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American Idol: How Much Money Is Everyone Making?

May 25, 2009 01:00 PM by Britteny Elrick

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Everyone knows that being a finalist on American Idolcan jumpstarteven the most strugglingcareer, but do you ever wonder how much these Idols are really making when it’s all over? We’ve got the latest Forbes report, which gives the scoop on some of your favorite past Idols such as:Carrie Underwood, David Cook, David Archuleta, Jennifer Hudson, and Kelly Clarkson

According to the Yahoo! BuzzForbes report:

David Cook earned an estimated $2 million since June of 2008. Yahoo! BuzzForbes estimates that Cook generated the bulk of his income from the 1.1 million copies sold of his self-titled major label debut album. Cook supplemented his music sales with a live tour and a product sponsorship deal with sneaker maker Skechers. David’s runner up, David Archuleta,made an estimated $1.3 million from sales of his first album and more than 100 live concerts.

Jennifer Hudson, eliminated midway through the third season, was the second-best paid Idol alum over the past year. Following the show, Hudson smartly bet her best chance and superstardom would come from work that blends her musical and acting talents. In 2006, Hudson took a supporting role in the film adaptation of the Motown musical Dreamgirls. She won an Academy Award for the performance and has since scored roles in the Sex and the City movie and Winged Creatures, an upcoming indie flick also starring Kate Beckinsale and Forest Whitaker. Her movie roles, along with a well-regarded album and endorsements from Gap and Avon, earned Hudson an estimated $5 million.

Kelly Clarkson, the first Idol champion, holds the title of most albums sold by a show alumnus. The 27-year-old with the powerful voice has sold over 10 million records since 2003, generating a steady stream of cash. Clarkson’s All I Ever Wanted, released in March, is currently at No. 17 on the Billboard 200.

But the highest paid Idol of all time is undoubtedly,Carrie Underwood.Sheraked in an estimated $14 million last year, enough to secure the title of top-earning Idol alum. With her carefully crafted Nashville pop, Underwood cultivates a massive audience spanning both country and Top 40 fans. Her debut album, Some Hearts, spent 11 weeks in 2007 at the top of the Billboard album charts. Songs from her second effort, Carnival Ride, got massive airplay on both country and adult alternative radio. All told, Underwood has sold 9.6 million albums and 10.7 million digital downloads, according to Nielsen Soundscan.

She has played more than 300 shows since her Idol win. Each performance brings in about $350,000 to be split between Underwood and the concert promoter, according to Pollstar. Underwood has also supplemented her recording and touring income with sizable product endorsement payments. She generates tabloid buzz with her personal life â⬔ former alleged flames include Dallas Cowboys star Tony Romo and Gossip Girl actor Chace Crawford â⬔ but avoids the personal meltdowns that afflict other young female celebrities, making her an ideal pitchwoman for consumer products companies. Vitamin Water, owned by Coca-Cola, pays Underwood to endorse its beverages.

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Topics: American Idol, FOX Reality TV Shows |

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