12 most successful ‘American Idol’ losers ever: Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Katharine McPhee …

A lot of talent has crossed the stage of “American Idol” since its debut in 2002. Each season thousands of contestants line up for their chance in front of the reality TV judges, but there can be only one winner. These 12 artists are some of the most famous contestants who ever lost on “American Idol.” They are part of a select few who made an impression on America so big they were able to overcome their loss and still find fame and fortune. You know them. You love them. Now tour our photos above of the dozen most successful losers in “American Idol” history.

Here are just three of our faves:

Jennifer Hudson (Season 3)

Unbelievably Jennifer Hudson came in 7th place on Season 3 of “American Idol.” Like Adam Lambert, Hudson has had much more success than the season’s winner, Fantasia Barrino. Two years after “American Idol” Hudson started an acting career and has had parts in over a dozen films. In 2007 Hudson took home an Oscar for her performance in the 2006 movie “Dreamgirls.” Hudson is considered the most successful contestant to lose “American Idol.”

SEE ‘American Idol’ Winners List (Seasons 1 – 17)

Adam Lambert (Season 8)

Hands down the most successful male to lose the “American Idol” title, Adam Lambert has had no trouble rising to fame. Lambert was the Season 8 runner-up to Kris Allen in 2009. Lambert’s star has far surpassed Allen’s and his net worth is estimated at over $20 million. He’s currently on tour with the collaboration group “Queen + Adam Lambert.”

Katharine McPhee (Season 5)

Even though Season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee lost in 2006 to Taylor Hicks she continued on to a very successful career. McPhee has released five studio albums and landed parts in various TV shows and films including 2008’s “The House Bunny.”

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