Since the series premiered in 2002, American Idol has captivated audiences with its hilariously bad auditions, nail-biting finales, epic performances, and heartwarming stories. Many fans choose their favorite singers at the beginning and root for them to claim the prize — usually a sizeable sum of cash and a recording contract. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always guarantee a lifetime of fame and fortune. Sometimes the losers fare better than the winners.
Let’s take a look at the stars who’ve found the most success post-American Idol.