The American Idol successfully ran for 15 seasons from its premiere in June 2002 to its finale in April 2016. The singing talent show quickly became a favourite of American audiences pulling in almost 40 million viewers at its peak which came between the 5th and 6th seasons. Viewership numbers began to wane from then onwards, culminating in its 2016 end.
However, the American Idol achieved incredible feats throughout its run including some that may never be matched, ever. The Idol’s accomplishments created somewhat of a ripple effect invoking similar shows like “America’s Got Talent” and “The Voice” which rose in an attempt to mould their own fair share of stars into society.
Rightly dubbed by a rival TV executive as “the most impactful show in the history of television”, The American Idol thrust many obscure recording artists to superstardom. Some of them, for example, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, didn’t even have to win the victory crown. Even non-contestants were not left out. The judges, from Paula Abdul to Jennifer Lopez boosted their earnings with paychecks from the highly successful show and how about its life-long presenter Ryan Seacrest who has his Idol gig to thank for a substantial slice of his annual earnings.
Some American Idol Alums went on to stage incredible recording careers while others ventured into film, TV, and even Broadway, but which of them has made the most money since leaving the Idol stage whose lights have now been shut, albeit “temporarily“? From Ruben Studdard to Fantasia and Carrie Underwood, JustRichest brings you the top 23 richest American idol alums of all time. Meanwhile, the season finale winner Trent Harmon is still at the early stages of his career, but it sure looks promising. Here we go…
23. Lee DeWyze
Season 9, 2010: Winner
Genre: Pop, Rock
Net Worth: $100,000
Prior to joining the American idol, Lee began a solo music career with two independently released albums under his belt. However, he happens to be the least richest American Idol winner. He signed with RCA Records after his victory but spent just a year with the label releasing only one album, “Live It Up” which saw moderate success. He was signed to Vanguard Records from 2013-2014. His song “Blackbird Song” released under the label was used on episodes of the TV shows The Walking Dead and Suits. DeWyze continues to release new music and headline tours. His 6th studio album “Oil & Water” was released in February 2016. He married model and actress Jonna Walsh in 2012.
22. Sanjaya Malakar
Season 6, 2007: Top 10 (6th Place)
Net Worth: $300,000
Malakar wasn’t a judges’ favourite, he was particularly disliked by Simon Cowell who said he’d quit the show if he emerged the winner. However, Malakar’s fans saw him to the final round. After leaving the Idol, Malakar went on to make numerous TV appearances in shows like The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Good Morning America, and more.
He released his debut EP “Dancing to the Music in My Head” in 2009. As of this writing, it remains his only release since leaving the Idol. He appeared in the 2009 second season of “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here”, emerging 5th place. He has written two books; “Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul” and “Dancing to the Music in My Head: Memoirs of the People’s Idol.” For the later, he received $100,000 advance.
21. Pia Toscano
Season 10, 2011: Top 10 (9th Place)
Net Worth: $700,000
She worked as a make-up artist and as a wedding singer with the band “Current Affair” before joining the America Idol in 2011. Her elimination was said to be one of the most shocking in American Idol history even shocking judges Steven Tyler and J-Lo. After Idol, Toscano continued to pursue her music career. She has released a number of singles and music videos but no album. She made her film debut in 2013 Christian drama film “Grace Unplugged” which made over $2.5 million at the box office, more than double its $1 million budget. She married dancer Jimmy R.O. Smith in January 2017.
20. Candice Glover
Season 12, 2013: Winner
Genre: RnB, Soul
Net Worth: $1 million
Need a lesson on how to up your fighting spirit? then give Candice a call. Being a victim of insecurity in high school taught her a thing or two. She was eliminated twice in the early stages of season 9 and season 11. However, Candice returned again in the 12th season and the third time was a charm as she made it all the way to the top! What could be more inspiring? Her debut album “Music Speaks” was released by Interscope Records in 2014. She left Interscope in 2016 but continues to work as an independent artist. She starred in a gospel musical “The Love Shack: which showed in Los Angeles in February 2016.