‘American Idol’ Winners Who Struck Gold: See the Richest Post-Idol Contestants

by Leanne Stahulak
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Last month, Season 20 of “American Idol” wrapped up with Noah Thompson crowned the winner. He joins the ranks of several other successful artists who got their start through the singing competition.

And while success can be measured in a variety of ways, we want to break down which “American Idol” winners earned the most cash after their big win. Some winners rake in millions every month, while others keep a lower profile. Looper compiled a list of the first 15 winners and their rough net worth. We don’t have a record for the most recent five winners because their success is relatively fresh.

Let’s dive into it.

$1 Million ‘American Idol’ Winners

At the bottom of the list, we have the “American Idol” winners who have clocked in around one million dollars since their debut on the show.

Back in 2015, Nick Fradiana won “American Idol” Season 14. He released his solo debut album, “Hurricane,” shortly afterward. But he soon decided to leave mainstream music behind and focus on indie artistry. The “Idol” winners also starred on Broadway, appearing in “A Bronx Tale” in 2019.

Next up we have Candice Glover, who won Season 12 of the singing competition in 2013. A year later, she released “Music Speaks,” her only album to date. Since then, Glover has built her net worth toward $1 million by acting. She’s appeared on both Broadway (“Home For The Holidays”) and television (“Underground” and “GRITS: Girls Raised in the South”).

“American Idol” Season 9 winner Lee DeWyze also belongs to the million-dollar net worth club. He’s continued making a ton of music since his win in 2010, cranking out seven full-length studio albums. Plus more than a dozen singles and EPs. And better yer, a lot of his music has been used in major TV dramas. These include “The Walking Dead,” “Shameless,” “Nashville,” “Suits,” and “Elementary.”

Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson has focused on his music as well. He fronts the band Caleb Johnson & the Ramblin’ Saints and has toured with KISS and Black Stone Cherry. The “Idol” winner, worth $1 million, has also worked with Led Zeppelin drummer Jason Bonham.

Fantasia Barrino nailed her debut album after winning “American Idol” Season 3 back in 2004. Her first album scored several GRAMMY nominations, and her third album snagged a win. She’s done Broadway, television, and film work to earn a $1 million net worth.

Winners Worth $2 to $8 Million

The Broadway trend continues with Taylor Hicks, who won “American Idol” Season 5. He also became the first “Idol” winner to land a Las Vegas residency, adding to his $2 million net worth.

Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard, worth about $3 million, came out of the competition with a bang, becoming a platinum-selling artist. He’s continued making music and acting since then, appearing in various movies and Broadway shows.

Kris Allen, who won “American Idol” Season 8 over fan-favorite Adam Lambert, had a huge hit with “Live Like We’re Dying” in 2009. He’s produced a few more albums in the meantime, but not much since 2018. He still managed to earn $3.5 million, though.

Country star Scotty McCreery shocked fans with his deep voice and young age when he won Season 10. But it was less shocking when his debut album went platinum and his music since then has been a huge success. He even wrote and produced his own Hallmark movie based on one of his songs. Since 2011, he amassed a $4 million net worth.

Season 7 winner David Cook likes to tour every year, sometimes with fellow “American Idol” star Kris Allen. The rock singer has produced four full-length albums since 2008 and starred in “Kinky Boots” on Broadway. His net worth is about $5 million.

Phillip Phillips, who won Season 11, produced one of the biggest songs in “Idol” history. His coronation single “Home” became the best-selling debut song ever on the show. It’s been used in ad campaigns by the 2012 Olympics and former president Barack Obama. Since then, he released a ton of new music and earned $5.2 million.

Jordin Sparks, who tied with Scotty McCreery for the youngest winner at age 17, made it big after her Season 6 win. She produced four albums, toured extensively, and opened for Birtney Spears and the Jonas Brothers. She’s also done a ton of acting since then, appearing in Hallmark films and the “Rugrats” reboot. Her net worth sits at a comfortable $8 million.

The Two Richest Winners in ‘American Idol’ History

It comes as no surprise that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are the two richest “American Idol” winners in the history of the show. Clarkson won the first-ever season, with her music career taking off in the last 20 years. She put out more than a dozen albums and reigned at the top of tons of music charts. She even has her own talk show, “The Kelly Clarkson Show,” which has won two Emmys. And let’s not forget Clarkson’s gig on “The Voice” as a four-time winning coach. All in all, she amassed an incredible $45 million.

Which is less than half of what Carrie Underwood has made. The Season 4 “American Idol” winner has won awards in various categories, broken music records, and put out some of the best music of the last 20 years. She still tours and makes music, while also making it big in advertising. Underwood has partnered with Target, Skechers, Vitamin Water, Olay, and several others. And she’s the only “American Idol” winner to earn nine figures, with a whopping $140 million net worth.

Will Noah Thompson’s success ever take him to such heights? We’ll have to wait and find out.

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