15 Richest American Idol Contestants: A Net Worth Ranking
Since its inception in 2002, American Idol has catalyzed some of the most extraordinary success stories in the music industry.
From pop sensations to country crooners, the American Idol stage has witnessed the meteoric rise of some of today’s brightest stars.
But with fame comes both fortune and fizzle. Only some Idol contestants could sustain their initial spark and transform it into an enduring blaze of success.
So, who are the true champions of this iconic singing competition, still basking in the glory and wealth they earned from the show?
Let’s delve into the lives and careers of 15 American Idol contestants who have earned their place in the limelight and amassed substantial fortunes.
1. Carrie Underwood – $140 Million Net Worth
Hailing from the small town of Muskogee, Oklahoma, Carrie Underwood burst onto the scene during the fourth season of American Idol, conquering the competition and paving her path to stardom.
The world soon resonated with the 40-year-old singer’s chart-toppers, from “Inside Your Heaven” to the soul-stirring “Jesus Take The Wheel” and the iconic “Before He Cheats.”
Carrie Underwood is recognized as the most financially successful American Idol alum with a $140 million net worth (Credit: Udo Salters / Startraksphoto)
She’s sold over 85 million records worldwide and earned an impressive collection of accolades, including eight Grammys, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and an outstanding 17 American Music Awards.
Her achievements include five Guinness World Records, a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, and a coveted spot at the Grand Ole Opry.
But Carrie’s talents go beyond music. She’s a successful entrepreneur with her fitness clothing line, CALIA, and bestselling books including “Find Your Path.”
Forbes recognizes Carrie Underwood as the most financially successful American Idol alum, with a staggering net worth of $140 million.
2. Kelly Clarkson – $45 Million Net Worth
Kelly Clarkson ranks second on our list of the wealthiest American Idol contestants, boasting of an impressive net worth of $45 million.
The 41-year-old debuted on the first season of American Idol, becoming an instant fan favorite. But it’s not just that American Idol made Kelly; she also made the show. In a historic victory, she emerged as the first-ever American Idol winner.
Kelly Clarkson emerged as the first American Idol winner, and she has an impressive net worth of $45 million (Credit: Roger Wong / INSTARimages)
In 2002, her debut single, “A Moment Like This,” quickly soared to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making it the best-selling single. Hits like “Since U Been Gone,” “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” and “Because Of You” solidified her status as a music sensation.
With 11 top-ten singles, three Grammy Awards, four American Music Awards, and a Hollywood Walk of Fame star, Kelly Clarkson’s impact on the music industry is undeniable.
Going beyond singing, Kelly ventured into the world of television, serving as a judge on NBC’s The Voice and hosting her hit talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show, earning five Daytime Emmy Awards.
3. Adam Lambert – $45 Million Net Worth
While Adam Lambert secured the runner-up position on the eighth season of the show, he undeniably holds the top spot in the hearts of fans across the globe.
In 2009, he released his first album, “For Your Entertainment,” which debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard chart. His second album, “Trespassing,” made history in 2012 by claiming the number-one spot, establishing him as the first openly gay artist to achieve this milestone.
Adam Lambert was a runner-up on the eighth season of American Idol, and he has amassed a net worth of $45 million (Credit: PA Images / INSTARimages)
The 41-year-old has shared the stage with the iconic rock band Queen, collaborating as their lead vocalist since 2011 and participating in multiple worldwide tours.
With a remarkable net worth of $45 million, Adam Lambert is a vocal powerhouse and a humanitarian advocate for social change.
He founded the non-profit Feel Something Foundation, dedicated to human rights activism, with a strong focus on supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, ending homelessness, raising awareness about mental health, and preventing suicide.
4. Jennifer Hudson – $30 Million Net Worth
Jennifer Hudson debuted on season three of the show and may have come in seventh place, but her incredible voice left an indelible mark on fans worldwide.
Not winning the season didn’t slow her down one bit. The 42-year-old’s self-titled debut album achieved gold in no time, setting the stage for an extraordinary career.
Jennifer Hudson debuted on the third season of American Idol, and she has a net worth of $30 million (Credit: Janet Mayer / Startraksphoto / Cover Images)
She had an exceptional start in acting, landing the starring role of Effie White in the acclaimed film Dreamgirls, which led to a flourishing acting career with roles in Sex and the City, The Secret Life of Bees, Winnie Mandela, and the TV series Empire.
Not content with just the silver screen, Jennifer graced the Broadway stage in The Color Purple and released two subsequent albums, “I Remember” and “JHUD,” both of which found their place on the Billboard charts.
On top of that, Jennifer ventured into daytime television, hosting her talk show, The Jennifer Hudson Show and all these accomplishments have brought her a net worth of $30 million.
5. Katharine McPhee – $14 Million Net Worth
Katharine McPhee graced the American Idol stage during the fifth season, securing the runner-up title. While she might not have won the competition, she gained something even more valuable: singer-songwriter fame.
Her debut song, “Over It,” swiftly climbed the charts and earned a gold certification. It was just the beginning of her musical journey, with her second album, “Unbroken,” also making its mark on the Billboard charts.
Katharine McPhee was a runner-up on the fifth season of American Idol, and she has a net worth of $14 million (Credit: ROGER WONG / INSTARimages / Cover Images)
However, the 39-year-old singer-songwriter isn’t confined to the world of music. She seamlessly transitioned into acting, with roles in hit movies like The House Bunny and Shark Night 3D.
Her fame continued to rise with her involvement in the CBS series Scorpion and her portrayal of New York millionaire Robert Durst’s murdered wife, Kathie, in the hit movie The Lost Wife of Robert Durst.
Katharine’s versatile talents, which include singing, songwriting, and acting, have brought her an astounding net worth of $14 million, securing her a well-deserved spot among the most successful American Idol contestants.
6. Jordin Sparks – $8 Million Net Worth
At 17, Jordin Sparks skyrocketed to fame by winning the hearts of millions as the champion of the sixth season of American Idol in 2007. Her success not only made her an American Idol but also made her the youngest winner in the show’s history.
In the same year of her victory, the 33-year-old released her self-titled debut album, which promptly achieved platinum status. The album had big hits like “Tattoo” and her collaboration with Chris Brown, “No Air,” which clinched Jordin her very first Grammy Award.
Jordin Sparks is the youngest American Idol winner in history, and she has a net worth of $8 million (Credit: Robert Bell / INSTARimages)
The accolades didn’t stop there. Jordin’s music resonated across award ceremonies, earning her the NAACP Image Award, a BET Award, a People’s Choice Award, and a well-deserved spot on VH1’s list of the 100 Greatest Women in Music.
However, fame came early, and in 2012, Jordin took a brief music hiatus. She returned with a fresh perspective and a new label, eventually releasing her album “Right Here Right Now” five years later.
Her versatility extended beyond music when she appeared on the Lifetime reality TV show Jordin Sparks: A Baby Story, adding to her impressive net worth of $8 million.
7. Chris Daughtry – $8 Million Net Worth
Hailing from the small town of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, Chris Daughtry embarked on his journey to stardom during the fifth season of American Idol.
While the 43-year-old may have secured the fourth position on the show, his career swiftly soared to great success, earning him the third-highest record sales among American Idol alums, trailing only behind the iconic names of Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.
Chris Daughtry debuted on the fifth season of American Idol, and he has a net worth of $8 million (Credit: Faye’s Vision / Cover Images)
In the wake of his American Idol journey, Chris released his self-titled album “Daughtry,” which was met with instant acclaim. This debut soared to number one on the Billboard Chart nine weeks following its release.
With a voice that resonated with millions, Chris didn’t stop at a solo career. He formed the popular band “Daughtry,” which enjoyed remarkable success and numerous collaborations.
The band’s accomplishments include several American Music Awards and a consistent pattern of releasing albums every three years or less. This ongoing success has secured Chris Daughtry with a remarkable net worth of $8 million.
8. Lauren Daigle – $6 Million Net Worth
Lauren Daigle may not have made it far on her two seasons of American Idol. Still, her journey took a different turn towards great success in contemporary Christian music.
The 32-year-old signed with Centricity Music and dropped her debut album, “How Can It Be,” in 2015, which soared to the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Christian Albums chart and even earned Platinum certification.
Lauren Daigle has established herself as a Christian music sensation and amassed a net worth of $6 million (Credit: Xavier Collin / Image Press Agency / ABACA / INSTARimages / Cover Images)
Her third album, “Look Up Child,” entered the scene in 2018, debuting at No. 3 on the U.S. Billboard 200. It also marked a significant milestone by becoming one of the highest-charting Christian albums on the Billboard 200 by a female artist in over two decades.
Lauren’s music journey hit a high note with her single “You Say,” which made waves on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and set a record by staying at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart for an impressive 129 weeks.
Her talent and dedication have earned her two Grammy Awards, seven GMA Dove Awards, five Billboard Music Awards, and two American Music Awards.
With four No. 1 singles on Billboard Christian Airplay and Hot Christian Songs charts, Lauren Daigle has established herself as a Christian music sensation with a net worth of $6 million.
9. Elliott Yamin – $6 Million Net Worth
Elliott Yamin didn’t claim the title of American Idol, but his powerful voice and prolific music career have continued to captivate audiences nationwide.
Since his appearance on the show, he has embarked on an impressive musical journey, amassing a net worth of $6 million while sustaining a successful music career.
Elliott Yamin debuted on the fifth season of American Idol, and he has a $6 million net worth (Credit: Milla Cochran / Startraksphoto)
In 2007, the 45-year-old unleashed “Wait For You,” a standout single from his self-titled album. The album made an impressive debut, selling over 90,439 copies in its first week and securing the No. 3 spot on Billboard’s Top 40 Albums chart.
He treated fans to a 10-track collection in 2020, showcasing his vocal growth, and in 2021, he released a holiday single, “This Christmas,” featuring Lance Rodriguez.
Outside the music scene, Elliott has a busy life, including being a loving father to his young daughter, who often takes the spotlight on his Instagram page. As a person with diabetes, he’s also an active advocate for causes, raising awareness and supporting others living with diabetes.
10. Kellie Pickler – $4 Million Net Worth
Kellie Pickler first gained national attention as a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol, securing the sixth-place position.
Like other infectious personalities among Idol winners, the 37-year-old seized the opportunity her platform provided to build an impressive career. She signed with 19 Recordings and BNA Records as a recording artist in 2006.
Kellie Pickler ranked sixth on the fifth season of American Idol, and she has a $4 million net worth (Credit: Sara De Boer / Startraksphoto)
Her debut album, “Small Town Girl,” hit the shelves later that year and sold over 900,000 copies. Kellie followed her debut with a self-titled second album in 2008, generating four more singles that solidified her presence in the country music scene.
Aside from her music career, Kellie achieved notable success on television, culminating in her impressive net worth of $4 million.
In 2013, she and her partner, Derek Hough, claimed victory in the sixteenth season of Dancing with the Stars. From 2017 to 2019, Kellie co-hosted the nationally syndicated daytime TV talk show Pickler & Ben with comedian Ben Aaron. She also became a reality TV star with her CMT show, I Love Kellie Pickler, which premiered in 2015.
11. Clay Aiken – $4 Million Net Worth
Clay Aiken rose to fame as the runner-up on the second season of American Idol.
Following his journey on the show, the 44-year-old achieved enormous success in music, with his debut album “Measure of a Man” going multi-platinum and cementing his status as a pop superstar.
Clay Aiken was a runner-up on the second season of American Idol, and he has a net worth of $4 million (Credit: Adam Nemser / Startraksphoto)
He is the fourth highest-selling American Idol contestant, with over five million album sales spanning six studio albums. His memoir, “Learning to Sing,” also soared to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List.
Clay delved into television with a Christmas special and even graced the Broadway stage with a role in Spamalot. He also appeared on several TV shows and competed in the fifth season of The Celebrity Apprentice, finishing as the runner-up.
Venturing into politics, he ran for the United States House of Representatives in North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district in 2014. In 2022, he made another attempt, this time in North Carolina’s 4th congressional district, though he faced disappointment in the primary.
Despite his political endeavors, a significant portion of Clay Aiken’s wealth, amounting to $4 million, is attributed to the albums he’s sold throughout his impressive career.
12. Scotty McCreery – $4 Million Net Worth
Scotty McCreery’s journey to stardom began in May 2011 when he clinched the title of American Idol during the show’s tenth season.
His career took off with his debut studio album, “Clear as Day,” which hit the shelves in October 2011, becoming certified as platinum. Tracks like “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble with Girls” became country chart-toppers.
Scotty McCreery won the title of American Idol on its tenth season, and he has amassed a net worth of $4 million (Credit: PA Images / INSTARimages)
The 30-year-old also released “Christmas with Scotty McCreery” in October 2012, which received a certified gold rating. In October 2013, he released his third album, “See You Tonight,” with its title track becoming his first top-ten single on Billboard’s Country charts.
In July 2017, Scotty set a significant record with his single “Five More Minutes,” making him the first country music artist in Country Aircheck/Media Base history to chart a song without the backing of a record label.
Scotty went beyond music, having served as an executive producer for the second Hallmark Movies & Mysteries television movie, “Five More Minutes: Moments Like These,” inspired by his 2018 hit “Five More Minutes.”
With his unshakable country music career, tour commitments, and ventures into television and film, Scotty McCreery has amassed a significant net worth of $4 million.
13. Todrick Hall – $4 Million Net Worth
With an impressive net worth of $4 million, Todrick Hall gained national attention as a contestant on the ninth season of “American Idol.”
In his music career, the 38-year-old has released four studio albums, including “Straight Outta Oz” in 2016 and “Forbidden” in 2018. He also responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with the EP “Quarantine Queen” in 2020, featuring the hit “Mask, Gloves, Soap, Scrub.”
Todrick Hall debuted on the ninth season of American Idol, and he has a net worth of $4 million (Credit: Ian West / PA Images / INSTARimages)
Following his stint in the singing competition, Todrick entered digital media, gaining fame on YouTube by creating original songs, parodies, and humorous skits. His creative video-making process inspired an MTV documentary series called “Todrick.”
His involvement in the reality competition world expanded as he transitioned to a resident choreographer and an occasional judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, starting with season eight.
In addition to his television ventures, Todrick’s career extended to the theater stage. He assumed the role of Lola in Kinky Boots on Broadway from 2016 to 2017. Later, in 2017, he took on the part of Billy Flynn in the Broadway and West End productions of Chicago.
14. Kris Allen – $3.5 Million Net Worth
Kris Allen rose to fame as the winner of the eighth season of American Idol, where he triumphed over Adam Lambert.
Before his stint on the show, the 38-year-old self-released the album “Brand New Shoes” in 2007. His post-Idol journey included chart-topping hits like “No Boundaries” and his version of “Heartless,” reaching the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100.
Kris Allen won the title of American Idol on its eighth season, and he has a net worth of $3.5 million (Credit: INFevents)
Kris’ self-titled album, released in November 2009, debuted at number 11 on the U.S. Billboard 200. The album’s lead single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” peaked at 18 in the U.S., with over 1.7 million sales.
Despite a car accident in 2012 that could have derailed his career, Kris made a triumphant return. He released his fifth studio album, “Letting You In,” in March 2016. In 2018, he joined the American Idol Live! Tour as a special guest and released a new single, “When All The Stars Have Died.”
Kris continues to thrive in music, touring in 2021 with David Cook, releasing new songs, and boasting of a $3.5 million net worth, firmly establishing his success among American Idol alumni.
15. Ruben Studdard – $3 Million Net Worth
Ruben Studdard made history by winning the second American Idol season with his silky voice and incredible talent, surpassing Clay Aiken.
After his American Idol victory, the 45-year-old soared in his career with seven studio albums, including notable hits like “Flying Without Wings,” “Sorry 2004,” and “Change Me,” and his platinum-selling debut album “Soulful” and top-selling gospel follow-up “I Need an Angel.”
Ruben Studdard was the second winner of American Idol, and he has amassed a net worth of $3 million (Credit: Vince Flores / Startraksphoto)
Ruben paid tribute to the legendary Luther Vandross with the album “Ruben Sings Luther” in 2018. The release was followed by the “Always & Forever” national tour, where he celebrated the timeless music of Luther Vandross.
In a unique twist, Ruben’s journey also led him to television, participating in the fifteenth season of The Biggest Loser.
He further expanded his horizons by making his Broadway debut in December 2018 in Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show, contributing to his impressive net worth of $3 million.