musicians The Best American Idol Contestants Ever  

Katie Wells
Originally by
65.9k votes 4.9k voters 52.5k views 152 items

List Rules Only American Idol contestants should be on this list

Who are the best American Idol contestants ever? As the FOX reality singing competition show continues on after a dozen seasons, the list of great Idol contestants continues to grow. AI is a force to be reckoned with, and it's certainly among the best reality TV shows in recent memory. Which artist do you believe is the best AI alum of all time? Vote for your favorites, vote down any you just can't stand (yes, Sanjaya is on the list, so have at it) and, if your personal favorite isn't listed, add that contestant, please.

Here's the thing about American Idol: Most of the winners are genuinely outstanding singers and have gone on to enjoy great success in the music world. It's hard to argue that Kelly Clarkson, the very first AI winner from season one, isn't a phenomenal talent and a force in the music industry. She's definitely one of the best female vocalists around.The same goes for country songbird Carrie Underwood, who won Idol in the show's fourth season. She went on to become one of the most celebrated female vocalists of the past 10 years. And Phillip Phillips, the singer-songwriter who took the American Idol crown in 2012, is enjoying a great deal of success with his debut album, The World from the Side of the Moon.

One thing about this list of favorite 'American Idol' contestants: Many of the best artists didn't actually win on the show. Some were runners up, while others finished in the top five before getting booted off. 'Idol' runners up who went on to become major stars include Katharine McPhee, Adam Lambert, David Archuleta and Clay Aiken are all good examples. Oh, and guess what? Top five finishers who went on to great success would certainly include rocker Chris Daughtry, country singer Kelly Pickler and certainly Jennifer Hudson. J-Hud finished *seventh* on 'Idol' in season three, and went on to win an Academy Award for her performance in the movie Dreamgirls

Enjoy this list of Idol finalists, don't forget to vote. You can also re-rank this list in any order you want. While you're at it, why not cast your vote for the person you believe would be the next great 'American Idol' judge, too?
list ordered by

1
1,757 1,140
Carrie Underwood is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Carrie Underwood Country pop, Pop music, Contemporary Christian music

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2
1,610 1,051
Kelly Clarkson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kelly Clarkson Adult contemporary music, Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

3
1,298 1,052
Chris Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Chris Daughtry Rock music, Pop rock, Post-grunge

4
1,809 1,308
Adam Lambert is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Adam Lambert Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

5
1,107 954
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Jennifer Hudson Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

6
761 925
Jordin Sparks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Jordin Sparks Christian music, Pop music, Teen pop

7
889 1,010
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kellie Pickler Country pop, Pop music, Country

8
743 1,061
David Cook is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
David Cook Pop rock, Post-grunge, Alternative rock

9
821 1,054
Katharine McPhee is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Katharine McPhee Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

10
783 1,033
Phillip Phillips is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Phillip Phillips Rock music, Folk music, Indie rock

11
778 980
Clay Aiken is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Clay Aiken Pop music, Contemporary Christian music, Pop rock

12
788 1,051
Jessica Sanchez is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
JohnHernandez added Jessica Sanchez Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

13
470 551
Scotty McCreery is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Scotty McCreery Country

14
555 1,012
David Archuleta is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
David Archuleta Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Teen pop

15
466 873
Bo Bice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Bo Bice Christian music, Country rock, Pop rock

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16
559 996
Kris Allen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kris Allen Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Folk rock

17
436 699
Haley Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
delicio added Haley Reinhart Pop music, Rock music, Jazz fusion - Pop, Jazz

18
311 544
Elliott Yamin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Elliott Yamin Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

19
382 836
Melinda Doolittle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Melinda Doolittle Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

20
468 915
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
First L added Fantasia Christian music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

21
416 907
Crystal Bowersox is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Crystal Bowersox Blues-rock, Rock music, Acoustic music

22
232 333
Ruben Studdard is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
pamdc200 added Ruben Studdard Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Gospel music

23
375 834
Carly Smithson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
First L added Carly Smithson Pop music, Rock music, Gothic metal

24
227 416
Taylor Hicks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Taylor Hicks Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock

25
166 340
Allison Iraheta is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
AlexYoung added Allison Iraheta Pop rock

26
282 686
William Hung is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added William Hung Pop music

27
213 220
Tori Kelly is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Donnell Phillips added Tori Kelly Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

28
201 421
Danny Gokey is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Danny Gokey Blue-eyed soul, Country pop, Contemporary Christian music

29
291 635
Kimberley Locke is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Kimberley Locke Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

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30
304 703
Tamyra Gray is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Tamyra Gray Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

31
135 232
Colton Dixon is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Colton Dixon Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Alternative rock

32
330 832
Brooke White is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Brooke White Indie pop, Christian music, Pop music

33
162 240
Ranker Video
Lauren Alaina Country pop, Country

34
204 597
Constantine Maroulis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KrisAbosamra added Constantine Maroulis Rock music

35
62 60
Larry Platt is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever

36
254 771
James Durbin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
James Durbin Glam metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal

37
227 636
LaToya London is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added LaToya London Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

38
115 266
Angie Miller is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
osurickbee added Angie Miller Piano rock, Contemporary Christian music, Pop rock

39
150 294
Pia is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
JordanA.Curlew added Pia

40
260 724
Lee DeWyze is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Lee DeWyze Rock music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

41
110 259
Casey Abrams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
osurickbee added Casey Abrams Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

42
25 21
Christopher Noll is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christopher Noll

43
110 174
Diana DeGarmo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Diana DeGarmo Pop music, Country

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44
32 75
Sanjaya Malakar is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KelliAliciaGreen added Sanjaya Malakar Pop music

45
115 199
Mandisa is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Mandisa Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Rhythm and blues

46
27 18
Tamika Bush is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Tamika Bush

47
73 185
Trent Harmon is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Trent Harmon

48
76 155
Kimberly Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kimberly Caldwell Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock

49
93 163
Ranker Video
Josh Gracin Country

50
24 19
Rhonetta Johnson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Rhonetta Johnson