You Won’t Believe Which ‘American Idol’ Contestant Has the Largest Net Worth

Some of American Idol‘s biggest stars, such as Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson, got their start on the reality show. The TV series has even changed the lives of those rejected. These are the richest stars who’ve ever won American Idol, according to Celebrity Net WorthOne famous winner went on to make millions — now she has the largest net worth (on page 10).

10. Taylor Hicks

American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and host Ryan Seacrest performs
American Idol saw Taylor Hicks win in 2006. | Vince Bucci/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $2 million

The fifth-season winner of American Idol, the Alabama native struggled to make it as a country star, left Nashville, and auditioned for the TV show years later. Beating out fan-favorites Katherine McPhee and Elliott Yamin, Taylor Hicks’ first single went No. 1 on Billboard charts, but then his label dropped him.

The singer bounced back, however, joining the cast of Grease on Broadway and completing a Las Vegas residency at the Paris hotel. These days, Hicks still performs around the country. He also owns a BBQ restaurant in Birmingham, Alabama.

Next: This beloved big man can live large.

9. Ruben Studdard

American Idol finalist Ruben Studdard reacts to winning during the show's grand finale
He was the winner of his season. | Vince Bucci/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $3 million

Ruben Studdard was the winner of season two of American Idol. Clay Aiken was the runner-up. As of this writing, Studdard has released six albums. His debut album, Soulful, was certified platinum, and his second album, I Need an Angel, was certified gold. In addition, he appeared in the musical Ain’t Misbehavin’ in 2009. He then went on tour with Clay Aiken in 2010.

Next: This Idol alum appeared on Broadway.

8. Fantasia Barrino

American Idol' Finale For The Farewell Season at Dolby Theatre
She received six Grammy nominations. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $3 million

Fantasia Barrino won season three of American Idol. After the show ended, she went on to enjoy great success. Barrino has received six Grammy nominations. In addition, she appeared in the Broadway show The Color Purple, playing the role of Celie. Barrino has released six studio albums as of this writing. Her debut album, Free Yourself, went platinum, and her second album, Fantasia, went gold.  

Next: This singer has an amusing name.

7. Phillip Phillips

Phillip Phillips performs onstage during the Invictus Games Orlando
He managed to finish first despite the pain. | Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Invictus Games
  • Net worth: $3.5 million

Phillip Phillips won season 11 of American Idol. He persevered despite the fact that he reportedly had to undergo eight kidney surgeries during the season. Although he considered quitting the show due to immense pain, Phillips pressed on and finished in first place. Phillips has released four studio albums as of this writing. His album, The World from the Side of the Moon, went platinum.

Next: This contestant made Idol history.

6. Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery performs during the WME Party at the IEBA 2015 Conference
He was the youngest male winner at the time. | Jason Davis/Getty Images for IEBA
  • Net worth: $4 million

Scotty McCreery won season 10 of American Idol. At the time, he was the youngest male winner and the fourth male in a row to win. McCreery has released four studio albums as of this writing. His debut album, Clear as Day, went platinum. His second album, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, went gold. McCreery made history when he became the first country artist to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. He was also the youngest man to debut at No. 1 (he was 18 years old at the time).

Next: The battle of the Davids gave one more fame than the other.

5. David Cook

Runner-up David Archleta (L) and winner David Cook
Winner David Cook (R) beat out runner-up David Archleta (L) in 2008. | Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $5 million

Growing up in a musical family, David Cook went to support his brother’s audition for American Idol, but he ended up trying out himself. The Texas-born rock singer won season seven and quickly released his first album, seeing two songs land on the Billboard top-20. Cook left his label after the first album and then released a second. In 2018, he released a six-song EP and announced his lead role in Broadway musical Kinky Boots.

Next: This former contestant has had great success.

4. Jordin Sparks

Recording artist Jordin Sparks performs onstage during FOX's "American Idol" Finale
She had two songs become top 10 singles. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $10 million

Jordin Sparks won season six of American Idol. Her self-titled debut album was released later that year, in November 2007. As of this writing, she has released three studio albums. The singles “Tattoo” and “No Air” became Billboard Hot 100 top 10 singles. In addition, her album resulted in several nominations and awards, including an American Music Award in 2008. Sparks went on to win her first Grammy nomination in 2009.

Next: This former Idol has found success in three industries.

3. Chris Daughtry

Recording artist Chris Daughtry performs onstage during FOX's 'American Idol' Finale
He has released six albums and has expanded into acting. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $10 million

Chris Daughtry appeared on season five of American Idol. He finished in fourth place. As of this writing, he has released six studio albums. Daughtry has also tried acting. He has appeared in CSI:NY, The Passion: Live, Trollz, Studio City, and Star Wars: Cantina Bands. In addition, the singer created a variant cover for a Batman comic book back in 2016.

Next: This contestant broke a Billboard record.

2. Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson gestures with her hands while talking into a microphone
She has been keeping things rocking since Idol.  | Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM
  • Net worth: $28 million

Clarkson won the very first ever season of American Idol in 2002. She’s had several top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. Her most notable hits are “Because of You” and “Breakaway.” Her single, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” broke the Billboard record for the biggest jump to the No.1 spot in chart history (from No. 97 to No. 1), during the first week it was released.

Next: Underwood is the most successful American Idol contestant.

1. Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood holdsthe Grammy award for the Best Female Country Vocal Performance
She has won plenty of awards and is a true star these days. | Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $85 million

Carrie Underwood was the fourth season winner. She went on to become one of the best-selling musical artists in the country. During the last 13 years, she has won 12 American Country Music awards and 19 nominations. In 2008, Underwood was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. At the time, she was the youngest member to be inducted.


Next: This American Idol was one of the Three Divas.

1. Jennifer Hudson

US singer Jennifer Hudson poses on the red carpet on arrival for the BRIT Awards 2018
Between her endorsement, acting, and singing careers, she’s making a lot of money. | Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $20 million

Jennifer Hudson became known as one of the Three Divas on season three of American Idol (the other two divas were Fantasia Barrino and LaToya London). Although Hudson was eliminated, she went on to enjoy great success. Hudson’s $20 million net worth is from several sources. Among them was her deal with Weight Watchers (she ended that partnership in 2014), a book deal, and her salary from acting roles and album sales.

Next: This contestant wrote a New York Times best seller.

2. Clay Aiken

His books and music have sold big. | Jeffrey A. Camarati/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $7 million

Clay Aiken appeared on season two of American Idol. He finished in second place. As of this writing, Aiken released a total of six studio albums. His albums Measure of a Man and Merry Christmas with Love were certified platinum. His album A Thousand Different Ways was certified gold. Aiken is also a published author. In 2004 his book Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life, debuted at No. 2 on the New York Times Best Seller List.

Next: This American Idol alum broadened her skill set.

3Katharine McPhee

Actress Katharine McPhee attends the SAG-AFTRA Foundations Patron of the Artists Awards
She even starred in her own show called Smash. | Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images
  • Net Worth: $8 million

Katharine McPhee appeared in season five of American Idol. She finished in second place. As of this writing, she has released a total of five studio albums. McPhee has also done some acting. She appeared in the films House Bunny and Shark Night 3D. As far as the small screen, McPhee has appeared in the television shows Ugly Betty, CSI:NY, and Scorpion.

Next: None of these contestants won American Idol, but they made millions anyway.

4. David Archuleta

David Archuleta performs during the annual PBS "A Capitol Fourth" concert at the US Capitol
He has participated in several singing competitions. | Kris Connor/Getty Images
  • Net worth: $5 million

David Archuleta appeared on season seven of American Idol. He finished in second place. Archuleta has released six studio albums as of this writing. His self-titled debut album and his fourth album, Forevermore, were both certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Archuleta won his first signing competition at the age of 10. At the age of 12, he became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2.

Next: A dancing machine.

5. Kellie Pickler

Singer Kellie Pickler performs onstage at the 4th ACM Party for a Cause Festival
She went on to win Dancing with the Stars. | Mark Davis/Getty Images for ACM

Net worth: $5 million

Kellie Pickler appeared on season five of American Idol. She finished in sixth place. Pickler has released four studio albums as of this writing. Her debut album, Small Town Girl, went gold. She continued her reality TV appearances when she agreed to be on Dancing with the Stars for season 16. Pickler and her dance partner, Derek Hough, won the competition.

Next: This contestant became one of the show’s most successful alums.

6. Adam Lambert

Singer Adam Lambert performs in concert at Terminal 5
His first album jumped to No. 3 on the charts. | Noam Galai/Getty Images
  • Net Worth: $16 million

Adam Lambert was the runner-up in season eight of America Idol. Although he didn’t win, he managed to become one of the show’s most successful alums. His first studio album, “For Your Entertainment,” was released in November 2009. The album debuted at the No. 3 spot on the Billboard charts. In addition, Lambert received a Grammy nomination in 2010.

Next: This former Idol contestant is fighting for a cause that’s close to his heart.

15. Elliott Yamin

American Idol Season 5 finalist Elliott Yamin performs at the Malaria No More Reception With American Idols
He has also been an advocate for diabetes research. | Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Malaria No More
  • Net worth: $6 million

Elliott Yamin appeared on the fifth season of American Idol. He finished in third place. He released a total of six studio albums as of this writing. His single “Wait for You,” from his self-titled album, went platinum. Before American Idol, Yamin worked as a disc jockey for R&B radio station WCDX/Power 92 FM. Yamin, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 16, has been an advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation since 2007.

Follow Sheiresa on Twitter @SheiresaNgo.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!