Forbes' 2012 "American Idol" Top Earners
I love getting lists like this from Forbes. So many American Idols have done amazing things as artists. Others, well, they enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame (looking at you Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard). Here is a list of the more successful Idol alumni in 2012:
Kelly Clarkson leads this year’s list with earnings of $8 million, about what Nicki Minaj makes for her role on Idol and twice what Keith Urban gets. More than a decade after winning Season One, Clarkson continues to grow her career, and her bank account, with the help of gold-certified album Stronger, a mentor role on The Voice, a Toyota commercial and a lucrative tour. She also sang—live—at President Obama’s inauguration.
Carrie Underwood and Chris Daughtry tie for the second spot. Underwood’s earnings were boosted by new album Blown Away, which has sold 1.2 million copies (just shy of the total for Justin Bieber’s Believe). Underwood didn’t tour much during our scoring period, but with an average nightly gross in excess of $400,000, she’s set for a big year with a string of concert dates running through at least early summer. Daughtry’s eponymous rock group continues to tour heavily, pulling in six-figure nightly grosses along the way.
Our numbers are based on estimated income from May 2011 to May 2012, before subtracting taxes, American Idol’s cut and any additional fees for agents, lawyers and managers. The totals were compiled with the help of data from Pollstar, RIAA and others, as well as interviews with industry insiders including managers, publicists, agents and some of the musicians themselves.
Who is your favorite Idol contestant of all time?