American Idol's 5 Biggest Success Stories of All Time

Though Fox has announced plans to end American Idol after season 15, the show will always have a place in our hearts for giving talented people a platform to become amazing artists. The same way that not every winner went on to make hit records, not every megastar who came from the show won their season. Looking at album sales, awards earned, critical praise, and other accomplishments (Oscars!), we've narrowed down the many impressive contestants to the top five most successful artists who stayed in the public eye after the show. Take a look, and let's cross our fingers that season 15, the last for American Idol, will introduce us to the most talented star of all.

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5. Adam Lambert
Getty | Chelsea Lauren

5. Adam Lambert

Season and place: Season eight, second place

Both of Adam Lambert's albums, the Grammy-nominated For Your Entertainment and Trespassing, made it into the Top 10 of the Billboard 200, with the latter reaching the No. 1 spot. He has guest-starred on several TV shows, including Glee, and is known for publicly advocating for LGBT rights. Even if his net worth wasn't $12 million (it is), he'd still make our list for being a very influential social activist. His next album, The Original High, will be released on June 12, and his new single, "Ghost Town," is out now. You go, boy.

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4. Chris Daughtry
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4. Chris Daughtry

Season and place: Season five, fourth place

Chris Daughtry formed a band shortly after his time on American Idol called Daughtry. You may have heard of them? They broke out in 2007 with a self-titled debut album, which won three American Music Awards and six Billboard Music Awards and was nominated for four Grammys. It topped Billboard's 200 chart and went quadruple platinum. After four studio albums, the band has sold a total of 23.8 million albums worldwide. They're kind of a big deal.

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3. Jennifer Hudson
Getty | Stephen Brashear

3. Jennifer Hudson

Season and place: Season three, seventh place

The fact that Hudson only finished in seventh place is a travesty, but she got the final word. She dominated award season in 2007 for her role in Dreamgirls, taking home an Oscar for her very first film role. She won a Grammy and two NAACP Image Awards for her debut album, Jennifer Hudson, in 2008. She has successfully balanced her singing career with acting, recently appearing on Empire. Her last album, JHUD, peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200. Pretty impressive.

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2. Kelly Clarkson
Getty | Kevin Mazur

2. Kelly Clarkson

Season and place: Season one, winner

Let's face it: Kelly Clarkson is the original queen of American Idol. She came in like a wrecking ball with her first single, "A Moment Like This," which became the bestselling single of the year in the US. Thanks to seven studio albums, Clarkson has won three Grammys, 12 Billboard Music Awards, and four American Music Awards, among countless other honors. She has given American Idol contestants a reason to be hopeful all these years, and she's given the rest of us a reason to forget about From Justin to Kelly.

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1. Carrie Underwood
Getty | Jason Merritt

1. Carrie Underwood

Season and place: Season four, winner

Underwood is so successful that it's easy to forget she started on American Idol. The country star has won seven Grammy Awards, 16 Billboard Music Awards, 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, and eight American Music Awards. Her debut album, Some Hearts, broke several records, becoming the fastest-selling country album of all time. Billboard even named it the No. 1 country album of the 2000s, and Time has named Underwood one of the most influential people in the world. Her net worth is reportedly between $55 million and $70 million. She's so popular that she even released a Greatest Hits: Decade #1 album last year. Need we remind you of her role in NBC's live version of The Sound of Music? This girl has it all.

Honorable Mentions
Getty | Slaven Vlasic

Honorable Mentions

Finally, hats off to Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler, Katharine McPhee, Jordin Sparks, Phillip Phillips, Clay Aiken, and the rest of the American Idol contestants who have totally slayed expectations.