Carrie Underwood, Adam Lambert, and Daughtry top-earning ‘Idol’ stars


If you really want to know just how much money you can make by being on “American Idol” and then putting out good music, all you have to do is look at the list below and know that this is far more lucrative of a show than just going on “Survivor.” (Then again, it is also a significant bit harder when it comes to work.)

Forbes has just released their list of the top ten show alums when it comes to 2010 earnings — and get ready for quite a few surprises.

1. Carrie Underwood ($20 million) – If there was ever any doubt that Carrie is a superstar, this should squelch it. Thanks to an enormous “Play On” tour, album sales, and a wedding that put her in the headlines, Carrie had a remarkable year that’s tough to match.

2. Daughtry ($6 million, tie) – He’s put out two hit albums, is well-traveled, and certainly has the potential for more music soon. But will he recover from a sophomore release that was not as memorable as the debut?

2. Adam Lambert ($6 million, tie) – What makes Adam’s placement here particularly impressive is that unlike the other members of the top five, he only has one album — but you can thank both sales along with the international Glam Nation Tour for bringing in so much money — and you have to believe that the best is still yet to come.

4. Fantasia ($4 million) – Fantasia had plenty of ups and downs in 2010, but she has to be smiling about this number.

5. Jordin Sparks ($3 million) – “Battlefield” did not become a global smash like Jordin probably wanted it to, but you have to think she’s still going to be okay with this total.

6. Kelly Clarkson ($2.5 million) – Yes, Kelly only made $2.5 million last year — but she also didn’t release an album and didn’t tour too much. (She has more new music on the way this coming year.)

7. Jennifer Hudson ($2 million) – For someone who didn’t even make it close to the finale, this is a considerably impressive achievement.

8. Kellie Pickler ($1.8 million) – The other member of the country music family on the list with Carrie — but you have to think that Scotty McCreery will be here next year, as well.

9. Clay Aiken ($1.5 million) – Clay’s still going strong, and his record sales and theatre career helped to boost this number.

10. Katharine McPhee, David Archuleta, David Cook – “Archie” is the only one of these three to release an album in 2010, but the sales did not go as well as expected. Cook, meanwhile, just released “This Loud Morning” earlier this summer, while McPhee is appearing on the new show “Smash” in early 2012.

Which number are you most surprised about?

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