Top Selling American Idol Contestants

American Idol is a ratings juggernaut and a household name. The show has, over the years, produced many recording artists but strangely enough, the successful ones have not necessarily been the winners or the runner ups.

Chris Daughtry is perhaps the most famous of these having finished in fourth place in season five. Soon after dropping out of the show he went on to form a band called Daughtry of which he was lead vocalist. The band’s debut album went on to sell over a million copies within five weeks of its release. This earned it the title of “fastest selling debut rock album of all time”. Within nine weeks it overthrew the “Dreamgirls” soundtrack to become 1# on the Billboard Charts. Chris Daughtry is a shining example of the term “winning is not everything”.

In terms of successful second place finishers, Clay Aiken is the best example. Aiken lost out to Ruben Studdard but released an album that debuted at number 1 and sold over 600,000 copies in the first week itself. Katharine McPhee and Blake Lewis are the other two notable second-place finishers who have done well, but have yet to overtake Aiken’s achievements.

The former waitress, Kelly Clarkson is the most successful pop/pop-rock artist to emerge from American Idol. The season one winner released her first album “Thankful” in 2003 and “Breakaway” soon followed in 2004 going on to become a multi-platinum album. A two time Grammy winner, Clarkson’s last album was “My December” released in 2007 and the artist has now sold over 16 million albums to date worldwide.

Carrie Underwood is perhaps the biggest superstar of all eclipsing even Clarkson by winning an American Music Award, two Grammys and a whopping five Billboard Music Awards for her music. “Some Hearts”, her debut album, has been certified 6x Platinum. It is also the fastest selling of all debut country music albums of all time. It also claims its place as the best selling album by any contestant from American Idol in the United States.