Our Favorite Reality Show Singers
#2 Kelly Clarkson
Clarkson turned her win on American Idol’s inaugural season into big record sales. To date, her four studio albums have sold more than 10 million copies. She also boasts eight Top 10 hits, including “My Life Would Suck Without You,” which set the record for the largest leap in Billboard Hot 100 history when it went from No. 97 to No. 1 in one week.
#3 Clay Aiken
Aiken may have finished second to velvet teddy bear Ruben Studdard, but his multi-platinum 2003 debut album, Measure of a Man, sold 613,000 copies in its first week before spending two weeks #1 at the top of the charts. Aiken has released three other albums, launched eight tours, and even held an extended run starring as Sir Robin in Monty Python’s Spamalot on Broadway.
#5 Carrie Underwood
American Idol’s Season 4 winner took the country charts by storm, as her debut album was certified seven-times platinum. She’s also won four Grammys, eight ACM awards and five CMAs.
#6 Jennifer Hudson
Although Hudson was eliminated much earlier than expected in Season 3 of American Idol, she’s come out on top. She appeared in Dreamgirls, for which she won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a SAG award and an NAACP Image award, among others. She has also appeared in Sex and the City: The Movie and The Secret Life of Bees, but her music career is still going strong: Her self-titled debut album sold more than 700,000 copies and earned her a Grammy.
#8 Chris Daughtry
His early elimination from Season 5 of American Idol shocked judges and viewers alike, but he’s certainly landed on his feet. His debut album was the fastest-selling rock debut ever, selling more than 1 million copies in five weeks. He earned a Grammy nomination for his first single, “It’s Not Over,” and stands behind only Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood as the best-selling Idol alum.
#10 Adam Lambert
As the odds-on favorite to take the American Idol crown in 2009, Lambert never backed away from risky arrangements or daringly theatrical performances. But he also proved his over-the-top vocal acrobatics could be turned off in favor of moody, emotional numbers. He just dropped his debut disc, For Your Entertainment, which is as flashy as Lambert himself, but only time (and the fallout from a scandalous AMA performance) will tell if his approach will keep his name in lights for years to come.
#12 David Cook
After beating puppy-eyed David Archuleta to win Season 8 of American Idol, Cook set a Billboard record by having 11 songs (including many of his performances from Idol) debut on the Hot 100. His first album has sold more than a million copies and he embarked on his first tour in early 2009.
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