How Are The 12 American Idol Winners Doing Financially?


By: Stephanie Allen-Gobert

Since its premiere in 2002, American Idol has gained a massive fan base. From 2003 to 2011, the episodes have held the number one programming slot on television. The idea behind the hit show is simple: it’s a talent contest that is searching for the next American music superstar. The winner gets a recording contract and goes on tour. In the show’s twelve year history, how many of the winners have had that dreamed fulfilled? Below is a list of the show’s winners, their net-worth, and their album sales, so you can decide if you want to be/audition to be America’s next top idol?

1. Candice Glover (2013): Glover has an estimated net worth of $1 million. She has auditioned three times before being accepted onto the show. She has wowed audiences with her bluesy cover of the Cure’s Lovesong, which was lauded as one of the best performances in American Idol history. Her coronation song, I am Beautiful peaked on the R&B charts at number 33. Her album, Music Speaks, had its released pushed back twice, but was finally released in February 2014, and has sold 19,000 copies thus far.

2. Kris Allen (2009): Net worth; $5 million. He self-released an album in 2007, Brand New Shoes, which sold 600 copies. However, his debut album post-Idol, Kris Allen, sold 346,000 copies and reached number eleven on the charts.

3. Lee DeWyze (2010): $2.5 million. He released two albums from WuLi records, So I’m Told and Slumberland (which sold 17,000 copies), before his idol win. However, his indie rock sound found a much larger audience with 2010’s Live It Up, his post-idol debut selling 153,000 copies. Thanks to the fame gained from American Idol, WuLi released another album of previously unreleased material, What Once Was, in 2012. He also won the Male Reality/Variety Star of the Year award from the Teen Choice Award in 2010.

4. Scott McCreery (2011): $3 million. He had his coronation song, I Love You this Big debut on the charts at #32, making it one of the highest debuts in American Idol’s history, selling 171,404 units in its first week the song became certified gold back in 2011. He’s since released three albums, which one reached platinum, one reached gold, and his latest release See You Tonight (2013) has sold 219,000 copies thus far.

5. Ruben Studdard (2003): $3 million. He has earned a Grammy Nomination the same year he won American Idol. He’s released 5 albums; Soulful in 2003 went platinum, I Need An Angel (gospel oriented) sold 483,000 copies. He has also segued into acting with roles in the revival of Ain’t Misbehaving, the soundtrack of which was nominated for the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy in 2010.

6. Taylor Hicks (2006): $3.3 million. Like some of the other idol winners, Hicks had an established music career before his 2006 win. He acted in Grease on Broadway in 2009 and was the first American Idol winner to get a Vegas Residency, starting at Bally’s in 2012, and moving to the Paris Las Vegas in 2013 for more space.

7. Phillip Phillips (2012): $3.5 million. His coronation song, Home is the best selling of all the American Idol coronation songs, while his debut album, 2012’s The World from the Side of the Moon, reached platinum. His single Home has been nominated for a best song award from the World Music Awards, the results of which are pending.

8. David Cook (2008): $5 million. He has nabbed an endorsement deal with Sketchers. His first post-idol album went platinum, selling 1,500,000 copies, while his second album has only sold 130,000 copies.

9. Fantasia Barrino (2004): $5 million. She has received three Grammy nominations for her first album. She has won Vibe’s “Voice of the Year’ in 2005, and her coronation song, ‘I believe’ won both the top selling R&B/Hip Hop single of 2004 as well as the Top Selling Single of 2004 from Billboard top 100.Her first album was a platinum release, and her second album, was a gold release. She’s also had successful turns on Broadway, as well as wrote her own biography, and starred as herself in the Lifetime adaptation of the book.

10. Jordin Sparks (2007): $8 million. She was nominated for the Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Grammy, and was the third highest selling Idol contestant single. Her single, Battlefield, reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the first American Idol winner to have all of their first five singles reach the top 20 on the charts. She is also busy acting. Aside from acting, she has two perfumes.

11. Kelly Clarkson (2002): $29 million. Her first single, A Moment Like This, had the quickest leap to the number one spot on the Billboard 100 Music, breaking a record held by the Beatles for the previous 30-odd years. She’s had 91 #1 hits, eleven of which reached the number one spot internationally. She’s the only artist to win the Best Pop Vocal Album twice. All of her albums have been platinum sellers.

12. Carrie Underwood (2005): $60 million. She is the most successful of the American Idol winners, with her country-pop musical style. Her debut album was a 7x platinum hit, making it the biggest American Idol debut album yet released. She’s won six Grammy awards, as well as numerous Billboard Music, Academy of Country Music and American Music awards.



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