Watchworthy

The Best American Idol Contestants Ever 

Katie Wells
Originally by
Updated September 12, 2019 97.4k votes 7.7k voters 87.3k views 161 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, and American Idol winners, 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?

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list ordered by
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Kelly Clarkson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Carrie Underwood is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Adam Lambert is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Chris Daughtry is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Jennifer Hudson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Kellie Pickler is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Jordin Sparks is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Katharine McPhee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Phillip Phillips is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Scotty McCreery is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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David Cook is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Clay Aiken is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Haley Reinhart is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Jessica Sanchez is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Mandisa is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Ruben Studdard is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Colton Dixon is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Diana DeGarmo is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Elliott Yamin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Jason Castro is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Pia Toscano is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Danny Gokey is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Blake Lewis is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever
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Tori Kelly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best American Idol Contestants Ever