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Since American Idol premiered in 2003, countless talented (and not-so-talented) contestants have graced our TV screens. Only a handful have gone on to win the title. But many have gone on to find some success after the show. It’s easy to measure how successful AI’s most popular talent has been based solely on the wealth they’ve accumulated.

But other factors also play a big role in their success. Some former contestants have absolutely killed it post-Idol when you consider things like prestigious career moments, staying power, and how well they’ve done relative to where they finished in the competition.

Here are the most successful American Idol contestants ever. Be sure to read the list all the way through, because you might be surprised who we’ve chosen for No. 1!

15. Justin Guarini

Justin Guarini singing into a microphone.
Justin Guarini | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Lincoln Center
  • Net worth: $700,000
  • Albums sold: 124,000
  • Grammy awards: 0 nominations

You have to hand it to the very first American Idol runner-up. For a long time, he and his career mostly boiled down to bad From Justin to Kelly punch lines.

It’s true that he never quite matched Kelly Clarkson’s level of success. But he persevered through it all and managed to carve out a big career for himself.

Guarini has starred on Broadway, released two albums, and snagged a hosting gig on the TV Guide Channel. He also starred as the Prince-like Lil’ Sweet in a series of Diet Dr. Pepper ads.

Next: This Season 5 crooner made Idol history in Vegas.