Season four winner Carrie Underwood's debut album went six times platinum and earned her a Grammy. Her latest CD, "Carnival Ride," has sold more than 2 million copies in the United States, and scored her a slew of country music awards.
"I think it would be easy to dismiss the show if you had victors who came out with the album and it had some quick and dirty sales and then they were never heard from again," said Chuck Taylor, Billboard's senior correspondent. "And certainly, we do have those personalities from the show. But we also have some real long-term talent that has developed as a result of 'American Idol.'"
As it heads into its seventh season, "Idol" plans to tweak its format: Contestants will be allowed to perform with instruments in early rounds, putting more emphasis on talent.
But yesterday, Daughtry, biting the hand that didn't feed him enough, told RollingStone.com that the show's days of relevance may have come and gone.
"I feel like it's definitely lacking some credibility at this point," he said. "It's funny at first, but come on. They spend three weeks on people who can't sing, and that's what they're banking it on. [They should] find some people that you can really invest in."