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'American Idol': Grading the past winners

Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood Photo Credit: Getty

Tuesday night, Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alania will face off during the final judged performance on Season 10 of “American Idol.” Wednesday night on Fox/5, Scotty McCreery will win (let’s not kid ourselves).

He’ll join a fraternity that features megastars and also-rans, artists of great talent and ability and fluke winners.

amNewYork breaks down the previous “Idol” winners:

Kelly Clarkson: A
Season 1
Current age: 29
Number of albums: 4
Total album sales: More than 10 million, second only to Carrie Underwood among “Idol” winners.
Other gigs: “Starred” in the musical “From Justin to Kelly” with Season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini. Served as one of the VH1 Save the Music Ambassadors for 2009-10.
Highest point: Won Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance in 2006.
Lowest point: “From Justin to Kelly” is regularly mentioned as one of the worst films ever made.
Today: Preparing to release her fifth album in the fall.

Ruben Studdard: C
Season 2
Current age: 32
Number of albums: 4
Total album sales: Debut album went platinum, follow-up went gold.
Other gigs: Headlined the national tour of the musical “Ain’t Misbehaving.”
Highest point: Meeting his wife at a CD signing in 2006.
Lowest point: His greatest-hits compilation has been a sales disaster, with one published report claiming it has sold fewer than 4,000 copies.
Today: Preparing a national tour with Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken, including a stop in August at the Hammerstein Ballroom.

Fantasia Barrino: C-
Season 3
Current age: 26
Number of albums: 3
Total album sales: Platinum on her first release, gold on her second.
Other gigs: Performed in “The Color Purple” on Broadway and as the lead in a new Mahalia Jackson biopic. Starred in her own reality show on VH1.
Highest point: Barrino was the first singer to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard charts with his or her first-ever single.
Lowest point: Tried to kill herself by overdosing on aspirin and a sleep aid.
Today: Making promotional appearances to hawk her latest album.

Carrie Underwood: A+
Season 4
Current age: 28
Number of albums: 3
Total album sales: In the tens of millions.
Other gigs: Acting roles in “How I Met Your Mother” and the biopic “Soul Surfer.” Was voted “World’s Sexiest Vegetarian” by PETA in 2005 and 2007.
Highest point: Nearly all of them — Underwood is the poster child for post-”Idol” success.
Lowest point: As the biggest star of the “Idol”-ers, she is partly to blame for the country-vs.-country snoozefest sure to come tonight.
Today: Probably sleeping on a bed of money.

Taylor Hicks: D
Season 5
Current age: 34
Number of albums: 3 (2 post-“Idol“)
Total album sales: His first post-“Idol“ album went platinum. His second has sold fewer than 100,000 copies.
Other gigs: Played “Teen Angel” in the touring production of “Grease.”
Highest point: His post-“Idol” single, “Do I Make You Proud,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart and went gold.
Lowest point: Winning “Idol,” which made him look like a fluke considering that presumed champ Chris Daughtry was eliminated late in the contest.
Today: Popping up on charity bills around the country for Alabama relief (Hicks is from Birmingham).

Jordin Sparks: B
Season 6
Current age: 21
Number of albums: 2
Total album sales: Her debut album went platinum, while the followup has sold in the neighborhood of 200,000 copies.
Other gigs: Appeared for 12 weeks in the Broadway production of “In the Heights.” Released a perfume called “Because of You...”
Highest point: Nominated for a Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals Grammy for “No Air.”
Lowest point: Lost MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist to something called Tokio Hotel.
Today: Prepping for a new album release and opening for New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys. (No, really.)

David Cook: B-
Season 7
Current age: 28
Number of albums: 2 (1 post-”Idol”)
Total album sales: Nearly 1.4 million.
Other gigs: Nothing yet.
Highest point: “The World Almanac Book of Facts” cover in 2009 featured photos of Barack Obama, John McCain and … David Cook.
Lowest point: That beard he’s got in this picture.
Today: Prepping the release of his second post-“Idol” album, “This Loud Morning.”

Kris Allen: D
Season 8
Current age: 25
Number of albums: 2 (1 post-”Idol”)
Total album sales: Approximately 325,000.
Other gigs: Nothing yet.
Highest point: Single “Live Like We’re Dying” went platinum.
Lowest point: His self-titled album was, to that point, the lowest-selling debut from an “Idol” winner.
Today: Opening for Keith Urban on tour.

Lee DeWyze: F
Season 9
Current age: 25
Number of albums: 3 (1 post-“Idol”)
Total album sales: About 135,000 copies of his post-”Idol” “Live It Up.”
Other gigs: Nothing yet.
Highest point: Winning “American Idol.”
Lowest point: Everything since.
Today: Getting ready to kick off a national tour (including a stop at the Gramercy Theatre on June 29).


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