The new season of American Idol is freshening up its lineup with a new judges panel including Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban. The three stars are making a combined total of $27.5 million for their cushy hosting gig. Neither male judge is earning anywhere near Jennifer Lopez’s reported $17.5 million salary but after all, she is the biggest star on the panel. The show has made regular people into overnight celebrities (none quite as rich as J.Lo) and these following singers are the richest contestants:
5) Jennifer Hudson ($15 million)
Pictured: Jennifer Hudson
Jennifer rose to fame in 2004 as a finalist on the third season of American Idol. She went on to become an Academy award-winning actress for her work in Dreamgirls. She is currently worth an estimated $15 million.
4) Katherine McPhee ($4 million)
Pictured: Katherine McPhee
Katherine became famous as the runner-up in the fifth season of American Idol. She has established herself as an accomplished actress and singer with roles in films such as The House Bunny and on the television musical “Smash”.
3) Chris Daughtry ($8.5 million)
Pictured: Chris Daughtry
Chris was a contestant on the fifth season of American Idol where he finished in fourth place. Don’t feel bad for the guy; he went on to release the fastest selling debut rock album in Nielsen Soundscan history. His band, Daughtry, was even nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song.
2) Kelly Clarkson ($24 million)
Pictured: Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson is known as “The Original American Idol” and for good reason—she won the first season of the show. In the last decade Clarkson has had 91 number ones on the Billboard charts and has sold over 45 million singles worldwide.
1) Carrie Underwood ($55 million)
Pictured: Carrie Underwood
Carrie became a national star as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. She has since gone on to become a multi-platinum selling artist and the winner of six Grammy Awards, sixted Billboard Music Awards, seven American Music Awards and ten Academy of Country Music Awards.