Ex 'Idols': Who actually made it big?

NEED TO KNOW
  • 'American Idol' winners have seen huge success after taking the title
  • Even those contestants who didn't win are enjoying some time in the spotlight
Ex 'Idols': Who actually made it big?

Season 11 of "American Idol" will come to an exciting end tonight, with either Jessica Sanchez or Phillip Phillips walking away with the title. They'll get a recording contract and great career start and with tens of millions of votes coming in -- a built-in fan base to launch them into music stardom.

"Idol" has already created more than its share of music stars. According to Billboard, Kelly Clarkson reigns supreme. Not only does she hold the honor of being the first "Idol" winner, Clarkson is also the most successful. She has had the largest presence on the radio with over 5 million plays and also beats out the competition in single sales and YouTube views. "Stronger" alone has over 36 million views!
 
Carrie Underwood might not have reached the same success in record sales and on YouTube, but the Season Four winner is bringing in the dough. According to CelebrityNetWorth.com, Underwood is worth an estimated $45 million. The country music star has found success in music, made her silver screen debut in "Soul Surfer," and is a spokesperson for Olay.
 
Kellie Pickler didn't make it to the finals, but the bubbly country singer came in sixth place in 2006 and her career is still going strong. Her most recent album "100 Proof" was well-received and with a BFF like Taylor Swift, the sky is the limit. 
 
Season Five "Idol" winner Taylor Hicks seemed to be the exception to the "Idol" formula: Win "Idol" and go on to music stardom. Hicks career had a lackluster start, but he is still trying to turn things around. Hicks told Showbiz Tonight he is now experiencing a "full circle moment." After keeping a low profile, Hicks is heading back to the place where he first auditioned for "Idol" -- Las Vegas. Hicks just secured an eight-week residency at Bally's. We're thinking this could be the start of an "Idol" comeback!

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