Carrie Underwood is Forbes' top-earning 'American Idol' alum for 2013

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Carrie Underwood is Forbes' top-earning 'American Idol' alum for 2013

By Stephen L. Betts. CREATED Jan 14, 2014

Just in time for the season 13 premiere of "American Idol," Forbes has compiled their annual list of the lucrative franchise's top-earning performers for 2013. Country music, of course, has played a huge part in the show's success since its debut and last year's top-moneymaker was none other than country superstar Carrie Underwood. With her platinum "Blown Away" album and tour and endorsement deals with, among others, Olay, Carrie has earned a staggering $31 million in the past year. In the past five years, Carrie has pulled in $83 million. (Her 2013 total, by the way, exceeded the annual earnings of 2013 "Idol" judges Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey.)

That outdistances (by a lengthy margin), the $7 million that second-place Kelly Clarkson, "Idol's" first champ, took in, mostly in tour income. Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips and season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert tied for third with $5 million apiece. Chris Daughtry, with $4 million and Scotty McCreery, at $3 million, round out the top five. Kellie Pickler, earning $1.5 million, tied for No. 8 with Fantasia.

Forbes calculates earnings estimates with the help of data from Pollstar Pro, the RIAA, Nielsen SoundScan as well as industry veterans, the musicians' handlers and some of the artists themselves. The numbers reflect pretax earnings from June 2012 through June 2013.

See Forbes' complete list here. "American Idol's" two-night premiere begins Wednesday (Jan. 15) at 8:00 PM ET on FOX and continues at the same time Thursday (Jan. 16).