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Adam Lambert Bests Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson for Top-Earning 'American Idol' Alum 2015

by Carolyn Menyes   Jan 6, 2016 15:19 PM EST

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American Idol's 15th and final season kicks off tonight (Jan. 6) and in anticipation of the new edition of the long-running FOX reality competition, Forbes has published its list of the biggest earning Idol alumni from 2015. And, in a surprising move, Adam Lambert has unseated Carrie Underwood as the most lucrative former contestant.

Lambert earned $10 million between June 2014 and June 2015 (Forbes eligibility period for the 2015 list) and earned the crown as the highest-earning Idol alum of the year. Thanks to his touring deal with Queen (filling in for the late, great Freddie Mercury as the classic rock band's lead singer), Lambert bested Underwood, who held the title as the top Idol alumni in 2013 and '14.

But, that doesn't mean Underwood is put out for this year. She came in at No. 2 with $8 million earned, which is almost more impressive since the time of Forbes tracking was an off-period for the country superstar. Her new album Storyteller was released in October, and with an upcoming tour about to kick off, Underwood is sure to come out on top again for 2016's list.

Similarly, Kelly Clarkson was tied for fifth place alongside Scotty McCreery on the 2015 list with $4 million earned, once again due to the technicality of the eligibility period. Though Clarkson toured extensively last year on the release of her latest album Piece By Piece, she only played three shows during Forbes' tracking period. But, like Underwood, she should fare better next year.

The rockers rounded out the top five earning Idol alum list. Chris Daughtry's extensive tour schedule (91 shows in total) earned him the No. 3 spot on Forbes' list with $6 million earned. Similarly, Phillip Phillips' latest tour, in support of his new album Behind the Light boasted 83 shows and earned him $5 million.

So, for the final Idol (who we've already seen in the shadowy top 24 teaser) has some major riches to look forward to!

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