Carrie Underwood has long been recognized as a key player in the American Idol machine, and it’s no surprise that she’s officially been cast as one of the top alumni on the star-making singing competition. Underwood is undoubtedly the most successful country music star to ever come out of American Idol over the years, and she’s been voted the No. 2 ‘idol’ to have ever graced the show with her presence.
Coming in behind pop star Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood is Billboard’s second most successful American Idol alum of all. She’s sold more than 11 million albums in her few years in the music industry, and she has only fallen short of Clarkson due to the former’s crossover success (her country duet “Because of You” with Reba McEntire made her a switch-hitter in the music industry).
The rest of Billboard’s top 24 American Idol contestants of all time include all the usual suspects, and the Top 10 is rounded out by Chris Daughtry at No. 3, Jordin Sparks at No. 4, David Cook at No. 5, Clay Aiken at No. 6, Kellie Pickler at No. 7, David Archuleta at No. 8, Fantasia at No. 9 and Ruben Studdard at No. 10. Other Idol favorites to make the list include those like Jennifer Hudson, Kris Allen, Katharine McPhee, Bo Bice and Danny Gokey.
Life on the A-list is normal for Carrie Underwood these days, but not long ago the lovable girl next door was another hopeful vying for a title as America’s favorite singer. Even after she won Season 4 of American Idol, the girl from Checotah, Okla. still refused to let her fame inflate her ego. Speaking to Reader’s Digest in 2006, one year after winning Idol in front of millions of viewers, Underwood talked about beating out runner-up Bo Bice for the crown, saying she never pictured herself winning the competition.
In response to a question on if she thought she’d take first place, Underwood said, “Not at all. Then, the further I got, it was just about staying one more week, one more week. When it came down to me and Bo Bice, I was like, ‘Everybody loves Bo.’ I love Bo. I would probably vote for Bo myself if I were watching.”