What Happens to 'American Idol Losers'?

We all know what happens to the winner of "American Idol."

Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Carrie Underwood have all become part of a national conversation.

For 2006 finalists Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee, the nail-biting question is what happens to the runner-up?

Will No. 2 go platinum like Clay Aiken or will he or she fall victim to the Justin Guarini curse?

From silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan to former Vice President Al Gore to "The Bachelor's" Trista Rehn, there's a long legacy of noble second-place finishers, but not every runner-up finds lasting fame.

In 2003, Guarini sold 142,000 albums while the original "American Idol" champion Kelly Clarkson sold 2.5 million. Guarini lost his record deal; Clarkson is now a Grammy winner.

"Just because you lose 'American Idol' doesn't mean that you've lost the game," said Matt Roush, senior TV critic at TV Guide. "Really, it's about personality. You've got to pop. Those personalities have got to pop."

Third season finalist Diana Degarmo successfully transitioned from "Idol" to Broadway.

"When you get down to that close, it's like 'Oh! You came so close to winning.' But at the same time, I think it's better that I didn't win because it makes me keep going," Degarmo said.

Season four finalist Bo Bice is currently touring to promote his first album.

"I was truly honored to see one of my best buddies that I had made in the past year … walk away with her dream. And my dreams still came true," Bice said on his Trenton, N.J., tour stop Monday night.

No matter what the outcome of tonight's "Idol" finale, Hicks and McPhee should take heart.

If William Hung can hang on to his 15 minutes of fame, he or she will be just fine.