All Idols are not created equal. That wasn’t necessarily the fault of “American Idol” (though sometimes it was) but more a function of what segment of the American public kept watching the show and voting. When they were right, they were oh-so-right, but when they were wrong, well, sorry, Chris Daughtry. Here’s a look at how all the show’s winners stack up according to talent, success and how well they have worn the “American Idol” crown:
14. NICK FRADIANI (2015)
The blandness of his debut single does not bode well for his post-“Idol” future.
13. TAYLOR HICKS (2006)
The big-voiced big personality never quite clicked outside the show.
12. LEE DeWYZE (2010)
The likable DeWyze has turned his career toward indie-folk on his recent “Oil & Water” album.
11. CALEB JOHNSON (2014)
The hard rocker boomed his way through the contest, but not quite into many music fans’ hearts.
10. KRIS ALLEN (2009)
Ever an example of how “Idol” voters tend to go with safe and likable over artistic, Allen will always be connected to runner-up Adam Lambert, one of the show’s biggest successes.
9. RUBEN STUDDARD (2003)
“The Velvet Teddy Bear” still has soulful vocals, made even sharper now after hooking up with legendary producer David Foster.
8. SCOTTY McCREERY (2011)
The country singer may have just left his label, following a couple of misses, but fans will always want him to lock them doors and turn the lights down low.
7. CANDICE GLOVER (2013)
Despite having a great, gospel-influenced voice and winning personality, Glover’s “Idol” success hasn’t translated into chart success.
6. JORDIN SPARKS (2007)
She’s turning to acting now, but the “Battlefield” singer is still looking for ways to connect to her pop audience.
5. DAVID COOK (2008)
The creative rocker became the template for future “Idols” with the way he reinvented songs to suit his cool voice.
4. FANTASIA (2004)
The Broadway star is in the midst of an R&B resurgence, with a new single “No Time for It” that shows off her powerful, soulful vocals and a headlining tour that stops at The Theater at Madison Square Garden later this month.
3. PHILLIP PHILLIPS (2012)
Though he is currently suing to get out of his “Idol” contract, the “Home” singer’s distinctive vocals and performance style give him perhaps the brightest future of all.
2. CARRIE UNDERWOOD (2005)
There’s a reason Underwood is the undisputed “Idol” sales champion. Her powerful voice seems to connect with everyone.
1. KELLY CLARKSON (2002)
If there was ever any question about the original “Idol” being the best, her stunning, tear-filled version of “Piece by Piece” this season shows how undeniable her stardom has always been.