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34 Most Successful ‘American Idol’ Contestants

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Fans were dismayed when “American Idol” seemed like it was ending for good in April 2016 after a 15-season run on Fox. However, the show will return on Sunday, March 11, on a new network — ABC — and with a new panel of “American Idol” judges, including Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

In honor of the new season, it’s time to find out who are the biggest “Idol” success stories of all time.

Click through to find out what reality TV stars from the 2000s are doing now.

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0. James Durbin

Net worth: $600,000

Singer, songwriter and guitarist James Durbin placed fourth on the 10th season of “American Idol.” After the show, he continued to tour alongside major musical acts such as Buckcherry, Evanescence, Drowning Pool and Steel Panther, as well as his own headlining shows. In March 2017, Durbin replaced Seann Nicols as the lead singer of Quiet Riot.

Click through to see how “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest keeps his income growing.

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-1. Danny Gokey

Net worth: $600,000

Fans remember Season 8’s Danny Gokey for his heartbreaking backstory: The singer lost his wife just a month before his “Idol” audition. Gokey went on to place third on the show and has gone on to a successful musical career. He has been nominated for an American Country Music Award and a Grammy, and he signed a new recording contract with Capitol Christian Music Group in February 2018, Variety reported.

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-2. William Hung

Net worth: $600,000

William Hung didn’t make it past the audition round of “American Idol,” but his rendition of “She Bangs” on the third season led him to achieve viral success. Hung appeared on-screen a couple of times after the show, including a cameo on “Arrested Development.” He currently hosts a podcast that features people who turned failures into success, and he works as a professional motivational speaker.

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-3. Blake Lewis

Net worth: $600,000

Blake Lewis finished second on Season 6 of “Idol,” losing to Jordin Sparks in the final round. Lewis went on to release the album “Audio Day Dream,” which includes the single “Heartbreak on Vinyl.” The song reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart. His second album, “Portrait of a Chameleon,” was released in 2014. Lewis released a live album in December 2017 and continues to tour and perform.

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-4. Crystal Bowersox

Net worth: $600,000

Folk-rock singer Crystal Bowersox was the runner-up on Season 9 of “American Idol.” Since then, she has performed with musical greats such as Joe Cocker, Harry Connick Jr. and Alanis Morissette. Bowersox released the album “Alive” in 2017 and currently is on tour throughout the U.S.

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-5. Justin Guarini

Net worth: $700,000

Justin Guarini finished second to Kelly Clarkson during the first season of “American Idol.” Despite his movie career bombing with “From Justin to Kelly,” he went on to release two albums, worked as a TV host for TV Guide Network and starred in numerous Broadway productions, including “American Idiot,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “Wicked.” Guarini recently appeared as “Lil’ Sweet” in the memorable Diet Dr. Pepper TV commercials.

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-6. Constantine Maroulis

Net worth: $750,000

Constantine Maroulis placed sixth on Season 4 of “American Idol.” Maroulis had been part of a touring production of “Rent” before doing the show, and he returned to his musical theater roots after his run ended. He has starred in Broadway productions of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (2006), “The Wedding Singer” (2006), “Jekyll & Hyde” (2013) and “Rock of Ages” (2009-10 and 2014). Maroulis recently has returned to music and will release an album in early 2018, according to his website.

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-7. Lauren Alaina

Net worth: $800,000

Lauren Alaina finished second to Scotty McCreery on Season 10 of “American Idol,” but she’s become a successful country star despite the loss. Her albums “Wildflower” and “Road Less Traveled” reached No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and her song “What Ifs” reached No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart. Alaina was nominated for the 2017 CMA New Artist of the Year award and received the CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year. She currently is on tour throughout the U.S. with Cole Swindell.

At this rate, it won’t be long before she’s one of the richest country stars.

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-8. Ace Young

Net worth: $1 million

Ace Young placed seventh on “American Idol” Season 5, and though his singing career fizzled after the show, he has found success as a songwriter. Young earned a Grammy nomination for writing the song “It’s Not Over” for fellow “Idol” alum Chris Daughtry. He also appeared on Broadway in “Grease” (2008-2009) and “Hair” (2010). In 2013 he married Diana DeGarmo, the “Idol” runner-up in Season 3.

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-9. Tamyra Gray

Net worth: $1 million

Tamyra Gray placed fourth on Season 1 of “American Idol” and has become a star on Broadway since the show ended. Gray performed in “Bombay Dreams” from 2004 to 2005, and in “Rent” in 2007. In January 2018, she joined the cast of “Once on this Island.”

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-10. Haley Reinhart

Net worth: $1.5 million

Haley Reinhart appeared on Season 10 of “Idol” and came in third place. In 2012, she released her debut album, “Listen Up!,” which reached No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart. In 2015, her single “Can’t Help Falling in Love” hit No. 11 on Spotify’s global viral chart and amassed over 57 million streams on the platform, according to her website. Reinhart wrapped up an international tour with Postmodern Jukebox in December 2017.

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-11. Diana DeGarmo

Net worth: $1.5 million

Diana DeGarmo was runner-up on Season 3 of the show and used her exposure to launch a successful singing and acting career. Her single “Dreams” reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and she has starred on Broadway in “Hairspray” (2006) and “Hair” (2010). DeGarmo also starred as Dorothy in the first national tour of “Oz.”

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-12. Bo Bice

Net worth: $1.5 million

Bo Bice lost to Carrie Underwood during Season 4 of “American Idol,” but his music career continued. Bice released four albums and currently is the lead singer for Blood Sweat & Tears. He also has appeared in commercials for Moe’s Southwest Grill and Ford Motor Co.

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-13. Kimberley Locke

Net worth: $1.5 million

Kimberley Locke placed third on the second season of “Idol” and kept singing after the show ended. Locke has had two albums on the Billboard Hot 200 chart and three No. 1 singles on the Dance Club Songs chart. In addition to singing, Locke works as a life coach and vocal coach and has her own artist consulting company.

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-14. Josh Gracin

Net worth: $2 million

U.S. Marine Josh Gracin placed fourth on the second season of “American Idol” and continued to make music after completing his military service. His self-titled debut album was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2005, and he released two more full albums and a six-track album, “Nothin’ Like Us, Pt. 1,” in 2017. Gracin currently is on a U.S. tour.

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-15. Taylor Hicks

Net worth: $2 million

Taylor Hicks was the “American Idol” winner in 2006 during the show’s fifth season. His debut single, “Do I Make You Proud,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and he has had two albums on the Billboard 200 chart. Hicks performed Las Vegas residencies in 2012 and 2013. In 2017, he released his first single in seven years, “Six Strings and Diamond Rings.”

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-16. Mandisa

Net worth: $3 million

Mandisa finished in ninth place during Season 5 of “American Idol” and was infamously mocked by judge Simon Cowell about her weight during her time on the show. But the singer put that mocking in the past and has earned five Grammy nominations, winning once, since getting voted off. Her latest album, “Out of the Dark,” was released in 2017, and she currently is on a U.S. tour.

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-17. Fantasia

Net worth: $3 million

The singing career of Season 3 winner Fantasia is going strong. She has been nominated for 12 Grammys and won one. Fantasia will perform at the 2018 Jazz in the Gardens festival in the Miami area in March and the ESSENCE Festival 2018 in New Orleans in July.

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-18. Ruben Studdard

Net worth: $3 million

Ruben Studdard, aka “The Velvet Teddy Bear,” beat out Clay Aiken to win the second season of “American Idol.” Studdard has released six albums and will release his seventh, “Ruben Sings Luther,” a tribute to Luther Vandross, in March 2018. He also will do a 22-city tour in support of the album beginning in April 2018.

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-19. Phillip Phillips

Net worth: $3.5 million

Phillip Phillips won “American Idol” in Season 11, but it wasn’t smooth sailing from there. In January 2015, Phillips sued the show’s production company, stating the contracts he had to sign were “oppressive” and that he was manipulated into taking jobs he did not want. During the lawsuit, which didn’t settle until 2017, Phillips could not record new music. Once the lawsuit was behind him, Phillips released his third album, “Collateral,” in January 2018. He currently is on “The Magnetic Tour” in the United States and Canada.

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-20. Kris Allen

Net worth: $3.5 million

Kris Allen beat Adam Lambert to take first place on Season 9 of “Idol.” After his win, Allen put out four pop-heavy albums, but a car accident in 2012 nearly derailed his musical career. Fortunately, he was able to relearn how to play the guitar, and released his fifth album, “Letting You In,” in 2016. He also released a Christmas album that year. Though Allen is not currently on tour, he is scheduled to perform one show in Minnesota in April 2018.

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-21. Scotty McCreery

Net worth: $4 million

Country star Scotty McCreery got his start on “American Idol,” winning Season 10. His debut album, “Clear as Day,” is certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and he’s had five songs on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, including his current single, “Five More Minutes.” He is on a U.S. tour.

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-22. David Cook

Net worth: $5 million

Singer-songwriter David Cook auditioned for “American Idol” on a whim and ended up winning Season 7. He has put out three full albums, and he released his latest EP, “Chromance,” in February 2018. Cook will star in Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” beginning in April 2018.

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-23. David Archuleta

Net worth: $5 million

At just 16, David Archuleta advanced to the Season 7 finale and ultimately became the runner-up. His debut single, “Crush,” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and his debut self-titled album was certified gold. Archuleta has pursued acting in addition to music, and he starred in a Filipino TV series called “Nandito ako” in 2012. Archuleta released his latest album in 2017 and currently is on tour.

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-24. Kellie Pickler

Net worth: $5 million

Kellie Pickler placed fifth on Season 5 of “American Idol,” but despite not making it to the finals, she’s used her “Idol” fame to launch a wide-ranging career. Pickler has released four albums, won the mirror ball trophy on “Dancing With the Stars,” voiced an animated character in the “VeggieTales” movie, launched a home-goods line and starred in a CMT reality series. She currently co-hosts the daytime talk show “Pickler & Ben” on CMT.

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-25. Elliott Yamin

Net worth: $6 million

Elliott Yamin finished Season 5 of “American Idol” in third place, and the show catapulted him from pharmacy-counter clerk to famous singer. He has released six albums, and he most recently was featured on a song by Sanjoy in September 2017. Yamin continues to perform with the funk band Philthy.

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-26. Clay Aiken

Net worth: $7 million

Clay Aiken was the runner-up on Season 2 of the show, and while he continued to pursue singing for a decade after it ended, he later switched gears in an attempt to start a political career. In 2014, he ran for Congress, and though he did not win the race in his home state of North Carolina, he told Time in 2015 that he would consider running for office again. Aiken also has worked as a host for Bold TV.

At least he isn’t the only celebrity who has failed at trying to change their career.

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-27. Katharine McPhee

Net worth: $8 million

Since finishing in second place in Season 5 of “American Idol,” Katharine McPhee has gained success in the singing and acting worlds. On the music front, she’s released five albums and has had three singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. McPhee also has appeared on television and in film, with roles in “The House Bunny” and “Community,” and a starring role in “Smash.” She currently stars on the show “Scorpion.”

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-28. Chris Daughtry

Net worth: $10 million

Chris Daughtry ended in fourth place on “American Idol” during Season 5 and went on to become a successful rock musician. He formed the band Daughtry, and its debut self-titled album became the fastest-selling rock album in Soundscan history, Rolling Stone reported. Daughtry has been nominated for three Grammys, and three of the band’s albums have reached platinum or gold status. The band currently is on tour. Outside of his rock career, Daughtry starred as Judas in the TV movie “The Passion” and was a voice actor for the video movie “Trollz.”

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-29. Jordin Sparks

Net worth: $10 million

Jordin Sparks was only 17 when she won Season 6 of “American Idol,” making her the youngest winner in the show’s history. Her debut single, “No Air,” sold 4 million digital copies, Forbes reported. Sparks went on to release three full albums and had three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. She also has dabbled in acting. Sparks currently is a spokesperson for Lay’s potato chips on the Operation Smile campaign to raise money for an international children’s medical charity.

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-30. Adam Lambert

Net worth: $16 million

Adam Lambert’s glam-rock style made him stand out on Season 8 of “American Idol,” despite his runner-up finish. After the show, Lambert released his first album, “For Your Entertainment,” which is certified gold and featured the single “Whataya Want From Me,” which earned him a Grammy nomination. His sophomore album, “Trespassing,” went straight to No. 1 on the charts and sold 77,000 copies in its first week, Entertainment Weekly reported. And he hasn’t slowed down since. Lambert released his latest single, “Two Fux,” in June 2017 and currently is on an international tour with legendary rock band Queen.

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-31. Jennifer Hudson

Net worth: $20 million

Jennifer Hudson finished in seventh place on Season 3 of “Idol.” Her early ouster shocked fans, but Hudson bounced back quickly and now is one of the most successful people to have appeared on the show. Hudson won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for “Dreamgirls” in 2007 and has won two Grammys. Three of her albums have been in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and Hudson continues to churn out hits, with her latest single, “Burden Down,” released in December 2017.

She also joined “The Voice” for Season 13 as a judge.

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-32. Kelly Clarkson

Net worth: $28 million

In 2002, Kelly Clarkson won the first season of “American Idol,” and her star has continued to rise since. Her singles “A Moment Like This,” “My Life Would Suck Without You” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” have reached No. 1 on the charts, and her latest single, “Love So Soft,” already is certified gold. Even though “Idol” put her on the map, Clarkson has joined competitor show “The Voice” as a judge for its 14th season.

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-33. Carrie Underwood

Net worth: $85 million

Carrie Underwood earned the title of “American Idol” during Season 4 of the show. The win launched her country-pop career and has made her one of the richest country music stars. Since Underwood’s victory on “Idol,” she has racked up seven Grammy wins, sold 64 million records worldwide and has had 14 No. 1 songs on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. She also has launched her own line of activewear, Calia by Carrie Underwood. Underwood released her latest single, “The Champion,” in January 2018.

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