American Idol is back on February 16th for season 18 and looks like there is great talent on the horizon. Host Ryan Seacrest is back for his 18th season. Judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie are all returning for their 3rd season.
Big names have emerged from the original singing competition show and will continue to do so as long as it airs. Whether the contestants have won, or they haven’t, some have become household names and made great careers for themselves. Winners or not, here are the top 5 most popular American Idol contestants.
Most Popular American Idol Contestants – Chris Daughtry
Placing fourth on the fifth season, Chris Daughtry is the only Idol contestant to have formed a successful band. Daughtry is now the third most successful contestant in terms of record sales. His self-titled debut album became the fastest selling debut rock album in Nielsen SoundScan history. The album reached number one on the Billboard Chart after nine weeks.
Daughtry has released five studio albums and sparked the hits “It’s Not Over,” “Home,” “Over You,” “September,” “No Surprise,” and more.
He has appeared on an episode of CSI: NY, performed as Judas in The Passion: Live and most recently was the runner-up on the second season of The Masked Singer.
Most Popular American Idol Contestants – Jennifer Hudson
It is surprising that Hudson did not win the third season of American Idol. She was a finalist on the season, coming in seventh.
Besides Idol, Hudson is best known for her role in Dreamgirls, for which she received an Academy Award, a SAG award, a BAFTA award, and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. She has gone on to star in other movies including Cats, Hairspray: Live, and more. Hudson has won two Grammy Awards.
She has been a coach on The Voice US and UK.
Along with three studio albums, Hudson released songs, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going,” “Spotlight,” “Where You At,” and more.
Most Popular American Idol Contestants – Adam Lambert
Although Lambert did not win, he did place second on the eighth season, after winner Kris Allen, which shocked fans and Allen. His debut album, For Your Entertainment, debuted at number three on the Billboard 200. He has been nominated for one Grammy Award.
“Whataya Want from Me,” “For Your Entertainment,” “Ghost Town,” “New Eyes,” and more are some of his most popular songs. He has released three studio albums and five EPs.
In 2014, Lambert started touring with Queen as the lead vocalist and even made a cameo in the movie, Bohemian Rhapsody.
Underwood won season 4 of American Idol, making her the first country singer to win. Her debut single, “Inside Your Heart,” made her the only country artist to debut as number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the only solo country artist to have a number one song on the Hot 100 in the 2000s. She has released 6 studio albums.
Carrie Underwood has won seven Grammy Awards, eleven Billboard Music Awards, fifteen AMAs, fourteen Academy of Country Music Awards, and so much more. Underwood has also received a Golden Globe Nomination.
Her biggest hits include “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Before He Cheats,” “The Champion,” “See You Again,” and many more.
Forbes has declared her the most successful Idol winner. Billboard named Some Hearts the number one country album of the 2000s.
The first American Idol, now 8 albums into her career, is probably the most popular Idol of all time. Clarkson has earned three Grammy Awards, three MTV VMAs, four AMAs, and two Academy of Country Music Awards. Billboard dubbed Clarkson as “one of pop music’s greatest singers.”
“Since You Been Gone,” “Breakaway,” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” and “Miss Independent” are just some of the hits that Clarkson has written over the years.
She has done voiceover for some films and currently hosts the daytime talk show, The Kelly Clarkson Show. Clarkson is returning as a coach for the 18th season of The Voice. From April to September, she will have a residency in Las Vegas called Kelly Clarkson: Invincible.
Who is your favorite Idol contestant?