Top 5 Most Successful 'American Idols' of All-Time (PHOTOS)

From Kelly Clarkson to Jordin Sparks, a closer look at the show's biggest stars.

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With American Idol season 12 kicking off, the search begins for the next big star.

While taking the crown on the FOX singing competition can certainly be a singer's breakout moment, a win doesn't necessarily spell success.

After each Idol season adjourns, victors venture into the wider world of in the music industry, some making quite a splash — like chart-blazing inaugural champ Kelly Clarkson — while others simply sink.

Sometimes, even as title holders lose that Idol lunar pull as runner-ups — like season two's second-best Clay Aiken or seventh-place finisher Jennifer Hudson — stand the test of time.

So as the FOX jaugernaut prepares to premiere — revealing a revamped judge's panel, with pop diva Mariah Carey, raptress Nicki Minaj and country star Keith Urban joining Idol veteran Randy Jackson — it feels only fitting to look back at all the Idol alums who have made a mark on music.

Who has been the most successful Idol of all-time? Take a gander at the gallery, above, to find out who holds the honor.

Then weigh in: Who is your favorite Idol? Explain why in the comments, below.

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  • harvey
    harvey

    He was on lots more TV shows. He did "Ed", All My Children, Days Of Our Lives, Scrubs, The Office, 30 Rock, Drop Dead Diva, Law & Order and Phinneas & Ferb. He also starred in a half dozen musicals. Spamalot, Drowsey Chaperone and Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor dream Coat most recently.

  • BlaykeB
    BlaykeB

    I think Jennifer Hudson should be on the list before Clay Aiken!!! She won an OSCAR!