Although it's obvious that David Archuleta will win "American Idol," beware: David Cook could still prove to be the biggest, ultimate champ when all kudos are counted some future day. As Jennifer Hudson kicks back in her mansion right now — buffing her Oscar and Golden Globe and getting ready for the premieres of "Sex and the City" and her debut album — do you think she ever pauses to weep hysterically over the fact that she only made it as far as No. 7 in the "Idol" runoff?
Obviously, there are strong parallels between David Cook and that other rocker to lose "Idol" -– Chris Daughtry. Although Taylor Hicks won Season 5, Daughtry, who came in fourth, has enjoyed far greater success fronting his own rock band. The group earned four 2008 Grammy nominations for their debut album ("Daughtry"). Meantime, hey: whatever happened to Hicks?
Here's a look back at how some of the "Idol" stars, winners and losers, have fared in other top show-biz contests.
Season 4's Carrie Underwood is a rare example of a champ who swept other kudos after her "Idol" win. She won the 2007 Grammy as best new artist and another for female country vocal performance ("Jesus, Take the Wheel") and repeated in that category in 2008 ("Before He Cheats"). She's also snagged four American Music Awards, five Country Music Assn. Awards, five Academy of Country Music Awards and three CMTs.
Season 1 champ Kelly Clarkson enjoyed some success with her debut album, "Thankful," but it was her second album that won her two Grammys in 2006 — best pop vocal album ("Breakaway") and best female pop vocal performance ("Since U Been Gone"). Her third album, "My December," has met with less success.
Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard picked up a Grammy nom in 2004 for best male R&B vocal performance ("Superstar"), but he lost to his idol, Luther Vandross. He is currently without a record label.
Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken has enjoyed commercial success if not critical acclaim. Although he has won three Billboard awards and was fan choice at the 2003 American Music Awards, he has yet to pick up any Grammy nods. Will his first new studio album in five years -– the recently released "On My Way Here" -– change that?
Season 3 winner Fantasia earned four Grammy nominations in 2006 for her debut album ("Free Yourself") and another three in 2008 for her second ("Fantasia"). She has three Billboard Awards, including the prize for top-selling single of 2004 ("I Believe").
Season 3 seventh-place finisher Jennifer Hudson went on to win an Oscar and a Golden Globe (among other kudos) for her supporting turn in the 2006 movie musical "Dreamgirls." She appears in the upcoming "Sex and the City" movie, and her debut album is due out this fall.
Last season's winner Jordin Sparks released her self-titled debut album last fall to good reviews and sales, including two platinum singles ("Tattoo" and "No Air").
(Fox TV/ L.A. Times)