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Forbes has announced its latest list of Top 10 American Idol money earners for the past year and, once again, the two most successful winners remain atop the list. No real surprise there. Daughtry, the most popular non-winner, also remains toward the top.
Surprises? Perhaps Kellie Pickler ranking so high (No. 4) though she writes her songs and has toured frequently and Kris Allen making the cut at 10 and the far higher profile Adam Lambert missing out.
The reasons? Though Adam's album sold more than twice as many copies as Kris' there is little money to be made through CD sales, especially if you're just the performer. Songwriters and producers get their cut first. Once you subtract the label's grab there's little left for the artist unless the album sells in the millions and few artists manage that these days.
Adam's income would come largely from touring and merchandising and his tour just started, or is soon to get underway. Kris' income would likely be the result of those Ford commercials he's landed. One would expect Adam to make the list next year if the tour does well. The one season to fail to make the list this year: Season 3, Fantasia's year. Ruben Studdard, Season 2 winner, and Taylor Hicks, Season 5 victor, also missed.
1. Kelly Clarkson -- $8 million
2. Carrie Underwood -- $7 million
3. Chris Daughtry -- $5.4 million
4. Kellie Pickler -- $4.3 million
5. David Cook -- $2.3 million
6. Jennifer Hudson -- $2 million
7. Jordin Sparks -- $1.8 million
8. David Archuleta -- $1.4 million
9. Clay Aiken -- $800,000
10. Kris Allen -- $672,000