Everyone has probably watched American Idol at least once in their lives. The televised singing competition is currently in its fourteenth season of finding the next music idol but as we all know, sometimes the winners get out-shined by their runners-up after the season ends.
Let's take a look at five of the most successful American Idol winners thus far.
#5: David Cook
In season 7, two men named David made it to the finals of the competition: David Archuleta and David Cook. Later that night, David Cook was crowned American Idol. The next day, he released his first single "The Time of My Life", which went on to peak at #3 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and was certified platinum in the U.S. Following the release of his self-titled debut major-label album, David scored with four more hit singles: "Light On", "Come Back to Me", "Bar-ba-sol", and the heart-wrenching "Permanent" which was re-released in 2009 as a charity single. The singer-songwriter's latest release is a single titled "Wait for Me" and he is currently working on his next album.
#4: Phillip Phillips
Undoubtedly the winner with the coolest name in American Idol history, Phillip Phillips also made American Idol history with his coronation song "Home", which he released in 2012 after winning the show's 11th season. "Home" was certified 4x platinum in the U.S. alone and broke the top ten in multiple U.S. Billboard charts. He currently has two released full-length albums: The World from the Side of the Moon and Behind the Light, which charted at #4 and #7 on the U.S. Billboard 200 respectively. Phillip Phillips' latest release is a single titled "Unpack Your Heart" from Behind the Light, which has amassed an impressive 1,012,294 views on YouTube at time of writing.
#3: Jordin Sparks
At age seventeen, Jordin Sparks won the sixth season of American Idol, making her the youngest winner in the show's history. That was in 2007. Now, she has released several hit singles and made a big star of herself. Songs like "Tattoo", "One Step At a Time", "Battlefield", and "Don't Let It Go to Your Head" became the anthem of every Top 40 radio listener's life as she churned out platinum single after platinum single. She also appeared in ex-boyfriend Jason Derulo's music video for his single "Marry Me" and gained critical acclaim for her heartwarming performance in the video. Jordin's third studio album (titled Right Here, Right Now) is scheduled for release in April 2015 and will be released through her own label Louder Than Life.
#2: Carrie Underwood
Taking part in American Idol turned this Checotah, OK farm girl into a superstar. After winning the fourth season of the talent competition, Carrie Underwood is now one of the biggest names in not just country music but music in general. Her debut album Some Hearts went 7x platinum in the U.S., with the other three of her albums attaining at least platinum status in the country. In December 2014, Carrie released her first compilation album, Greatest Hits: Decade #1, to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her 2004 American Idol win that propelled her to fame.
#1: Kelly Clarkson
Unsurprisingly, the most successful American Idol winner to date is the first ever winner of American Idol. Kelly Clarkson was crowned champion of the first ever season of the show in 2002. Throughout the span of her post-Idol career, Kelly has released several ubiquitous hits such as "Breakaway", "Since U Been Gone", "Because of You", "Stronger", and more recently, "The Heartbeat Song". With multiple U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number ones and six U.S. platinum albums under her belt, there is no doubt that American Idol has turned Kelly Clarkson into a global superstar.
Photo credits: Swee Teo, Pool / Getty Images, Paul Morigi / Getty Images, Theo Wargo / Getty Images, Cindy Ord / Getty Images