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See which runners-up outshined the winners

Shaun Harrison
1 of 17 Michael Becker/Fox


Wondering what's become of all your favorite American Idol competitors? TVGuide Network's Idol Stars: Where Are They Now special premieres Sunday, March 14th at 8/7c. But first, check out our gallery on what's become of some of the show’s biggest names.
2 of 17 Theo Wargo/WireImage.com

Kris Allen

The Season 8 winner recently released his self-titled debut album, which entered the Billboard charts at No. 11. His first single, "Live Like We're Dying" peaked at No. 30 in the United States.
3 of 17 Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Simon Cowell

One day before the premiere of Season 9, American Idol judge and executive producer Simon Cowell announced he would leave the show at the end of the season to launch British import The X-Factor stateside. Will Idol survive without Simon's trademark critiques, and will he take X-Factor to the top?
4 of 17 Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Paula Abdul

Abdul shocked Idol fans by abruptly announcing her departure from the show in August 2009 after contract negotiations went south. All hope is not lost: Simon Cowell, who's since also announced plans to leave the show, says he will work with Paula again.
5 of 17 Lester Cohen/WireImage.com

Adam Lambert

Hey may have finished in second place, but Lambert's debut album, For Your Entertainment, outperformed Idol winner Kris Allen, selling more than 180,000 copies and debuting on the Billboard chart at No. 3. Lambert, however, created his share of controversy with his 2009 American Music Awards performance, which featured Lambert grabbing a dancer's crotch and kissing a male keyboardist. ABC received many viewer complaints and canceled Lambert's scheduled appearance on Good Morning America.
6 of 17 David Becker/Getty Images

Allison Iraheta

7 of 17 Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AMA

David Cook

The Season 7 winner's self-titled debut album went platinum and spawned three singles. He launched The Declaration Tour in February 2009, but the end date was rescheduled twice, stretching the tour through the end of the year.
8 of 17 Brad Barket/Getty Images

David Archuleta

Archie signed a deal with Azoff Management after American Idol's 19 Management passed him over, and his album, David Archuleta, sold an impressive 183,000 copies in its first week of release (putting him at No. 2 on the Billboard 200). And yes, girls everywhere still want to marry him and have 10,000 of his babies.
9 of 17 Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson

It's hard to imagine someone who's had bigger ups and downs. She won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Dreamgirls, but after the release of The Secret Life of Bees, her mother and brother were shot to death inside their Chicago home, and Hudson's nephew was found dead in an abandoned SUV three days later. She rebounded by earning three Grammy nominations and one win for her debut album, which sold more than one million copies worldwide.
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Chris Daughtry

He continues to rock out , win awards and sell records. He was nominated for four Grammys, won five AMAs and had several other nominations under his belt for his debut album, Daughtry. After a successful tour, he released his follow-up album, Leave This Town and plans to hit the road with Nickelback in early 2010.
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Clay Aiken

Clay has had a busy few years since he became runner up to Ruben Studdard in Season 2 of Idol. His first album, Measure of a Man was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold a whoppng 613,000 copies in one week. He struck gold again with Merry Christmas with Love, which sold more than a million copies in 2004 alone. He also came out in September 2008, and fathered a son with his friend Jaymes Foster. He also starred on Broadway in Spamalot and released a greatest hits albums in 2009.
12 of 17 Valerie Macon/Getty Images

Fantasia Barrino

Fantasia has not only been a successful recording artist since her Idol win, but she's also had an amazing run on the Great White Way, making her well-received Broadway debut in The Color Purple in April of 2007.
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Ruben Studdard

Since winning Season 2, the "Velvet Teddy Bear" has sold millions of copies of his three albums and earned a Grammy nomination for "Superstar." He also filed suit against his godfather and business advisor Ronald Edwards, accusing him of stealing.
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Kelly Clarkson

Clarkson has sold a bazillion albums (Breakaway sold over 12 million alone), won two Grammys and toured the globe. Her album, My December was not a critical hit, and led Clarkson to part with her management company. She bounced back in 2009, however, with All I Ever Wanted, which sold well and earned Clarkson another Grammy nomination.
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Jordin Sparks

Jordin has had a fantastic run since her Season 6 Idol win. Her debut album was a huge hit, helped by her sexy duet, "No Air" with R&B phenomenon Chris Brown. The song was nominated for several awards, including two People's Choice awards and a Grammy. Sparks also opened mega-star Alicia Keys' "As I Am" tour. She released her second album, Battlefield in 2009, which has sold more than a million copies.
16 of 17 Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images

Taylor Hicks

Where in the world is Taylor Hicks? The bluesy Season 5 winner released his first album, Taylor Hicks, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in 2006. However, early in 2008, Arista announced they were dropping him from their roster. Hicks later joined the cast of Grease on Broadway as "Teen Angel," and in 2009, he released his second album on his own label.
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Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood has become the darling of the country music scene since her Idol victory in Season 4. All three of her albums have gone platinum, and she has won four Grammy awards. She dated Dallas QB Tony Romo for several months, and Gossip Girl hottie Chace Crawford, but got engaged to NHL star Mike Fisher in late 2009. Idol Stars: Where Are They Now premieres on Sunday, March 14th at 8/7c on TV Guide Network.