Carrie Underwood top earning 'Idol' alum of 2013 and upcoming 'American Idol' changes

By Marie Blake,

Carrie Underwood tops Forbes' list of highest earning American Idol alumns of 2013.

Forbes reports that Underwood tops the list, making $31 million last year. Her highest earnings are from her platinum selling album Blown Away, extensive touring, and her endorsements for Olay.

Kelly Clarkson came in second, making $7 million last year. Phillip Phillips and Adam Lambert tied for the third spot, both making $5 million.

While past winners no longer have to hand over some of their money to the show, recent winners still have to fork over half of their income after they pay managers, attorneys, and agents, as well as take care of their own taxes.

American Idol ratings have decreased over the years, dropping 30 percent each of the past two seasons. However, producers say they have a way to boost ratings for season 13.

Fox News reports that some changes in the new season include an expansion of song choices, adding more recent hits for the contestants to perform. Randy Jackson will also serve as a mentor, hosting workshops that will help contestants with their vocals and other challenges they have.

According to TV Guide, a rush week will also be added, taking place before the Hollywood week auditions, where the middle rounds will be condensed into one week.

The judges have also changed for the new season. Randy Jackson, Nicki Minaj, and Mariah Carey exit, and Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr. take over and join Keith Urban. Ryan Seacrest will still serve as host.

With The Voice as competition, producers hope these changes will bring in more viewers.

American Idol premiers Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m. on FOX.

Image: CBS

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