The Top-Earning American Idols of 2015 Might Surprise You

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With 14 seasons under its belt and the next (and final) season starting up tonight (Jan. 6), American Idol’s run is coming to a complete end soon but not without some major success stories.

And so, courtesy of Forbes, here’s a list of 2015’s Top 5 highest-earning American idols – and the list might just surprise you.

5. Scotty McCreery (Idol’s Season 10 winner) and Kelly Clarkson (Idol’s Season 1 winner) tie at the number 5 spot, both earning $4 million. Forbes notes that Clarkson released Piece by Piece last year, which sold nearly 100,000 units its opening week, and “though the ensuing tour has earned her millions, Clarkson only played three shows during the scoring period for our rankings.”

4. Phillip Phillips, the winner of Season 11, earned $5 million this year nabbing the number 4 spot. He played 83 shows after releasing his 2014 album Behind the Light, which he co-wrote.

3. At the number three spot is Chris Daughtry, the most successful Idol from Season 5 (though he didn’t win either – Taylor Hicks did, and Daughtry was eliminated in the Top 4). He and his band, Daughtry, earned $6 million this year, playing a whopping 91 shows.

2. Meanwhile, the top-earner of 2013 and 2014, Carrie Underwood (Season 4’s winner), finished second this year earning $8 million due to both her live shows and new music. Her latest country album, Storyteller, debut at No. 2 on the charts this year, selling over 150,000 albums. And the cash for Underwood is sure to keep on coming: her Storytelling tour starts at the end of January.

1. Adam Lambert, the Season 8 runner-up (that’s right, he didn’t even win! Kris Allen did), nabs the number one spot, raking in a career-high of $10 million this year alone. Forbes notes, “Lambert’s earnings were buoyed by cash accumulated while playing arena shows as the frontman of legendary glam rock band Queen.”

Yeah, Queen will definitely do it for you.

Lambert’s co-manager Martin Kirkup told Forbes, prophetically, two years ago, “Adam used the launching pad of American Idol very well to have a successful recording career. I think the main part of his career still lies ahead of him.”

Forbes notes that Jennifer Hudson fell just short of the Top 5 list.