Reality Television Personalities The Best American Idol Contestants Ever  

Katie Wells
Originally by
74.7k votes 5.7k voters 61.5k 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
1,928 1,154
Kelly Clarkson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kelly Clarkson Adult contemporary music, Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul

2
2,022 1,290
Carrie Underwood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Carrie Underwood Country pop, Pop music, Contemporary Christian music

3
1,470 1,174
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
2,032 1,425
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
1,299 1,048
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
867 1,034
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
949 1,159
Katharine McPhee is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Katharine McPhee Pop music, Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues

8
840 1,168
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
999 1,153
Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kellie Pickler Country pop, Pop music, Country

10
885 1,129
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
844 1,099
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
844 1,148
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
567 645
Scotty McCreery is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Scotty McCreery Country

14
629 1,100
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

This Is What It's Actually Like To Be A Contestant On A Singing Competition Show

15
517 968
Bo Bice is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Bo Bice Christian music, Country rock, Pop rock

16
527 779
Haley Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
delicio added Haley Reinhart Pop music, Rock music, Jazz fusion - Pop, Jazz

17
607 1,073
Kris Allen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kris Allen Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Folk rock

18
369 618
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
424 902
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
536 1,004
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
454 979
Crystal Bowersox is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Crystal Bowersox Blues-rock, Rock music, Acoustic music

The Best Drummers of All Time

22
288 402
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
251 470
Danny Gokey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Danny Gokey Blue-eyed soul, Country pop, Contemporary Christian music

24
395 901
Carly Smithson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
First L added Carly Smithson Pop music, Rock music, Gothic metal

25
261 500
Taylor Hicks is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Taylor Hicks Blues-rock, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock

26
197 401
Allison Iraheta is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
AlexYoung added Allison Iraheta Pop rock

27
272 268
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
215 274
Ranker Video
Lauren Alaina Country, Country pop

12 American Idol Finalists Who Just Went Back To Totally Normal Jobs

29
169 286
Colton Dixon is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Colton Dixon Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Alternative rock

30
330 753
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
317 679
Kimberley Locke is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Kimberley Locke Adult contemporary music, Pop music, Electronic dance music

32
306 763
William Hung is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added William Hung Pop music

33
232 639
Constantine Maroulis is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KrisAbosamra added Constantine Maroulis Rock music

34
352 877
Brooke White is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Brooke White Indie pop, Christian music, Pop music

35
281 811
James Durbin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
James Durbin Glam metal, Progressive metal, Groove metal

Rappers with the Coolest Post-Rap Careers

36
241 675
LaToya London is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added LaToya London Contemporary R&B, Rhythm and blues, Jazz

37
287 758
Lee DeWyze is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Lee DeWyze Rock music, Folk rock, Alternative rock

38
173 331
Pia is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
JordanA.Curlew added Pia

39
135 299
Angie Miller is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
osurickbee added Angie Miller Piano rock, Contemporary Christian music, Pop rock

40
137 291
Casey Abrams is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
osurickbee added Casey Abrams Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

41
65 101
Larry Platt is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever

42
141 232
Mandisa is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
newdinfl added Mandisa Christian music, Contemporary Christian music, Rhythm and blues

New American Idol Judge Picks

43
134 208
Diana DeGarmo is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Diana DeGarmo Pop music, Country

44
95 217
Trent Harmon is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Trent Harmon

45
121 190
Ranker Video
Josh Gracin Country

46
91 184
Kimberly Caldwell is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Kimberly Caldwell Adult contemporary music, Blue-eyed soul, Pop rock

47
140 417
Jena Irene is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Baseballislove added Jena Irene Alternative rock, Rock music, Pop music

48
98 198
Ace Young is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KrisAbosamra added Ace Young Blue-eyed soul, Pop music, Rock music

49
89 154
Bucky Covington is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
Bucky Covington Country

50
39 131
Sanjaya Malakar is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
KelliAliciaGreen added Sanjaya Malakar Pop music