Featuring the Richest 'American Idol' Contestants, and It's All About the Money!

Featuring the Richest 'American Idol' Contestants, and It's All About the Money!
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | (L to R) Photo by Rich Fury, Alberto E. Rodriguez, Kevin Winter, Catherine Powell

Even as the American Idol season 21 finale aired on Sunday, one may wonder about the fate of the contestants. The moment American Idol premiered in 2002, it was not only an artistic opportunity for many aspiring singers but also a platform that swirled out numerous significant icons. Many upcoming musicians have utilized the show to their advantage and garnered millions of fans through this platform. A lot of those admirers have stayed faithful to the vocalists and their various projects launched ever since.

While many of these alums were the champions, it may astonish people how much money the American Idol finalists truly earn, making them winners too. America has witnessed the show deliver many singing idols to stardom, from Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson to Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert, with many more heavy moneymakers through the years.



Here are the richest American Idol contenders to ever be on the show, as per Just Jared.

1. Carrie Underwood: $140 Million

Carrie Underwood is a country music celebrity who got her start in the music industry after prevailing in the fourth season of American Idol, and she has never looked back. If someone had to look at her financials, Underwood is by far the most prosperous entertainer to come out of the hit reality series. The country superstar sold over 70 million albums, earning her the title of one of the best-selling female artists of all time. The seven-time Grammy winner’s hit list comprises songs like Before He Cheats and Jesus Take the Wheel. She is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry and Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and she has her very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 



2. Kelly Clarkson: $45 Million

From Texas, Kelly Clarkson is a Grammy Award-winning vocalist. She was the first-ever American Idol winner and aided in setting the stage for the show’s future success. The initial idol has sold over 25 million albums and around 45 million singles. Clarkson is the vocalist behind iconic songs like A Moment Like This, Since U Been Gone, and My Life Would Suck Without You. The competent hitmaker is also a judge on a popular reality show, The Voice, and host of the daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show.

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Monica Schipper
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Monica Schipper


3. Adam Lambert: $35 Million

The Indiana native Adam Lambert is a rock star who first captured the public’s eye on the eighth season of American Idol, where he was the runner-up to Kris Allen. Lambert sold over $5 million in albums all over the world with singles like Whataya Want from Me, Better Than I Know Myself, and Ghost Town. The hit Whataya Want for Me was also nominated for a Grammy. In recent years, Lambert has performed as the frontman and journeyed with the legendary rock band, Queen.


4. Jennifer Hudson: $30 Million

Jennifer Hudson is a vocalist and actress who evolved as a public figure after appearing on the third season of American Idol. The Chicago resident is one of the most prosperous people to ever arise from the series. Her self-titled debut album went on to be gold certified, selling over a million copies, and also won her a Grammy for Best R&B album. Hudson has also had a thriving acting profession in which she won an Academy Award for her interpretation of Effie White in the film Dreamgirls.


5.  Katharine McPhee: $14 Million

Katharine McPhee is an actress and musician from Los Angeles, California. She was the runner-up during the fifth season of American Idol. After Idol, McPhee had some triumph as a vocalist with singles like Over It and Had It All. Her debut album sold roughly 381,000 copies, however, her follow-up records spawned little attraction. Nevertheless, the 39-year-old ended up having a prosperous career as an actor. The American Idol alum has been an integral part of shows like Smash and Scorpions

Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Phillip Faraon
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Phillip Faraon


6. Jordin Sparks: $8 million

Jordin Sparks is a proficient singer from Phoenix, Arizona. She was the youngest person to win the show at age 17. After her Idol appearance, she released a self-titled debut album that sold around 2 million copies and had bangers like No Air and Tattoo. Apart from her music, Sparks has also seen success as a Broadway actress. Additionally, she has released two popular fragrances, Because of You and Ambition. 



7. Lauren Daigle : $ 6 Million

Even though Lauren Daigle did not make it far on American Idol in both seasons 9 and 11, she did discover incredible success as a Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter. Her works include her Platinum-selling How Can It Be and Look Up Child, one of the highest-charting Christian albums ever, per Just Jared.


8. Elliott Yamin: $6 Million

Singer Elliott Yamin first earned acclaim as the second runner-up on the fifth season of the reality show American Idol. In 2006, Yamin revealed he had signed a record deal with Sony, and he released a cover of Donny Hathaway's This Christmas online. In 2007, Yamin released his self-titled solo album, and the soul-oriented holiday album My Kind of Holiday appeared in 2008.


9. Clay Aiken: $4 Million

North Carolina’s Clay Aiken appeared on the second season of American Idol. He almost won the season but was eventually beaten by Ruben Stutter in the finals. The 40-year-old has been very occupied since he appeared in the series. Aiken was in a Broadway comedy, Spamalot and appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice. He also unsuccessfully ran for Congress in his birthplace of North Carolina. 



10. Kellie Pickler: $4 Million

North Carolina’s Kellie Pickler was a contestant in the fifth season of American Idol. Although she did not make it to the top 5, the Southern Belle nevertheless proceeded to have an outstanding career as a country music artist. Pickler has released many thriving albums since the show. Her debut record, Small Town Girl, marketed over 900,000 copies. Red High Heels, Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful, and I Wonder are some of her hits. Pickler is also the co-host of the talk show Pickler & Ben


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