Top 10 American Idol Alumni

01
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10. Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery
Scotty McCreery. Photo by Denise Truscello / Getty Images

Scotty McCreery won the tenth season of American Idol at age 17.  He quickly followed Carrie Underwood into country music stardom.  His first two non-holiday studio albums topped the country albums chart. His first Clear As Day was certified platinum for selling more than one million copies. Five of his songs have reached the top 40 on the country chart.

Top pop hit singles:

  • "I Love You This Big" - #11 - 2011
  • "The Trouble With Girls" - #55 - 2011
  • "See You Tonight" - #52 - 2013
02
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7. Phillip Phillips

Phillip Phillips
Phillip Phillips. Photo by Paul Morigi / Getty Images

Georgia born Phillip Phillips, winner of American Idol's season 11, has the distinction of releasing the show's all time bestselling coronation single "Home."  It was a major hit across radio formats from adult pop to rock and peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 selling more than four million copies.  Phillip Phillips followed it with a million selling debut album and a second million sellling song "Gone Gone Gone." His second studio album Behind the Light, released in 2014, was another top 10 hit including the top 10 adult pop single "Raging Fire." 

Top pop hit singles:

  • "Home" - #6 - 2012
  • "Gone Gone Gone" - #24 - 2013
  • "Raging Fire" - #58 - 2014
03
of 10

9. Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken
Clay Aiken. Photo by Mike Windle / Getty Images

After placing second in the second season of American Idol behind Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken generated one of the largest and most devoted fan bases of any contestant. This resulted in big sales for his first album, but he was unable to sustain the momentum. However, Aiken headed to Broadway to become a star in the musical Monty Python's Spamalot. In 2014 he won the Democratic primary to run for the US House of Representatives from North Carolina's 2nd district. He lost the general election to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers. He has been a strong advocate for gay rights and victims of autism. Clay Aiken has reached the top 40 on the adult contemporary chart 16 times.

Top pop hit singles:

  • "This Is the Night" - #1 - 2003
  • "Solitaire" - #4 - 2003
  • "Invisible" - #37 - 2004
04
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5. Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer Hudson. Photo by Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson's early exit from American Idol in 2004's third season finishing only in seventh place was one of the biggest shocks in the show's history. However, she did not let it deter her from success as both a singer and actor. She is the only former contestant to win an Academy Award. She was selected as Best Supporting Actress in 2007 for Dreamgirls. In addition she has earned acclaim on both TV and Broadway in addition to pursuing a successful music career. Her three studio albums have all been top 10 hits. Jennifer Hudson has made seven appearances in the top 40 of the R&B singles chart. She has earned five Grammy Award nominations and won for Best R&B Album for her self-titled debut in 2009.

Top pop hit singles:

  • "Spotlight - #24 - 2008
  • "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" - #60 - 2006 
05
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8. Jordin Sparks

Jordin Sparks
Jordin Sparks. Photo by Paul Morigi / Getty Images

At the age of 17, Jordin Sparks became the first teenage victor of American Idol at the end of the show's 6th season. Many fans speculated she may head in the direction of contemporary Christian music when she began recording. However, her first, self-titled solo album was firmly in the pop vein and generated three top 10 pop singles. She continued the momentum in 2009 with her #7 charting second album and its top 10 smash title song "Battlefield." Jordin Sparks' third solo album Right Here Right Now was not released until 2015 with disappointing results. Jordin Sparks earned a Grammy Award nomination in 2009 for Best Pop Collaboration with Chris Brown on "No Air."

Top pop hit singles:

06
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6. Fantasia

Fantasia
Fantasia. Photo by Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Fantasia Barrino, who performs simply as Fantasia, is widely recognized as delivering one of the most powerful performances ever on American Idol with the Porgy and Bess standard "Summertime."  Her debut album Free Yourself earned three Grammy Award nominations. Her third and fourth studio albums were #2 charting releases in 2010 and 2013. Fantasia has reached the top 40 on the R&B singles chart 13 times. She has earned 11 Grammy Award nominations and won Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 2011 for "Bittersweet."

Top pop hit singles:

  • "I Believe - #1 - 2004
  • "Truth Is" - #21 - 2004
  • "When I See U" - #32 - 2007
07
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4. Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert. Photo by Don Arnold / WireImage

Arguably no other American Idol contestant has generated the kind of intensive press interest that has followed season eight's runner-up Adam Lambert. His music has done well on the charts with his first album  placing #3 on the album chart and the second Trespassing going all the way to #1. 2015's third studio album The Original High opened at #3 on the chart and included the top 20 mainstream and adult pop radio hit "Ghost Town." Adam Lambert earned a Grammy Award nomination in 2011 for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance with "Whataya Want From Me."

Top pop hit singles:

  • "Whataya Want From Me - #10 - 2010
  • "Mad World" - #19 - 2009
  • "If I Had You" - #30 - 2010
  • "Time for Miracles" - #50 - 2009
08
of 10

3. Chris Daughtry

Chris Daughtry
Chris Daughtry. Photo by John Lamparski / Getty Images

After finishing #4 in the fifth season of American Idol behind Taylor Hicks, Chris Daughtry's career headed for the stratosphere when he put together his own band and the album Daughtry became one of the biggest rock debuts of all time. Four studio albums by the group have reached the top 10 on the album chart. The first two were certified platinum for sales and the third was certified gold. The group Daughtry have reached the top 20 on the adult pop radio chart 14 times. Nine of those songs have reached the top 10 and four went all the way to #1. Daughtry have earned four Grammy Award nominations.

Top pop hit singles:

09
of 10

2. Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood. Photo by Jo Hale / Redferns

Shortly after winning the fourth season of American Idol, Carrie Underwood quickly turned in a country music direction. She has unleashed thirteen #1 country singles while still managing to reach the pop top 40 nineteen times. Carrie Underwood's five studio albums have all reached #2 or #1 on the album chart. The first four are all certified platinum for sales. Carrie Underwood won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist and has since won six more times among twelve nominations.

Top pop hit singles:

  • "Inside Your Heaven" - #1 - 2005
  • "Before He Cheats" - #8 - 2006
  • "Cowboy Casanova" - #11 - 2009
  • "So Small" - #17 - 2007
  • "Good Girl" - #18 - 2012
  • "Last Name" - #19 - 2008
  • "Blown Away" - #20 - 2012
  • "Jesus Take the Wheel" - #20 - 2005
10
of 10

1. Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson. Photo by Jo Hale / Redferns

The first American Idol winner is still the most successful among pop music fans. She has reached the pop top 40 seventeen times and eleven of those songs have gone to the top 10 Four of them have gone all the way to #1. All seven of Kelly Clarkson's studio albums have reached the top 5 on the album chart. Six of them have been certified platinum. Kelly Clarkson has earned twelve Grammy Award nominations and won three including Best Pop Vocal Album twice.

Top pop hit singles:

 

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Lamb, Bill. "Top 10 American Idol Alumni." ThoughtCo, Jun. 29, 2016, thoughtco.com/top-american-idol-alumni-4058882. Lamb, Bill. (2016, June 29). Top 10 American Idol Alumni. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/top-american-idol-alumni-4058882 Lamb, Bill. "Top 10 American Idol Alumni." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/top-american-idol-alumni-4058882 (accessed November 19, 2017).