Top 8 ‘American Idol’ winners we love the most, ranked: Kelly Clarkson tops our list at #1

Over the past two decades thousands of people have auditioned to be the next “American Idol,” but only 15 have claimed the trophy. While some winners came and went from our collective memories, eight champs will always stick in our minds. Click through our “American Idol” photo gallery above highlighting the Top 8 winners we love the most, beginning with our #1 pick Kelly Clarkson, the show’s first-ever champion.

Kelly Clarkson was only 20 years old when she auditioned in Dallas, Texas with Etta James’ “At Last” and Madonna’s “Express Yourself.” She faced off in the Season 1 finale against Justin Guarini, with her winning song being “A Moment Like This.” After taking home the title, Clarkson went on to win three Grammy Awards, for “Since U Been Gone,” “Breakaway” and “Stronger.”

In 2012 Clarkson was ranked 19th on VH1’s list of 100 Greatest Women in Music, and in 2013 Billboard named her the 14th best-selling artist of the 2000s. She joined rival reality TV show “The Voice” as a coach in 2018, where she currently still has one artist left in the competition: Brynn Cartelli. It was recently announced that Clarkson will be back for Season 15 of “The Voice” alongside Jennifer Hudson, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine.

Who will win “American Idol” Season 16 and join Clarkson on the winners list? According to exclusive Gold Derby predictions, Gabby Barrett currently tops our predictions with leading 10/9 odds, followed by Maddie Poppe in second place at 2/1 odds and Caleb Lee Hutchinson in third place with 11/1 odds. Agree or disagree with those predictions? Hurry and make your own picks before the “American Idol” 2018 finale airs Monday, May 21 on ABC.

SEE exclusive odds: Who will win ‘American Idol’?

Be sure to make your predictions so that the contestants can see how they’re faring in our racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and a $100 Amazon gift card. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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