Reality TV Stars The Best American Idol Contestants Ever  

Katie Wells
Originally by
83.4k votes 6.4k voters 69k views 159 items

List Rules Only American Idol contestants should be on this list

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Ranker may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

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
2,188 1,261
Kelly Clarkson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Adult contemporary music, Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

2
2,267 1,396
Carrie Underwood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Country pop, Pop music, Contemporary Christian music

3
1,593 1,306
Chris Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Rock music, Pop rock, Post-grunge

4
2,251 1,542
Adam Lambert is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

5
1,450 1,122
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

6
959 1,123
Jordin Sparks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Pop music, Teen pop

7
1,046 1,255
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
914 1,270
David Cook is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop rock, Post-grunge, Alternative rock

9
1,085 1,262
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Country pop, Pop music, Country

10
974 1,216
Phillip Phillips is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Rock music, Folk music, Indie rock

11
915 1,200
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
889 1,246
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
654 722
Scotty McCreery is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Country

14
697 1,190
David Archuleta is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Teen pop

15
567 1,050
Bo Bice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Country rock, Pop rock

16
605 851
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
419 680
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
651 1,148
Kris Allen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Folk rock

19
598 1,082
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
452 972
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
347 455
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
503 1,044
Crystal Bowersox is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blues-rock, Rock music, Acoustic music

23
300 525
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
341 305
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
292 568
Taylor Hicks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock