Top 10 Biggest Stars From 'American Idol' as the Series Comes to an End
As the hit series says goodbye, here are the idols we most loved.
— -- In music history, there have been plenty of idols. But in "American Idol" history, there's only been 14.
And when the hit Fox series says goodbye for good on Thursday, after 15 seasons, it will add one more idol to the list.
"American Idol," with its panel of rotating judges, public voting and host Ryan Seacrest, has been a mainstay on television for more than a decade.
The series, created by British talent manager Simon Fuller, has also introduced many singers into American households and has given its idols respectable music careers.
ABC News determined which idols have been the most successful, based on album sales metrics, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and pop culture influence.
As we say goodbye, while simultaneously crowning one last idol, here are the top 10 "American Idol's" in the show's history. The list below isn't in any particular order.
When it comes to music, season four winner Carrie Underwood is undoubtedly the most successful. The country music singer, who has sold more than 15.9 million copies of her five albums, has outsold any other "American Idol" contestant. Her hit songs, such as "Before He Cheats" and "Jesus Take the Wheel," have earned Underwood, 33, numerous awards, including 17 Billboard Music Awards and seven Grammy Awards, among others. She was also inducted in the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, three years after she took the "American Idol" title.
Since coming in seventh place on "American Idol," Jennifer Hudson has zoomed up to first place in our hearts. Although she's made her mark selling 1.4 million copies of her three albums -- "Jennifer Hudson," "I Remember Me" and "JHUD" -- throughout her career, Hudson is also an accomplished actress, even earning an Academy Award for her role as Effie White in the 2006 musical-film, "Dreamgirls." She's also won a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award and is currently starring in "The Color Purple" on Broadway. Not to mention, Hudson, 34, has also performed at the White House, Super Bowl XLIII in 2009 and was also a spokesperson for Weight Watchers in 2010.
Kelly Clarkson made her mark on the show, becoming the first ever winner in 2002. Since then, her career has skyrocketed. Clarkson has created seven albums, selling in total more than 13.9 million records. And though she's dabbled in television and film roles -- starring in the 2003 musical-film "From Justin to Kelly" and a 2008 episode of "One Tree Hill," according to IMDB -- Clarkson, 33, has truly shined with her music. She's earned 12 Billboard Music Awards, four American Music Awards and three Grammy Awards, among others. She even has the distinction of being the first "American Idol" contestant to earn 100 number one songs on the Billboard charts.
Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips, 25, and his guitar captured America's heart in 2012 -- the year in which he walked off the "American Idol" stage a winner. Phillips' best known song "Home" was such a hit, it was even used during Olympics coverage for the women's gymnastics team. Phillips' song also has the distinction of being the best-selling song by any "American Idol" contestant. In total, he's sold more than 1.4 million copies of his two albums.
Clay Aiken may have lost to Rubben Studdard during the music competition's second season in 2003, but he still had plenty of fans. So many that his six albums have sold more than 5 million copies. Along with his music success, Aiken, 37, has starred on Broadway in the 2008 production of "Spamalot." Recently, Aiken has pivoted away from music and entered politics. In 2014, he ran for Congress in North Carolina. After winning the Democratic primary, he eventually lost to Republican incumbent Renee Ellmers.
Jordin Sparks rose to fame after winning season 6 of "American Idol." Only 17 years old at the time, Sparks was the youngest winner in the series history. The 26-year-old singer has released three studio albums since her "Idol" days, and was nominated for a Grammy for her pop hit “No Air” in 2009.
Chris Daughtry was a contestant on “American Idol” during season 5, and made it all the way to the final four before he was eliminated. The 36-year-old singer went on to form his own rock band called Daughtry, and has released five studio albums in the past decade. Daughtry's self-titled debut album, which was released in 2006, became the fastest selling debut rock album in SoundScan history, and included Grammy nominated hits such as “It’s Not Over” and “Home.”
Katharine McPhee was the runner up of the fifth season of "American Idol," losing to Taylor Hicks. The singer released her self-titled album in 2007, which included hit song “Over It.” McPhee has also tried her hand in the acting world, appearing in projects such as “The House Bunny,” “CSI NY” and “Community.”
Fantasia Barrino was the season three winner of "American Idol," taking home the top prize when she was just 19 years old. Barrino, now 31, has released four studio albums, which have made 2 million sales worldwide. When she's not in the recording studio, Barrino is acting on the big screen. The "I Believe" singer has starred on Broadway as well as in film and television, and is currently touring the United States.
Adam Lambert finished as the runner-up for season eight of "American Idol." The 34-year-old singer has sold 2.5 million albums and 5 million singles worldwide, and his hit single "Whataya Want from Me" was nominated for a Grammy in 2011. Lambert has most recently been collaborating with rock band Queen, and the group is currently touring the world.