Reality Television Personalities The Best American Idol Contestants Ever  

Katie Wells
Originally by
82.3k votes 6.3k voters 68.2k views 154 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
2,245 1,389
Carrie Underwood is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Country pop, Pop music, Contemporary Christian music

2
2,162 1,254
Kelly Clarkson is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Adult contemporary music, Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

3
1,583 1,296
Chris Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Rock music, Pop rock, Post-grunge

4
2,222 1,530
Adam Lambert is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

5
1,436 1,116
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

6
944 1,121
Jordin Sparks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Pop music, Teen pop

7
1,038 1,243
Katharine McPhee is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

8
902 1,262
David Cook is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop rock, Post-grunge, Alternative rock

9
1,076 1,252
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Country pop, Pop music, Country

10
968 1,206
Phillip Phillips is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Rock music, Folk music, Indie rock

11
905 1,191
Clay Aiken is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Pop music, Contemporary Christian music, Pop rock

12
887 1,236
Jessica Sanchez is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
JohnHernandez added Hip hop music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

13
646 716
Scotty McCreery is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Country

14
691 1,181
David Archuleta is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Teen pop

15
564 1,039
Bo Bice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Country rock, Pop rock

16
601 843
Haley Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
delicio added Pop music, Rock music, Jazz fusion - Pop, Jazz

17
418 673
Elliott Yamin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

18
649 1,141
Kris Allen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Folk rock

19
589 1,077
Fantasia is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
First L added Christian music, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

20
451 966
Melinda Doolittle is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Rhythm and blues, Jazz, Soul music

21
342 450
Ruben Studdard is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
pamdc200 added Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Gospel music

22
499 1,039
Crystal Bowersox is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blues-rock, Rock music, Acoustic music

23
296 522
Danny Gokey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Blue-eyed soul, Country pop, Contemporary Christian music

24
334 300
Tori Kelly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Donnell Phillips added Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

25
224 438
Allison Iraheta is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
AlexYoung added Pop rock

26
417 944
Carly Smithson is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
First L added Pop music, Rock music, Gothic metal

27
264 306
Ranker Video
Country, Country pop

28
288 563
Taylor Hicks is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock

29
205 328
Colton Dixon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Alternative rock

30
343 714
Kimberley Locke is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

31
328 837
William Hung is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Pop music

32
349 793
Tamyra Gray is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

33
374 916
Brooke White is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Indie pop, Christian music, Pop music

34
248 685
Constantine Maroulis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KrisAbosamra added Rock music

35
303 856
James Durbin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal

36
260 713
LaToya London is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

37
211 365
Pia is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
JordanA.Curlew added

38
299 810
Lee DeWyze is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Rock music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

39
164 334
Angie Miller is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
osurickbee added Piano rock, Contemporary Christian music, Pop rock

40
180 259
Mandisa is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Rhythm and blues

41
160 328
Casey Abrams is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
osurickbee added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

42
70 143
Larry Platt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever

43
115 254
Trent Harmon is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Trent Harmon

44
154 240
Diana DeGarmo is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Country

45
159 453
Jena Irene is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Alternative rock, Rock music, Pop music

46
136 228
Ranker Video
Country

47
47 179
Sanjaya Malakar is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KelliAliciaGreen added Pop music

48
143 202
Pia Toscano is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music

49
174 424
Caleb Johnson is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Heavy metal, Rock music, Hard rock

50
102 216
Kimberly Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock