Musicians The Best American Idol Contestants Ever  

Katie Wells
Originally by
80.9k votes 6.2k voters 66.6k 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
2,125 1,237
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
2,205 1,372
Carrie Underwood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Country pop, Pop music, Contemporary Christian music

3
1,567 1,273
Chris Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Rock music, Pop rock, Post-grunge

4
2,176 1,516
Adam Lambert is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Rock music, Electronic music

5
1,408 1,105
Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Soul music

6
933 1,106
Jordin Sparks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Pop music, Teen pop

7
1,028 1,225
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
895 1,248
David Cook is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop rock, Post-grunge, Alternative rock

9
1,060 1,240
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Country pop, Pop music, Country

10
953 1,198
Phillip Phillips is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Rock music, Folk music, Indie rock

11
895 1,180
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
884 1,224
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
628 709
Scotty McCreery is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Country

14
681 1,167
David Archuleta is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Teen pop

15
557 1,026
Bo Bice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Country rock, Pop rock

16
587 835
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
645 1,129
Kris Allen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Folk rock

18
409 665
Elliott Yamin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Contemporary R&B

19
582 1,065
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
448 958
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
492 1,031
Crystal Bowersox is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blues-rock, Rock music, Acoustic music

22
332 444
Ruben Studdard is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
pamdc200 added Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Gospel music

23
289 513
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
220 431
Allison Iraheta is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
AlexYoung added Pop rock

25
320 297
Tori Kelly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Donnell Phillips added Pop music, Rhythm and blues, Soul music

26
414 936
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
255 301
Ranker Video
Country, Country pop

28
284 556
Taylor Hicks is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock

29
201 322
Colton Dixon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Alternative rock

30
323 822
William Hung is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Pop music

31
337 709
Kimberley Locke is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

32
347 787
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
371 910
Brooke White is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Indie pop, Christian music, Pop music

34
245 677
Constantine Maroulis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KrisAbosamra added Rock music

35
299 848
James Durbin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Glam metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal

36
256 708
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
204 362
Pia is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
JordanA.Curlew added

38
298 802
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
161 329
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
154 322
Casey Abrams is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
osurickbee added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

41
172 256
Mandisa is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Rhythm and blues

42
69 137
Larry Platt is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever

43
111 248
Trent Harmon is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Trent Harmon

44
150 234
Diana DeGarmo is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Pop music, Country

45
134 220
Ranker Video
Country

46
47 169
Sanjaya Malakar is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KelliAliciaGreen added Pop music

47
156 447
Jena Irene is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Alternative rock, Rock music, Pop music

48
101 208
Kimberly Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock

49
112 222
Ace Young is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KrisAbosamra added Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

50
32 78
Christopher Noll is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Christopher Noll