Top-Earning ‘American Idol’ Contestants

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Kelly Clarkson (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/Getty Images)

Kelly Clarkson (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/Getty Images)

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She was American Idol’s first winner ever, and Kelly Clarkson is proving she is still holding the number one spot. Forbes compiled a list of American Idol contestants and ranked them by earnings. Kelly Clarkson was the most profitable of all of them from May 2011 to May 2012, pulling in $8 million.

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Following in second was a tie between Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry who each grossed $5 million.

Scotty McCreery came in third and he’s grateful to Idol for jump-starting his career.

“It’s meant everything,” says McCreery of the show. “I didn’t have a career before, so it was the starting point for my career and it got me going.”

McCreery only pocketed about ¼ of the profits, and at first glance, he said it looks “depressing.”

“But I’m still making a good amount,” added McCreery. “I’m not in any way complaining…I’m doing a lot better than I was a few summers ago, living off the coin jar in my truck.”

He is far from living off pennies, and at 19-years-old, he’s exceeded expectations with his debut album, Clear As Day, selling over 1 million copies.

Not far behind McCreery is Jennifer Hudson who earned 3 million and Jordin Sparks who secured $2 million.

The list concluded with Adam Lambert at $1.5 million, Katharine McPhee and Kellie Pickler both at $1.1 million and David Archuleta and David Cook at $1 million each.

-Ashley Quadros, CBS Local

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