007-15″
title=”5. Season 6 winner: Jordin Sparks (2007)”
content=”Estimated net worth:$10 million

No. of albums: 3

Grammy awards: 1 nomination

Other projects: In 2008, Sparks launched her own clothing line at Wet Seal. She also has a fragrance line.

She has appeared on the TV shows ‘Suite Life on Deck,’ ‘Big Time Rush,’ and ‘CSI,’ and on the Lifetime TV movie ‘Dear Secret Santa.’ She made her movie debut in ‘Sparkle,’ and followed that with ‘Left Behind: The Movie.’

In 2008, she launched the I’m M.A.D. Are You? campaign to urge young people to volunteer in their communities. She also established the Jordin Sparks Experience, which donates its proceeds to several charities.”
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permalink=”/#4-season-8-runner-up-adam-lambert-2009-16″
title=”4. Season 8 runner-up: Adam Lambert (2009)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $12 million

No. of albums: 3

Grammy awards: 1 nomination

Other projects: Lambert is an outspoken activist for LGBT rights, honored by GLAAD, PFLAG, and Equality California, among other groups.

On TV, he starred on Fox’s ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show Event’ in 2015, made a cameo as himself on ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ and starred in a recurring role on ‘Glee.’

He has also served as the lead vocalist of iconic rock band Queen since 2011.”
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permalink=”/#3-season-3-seventh-place-jennifer-hudson-2004-17″
title=”3. Season 3 seventh place: Jennifer Hudson (2004)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $20 million

No. of albums: 3

Grammy awards: 5 nominations, 1 win

Other projects: Hudson won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the role of Effie in the musical movie ‘Dreamgirls.’ She has also appeared in several other films, including ‘Sex and the City,’ ‘The Secret Life of Bees,’ ‘Winnie Mandela,’ and ‘Chi-Raq.’

On TV, she starred in recurring roles on ‘Smash’ and ‘Empire,’ and stars in the upcoming HBO movie ‘Confirmation.’

She cofounded The Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, in honour of her mother, brother, and young nephew who were killed by her sister’s estranged husband.”
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permalink=”/#2-season-1-winner-kelly-clarkson-2002-18″
title=”2. Season 1 winner: Kelly Clarkson (2002)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $28 million

No. of albums: 7

Grammy awards: 12 nominations, 3 wins

Other projects: Kelly Clarkson created a line of greeting cards with American Greetings, which are sold exclusively at Walmart. She also wrote a children’s book titled ‘River Rose and the Magical Lullaby,’ to be published by HarperCollins in October 2016. She has had several top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.”
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permalink=”/#1-season-4-winner-carrie-underwood-2005-19″
title=”1. Season 4 winner: Carrie Underwood (2005)”
content=”Estimated net worth: $70 million

No. of albums: 5

Grammy awards: 13 nominations, 7 wins

Other projects: She has her own line of Nicole by OPI nail polish and fitness wear sold at Dick’s Sporting Goods. She also founded animal, community, and arts in school organisations in her hometown, Checotah, Oklahoma. In 2010, the singer launched the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives Temporary Home Fund to aid Tennessee flood victims in 2010.

Underwood has appeared on the TV show ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and in the film ‘Soul Surfer.’ She also earned rave reviews as Maria in NBC’s live broadcast of ‘The Sound of Music.’

One of the leading stars of country music, Underwood was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009.”
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