Carrie Underwood tops 'American Idol' earners but can't touch Ryan Seacrest

ryan-seacrest--carrie-underwood-may-2006-gi.jpgSay what you will about the "American Idol" machine, but it does produce money makers.

Forbes has compiled a list of the Top 10 (actually 12) former "Idol" contestants who brought in over $1 million (pre-tax) between May 2010 and May 2011 and both winners and runners up are well represented.

2005 "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood tops all the "Idols," bringing in a cool $20 million. That's where the hard work of performing 83 concert dates pays off.

Tied for a distant second, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert (neither of who won "Idol") brought in $6 million apiece, while winners Fantasia Barrino, Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson and David Cook came in at No. 4, 5, 6, and 10 respectively.

The full Top 10 (12)

 1. Carrie Underwood - $20 million
 2. Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert - $6 million each
 4. Fantasia Barrino  - $4 million
 5. Jordin Sparks - $3 million
 6. Kelly Clarkson - $2.5 million
 7. Jennifer Hudson - $2 million
 8. Kellie Pickler - $1.8 million
 9. Clay Aiken - $1.5 million
10. David Archuleta, David Cook, Katharine McPhee - $1 million each

Honorable mentions to Kris Allen, Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze and Ruben Studdard, who just missed the $1 milllion mark this year.

Meanwhile, thanks to his "Idol" hosting duties -- along with a myriad of other jobs -- Ryan Seacrest brought in $61 million during the past year, a good $11 million over the other 12 combined.

And he doesn't even have to carry a tune.
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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