14 Highest Selling ‘American Idol’ Alumni of All Time (Photos)



“American Idol” returns on March 11, and we couldn’t be more excited. That’s because it’s the rare reality show that has actually produced some bona fide pop stars, hit-makers and even an Oscar winner. Whoever wins has a tough road getting there, and an even tougher climb up this ladder of the highest “Idol” alumni in album sales.

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Carrie Underwood – 16.3 million albums sold in the U.S.
Underwood is the only solo country music star to have a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and 14 No. 1 hits on Billboard’s country charts. Her last album, “Storyteller,” came out in 2015, so by the time her next one drops, her lead may go up yet again. 

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Kelly Clarkson – 14.2 million albums sold in the U.S.
Don’t credit Clarkson with the head start just because she was the very first “Idol” winner. She’s had five albums go platinum in her career. Her latest album, “Meaning of Life,” arrived in October of 2017.  

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Chris Daughtry – 7.35 million albums sold in the U.S.Recording along with his band Daughtry, the Season 5 contestant’s self-titled first album went quadruple platinum in 2006. Both that album and his follow-up “Leave This Town” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s album charts. The band’s fifth album is expected out this year. 

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Clay Aiken – 5 million albums sold in the U.S.
The Season 2 runner-up has released two platinum albums and one gold — and he ran for Congress in 2014.

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Fantasia Barrino – 3.3 million albums sold in the U.S.
The Season 3 winner had her 2004 song “I Believe” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and her last album came out in 2016. 

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Ruben Studdard – 2.6 million albums sold
The Season 2 winner’s debut album “Soulful” went platinum, followed by a gold album for “I Need an Angel” in 2004.

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Scotty McCreery – 2.1 million albums sold in the U.S.The Season 10 winner’s debut studio album, “Clear as Day,” went platinum upon release. He also released a Christmas album that went gold. 

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Kellie Pickler – 1.55 million albums sold in the U.S.Pickler only finished in sixth place during Season 5, but she ranks eighth overall on this list. She now has her own reality show on CMT.

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David Cook – 1.5 million albums sold in the U.S.
The winner of Season 7 had his self-titled, debut album go platinum and peak at No. 3 on the album charts. Quite impressive for a pop rocker. 

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Phillip Phillips – 1.4 million albums sold
The Season 11 winner has only released two albums, but his first, “The World From the Side of the Moon,” went platinum.

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Jennifer Hudson – 1.4 million albums sold in the U.S.
Hudson has had two albums go gold, but she’s the only “Idol” winner who knows what it’s like to earn Oscar gold. 

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Jordin Sparks – 1.3 million albums sold in the U.S.
The Season 6 winner’s self-titled debut album went platinum in 2007.

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Adam Lambert – 1.2 million albums sold in the U.S.
The Season 8 runner-up has one gold album, his 2009 debut “For Your Entertainment,” and has performed as the frontman for Queen.

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David Archuleta – 1.1 million albums sold in the U.S.
Archuleta was only 16 when he competed on “Idol,” one of the youngest contestants in the show’s history. His debut album in 2008 went gold and peaked at No. 2. 

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