Carrie Underwood has come quite far since winning American Idol in 2005—and it’s safe to say the show has made good on its titular promise.
Underwood tops this year’s list of the highest-paid Idol alums, pulling in $31 million thanks to platinum-selling Blown Away, extensive touring and endorsement deals with the likes of Olay. Not only is that more than any Idol contestant, but it exceeds the annual earnings of last year’s judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban.
All in all, Underwood has earned $83 million over the past five years, and she’s one of many acts continuing to profit from her exposure on the show. Kelly Clarkson ranks second with $7 million, banking the bulk of her bucks on the road. She’s followed by 2012 winner Phillip Phillips and 2009 runner-up Adam Lambert, who are tied for third with $5 million apiece.
01. Carrie Underwood - $31 million
02. Kelly Clarkson - $7 million
03. Phillip Phillips / Adam Lambert (tie) - $5 million
05. Chris Daughtry - $5 million
06. Scotty McCreery - $3 million
07. Taylor Hicks - $2.5 million
08. Fantasia / Kellie Pickler (tie) - $1.5 million
10. Katharine McPhee / Jeniffer Hudson (tie) - $1 million