Hearne: Forbes Drops David Cook From 2013 “Top Earning Idols” List, New Album Coming Later This Summer

davidcook300a-1It’s not easy being famous…

And fame we all know can be fleeting, especially when it comes to television talent show winners. As noted by The Pitch‘s David Hudnall today when characterizing the success of American Idol season seven winner David Cook of Blue Springs as “brief.”

“What, you never heard of Caleb Johnson?” Hudnall asks. “Next you’re going to tell me you don’t know who Candice Glover is.”

As Cook’s springboard Idol approaches Season 14, tryouts will be held at UMKC next month on July 21st. And at this point, despite flagging ratings its cast of winners includes only two true, bonafide success stories, Kelly Clarkson from Season One and Carrie Underwood from Season Four.

Success has proved far more fleeting for Cook and most of the winners of the other 11 Idol seasons.

For example Birmingham, Alabama’s Ruben Studdard – the winner of Season Two – has but a single concert appearance listed on his website at something called the Wolf Creek Jazz Series in Atlanta. And to borrow from Hudnall, has anybody given much thought (or even remember) Season Three winner Fantasia Barrino (even though Forbes estimates she took down $1.5 million last year)?

Season Five winner Taylor Hicks landed a pretty decent residency gig in Vegas two years ago, but while it may be a decent paycheck ($2.5 million in 2013 earnings), for it hardly makes him a household word. Ditto for Season Six winner, hottie Jordin Sparks, who’s nowhere to be found on the Forbes list and has a goose egg where live appearances are concerned on her website.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson

Among the more notable Idol also rans, Clay Aiken from Season two, bumped around the pop culture circuit for several years prior to a controversial National Enquirer story in 2006:

“In our new issue hitting newsstands today, The National Enquirer is publishing shocking photos which may finally force Clay Aiken to come out of the closet!” it began. “Standing proudly in front of an internet camera, the former American Idol star apparently sheds his clothes until he is literally butt-naked. The man who supplied us with the images — a 22-year-old homosexual school teacher — says Aiken performed the crude striptease in a bid to solicit him for sex via a gay website.”

In Aiken’s latest quest to capitalize on his Idol fame he’s launched a bid for Congress in North Carolina where he won a closely contested Democratic primary race.

Only Chris Daughtry, a runner up on Season Five seems to have actually attained a halfway consistent financial entertainment after life, following a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with more than four million in sales. He’s currently on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls.


Which brings us back to David Cook who has continued to hang on with club dates at venues like Knuckleheads in Kansas city’s East Bottoms, a current tour at a handful of Navy bases in Europe and a smattering of appearances that range from free to high school to a half dozen dates in America’s retirement capital, South Florida.

Cook is touting a third studio album due out in late summer, although it’s unclear who will release it post his getting dropped by RCA Records two years back.

“He’s overcome tough odds before!” Perez Hilton wrote at the time. “After completing his two album commitment with RCAAmerican Idol star David Cook faces the daunting task of going at it alone. The record company has opted NOT to resign him.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 12.49.35 PMThankfully, Idol invites past winners to perform on the show often enough that David won’t need to start filling out applications at Burger King just yet.”

Unfortunately, for the first time since his 2008 win, Cook dropped off of Forbes list of Top Earning American Idols for 2013, after placing 10th in 2012 at $1 million.

Unfortunately, those earnings numbers can be misleading, Forbes explains:

“Older graduates of the show no longer have to worry about handing back most of their earnings to Idol, but more recent winners must turn over about half of their income—before paying any remaining agents, managers and attorneys, not to mention Uncle Sam.”

For 2013 Forbes list was topped by Carrie Underwood at $31 million with an increasingly chubby Kelly Clarkson in 2nd with $7 million.

Jennifer Hudson and Katharine McPhee take Cook’s place at the bottom of Forbes’ list with $1 million in earnings and while Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson – who doesn’t even appear to have a website yet – will release his debut album Testify on August 12th.

So while the days of Idol ruling the television ratings roost are in the rearview mirror – for now at least – one thing remains clear, TV reality show wins can only take you so far.

And with currently Cook basing out of Nashville it will be interesting to see how that influence plays out in his forthcoming new music.

81bxmLO8XjL._SL1000_On a personal note, I was reminded the other night by a radio station exec about another win by Cook’s group Axium at the Olathe club Orlando’s a couple years before Idol. That’s where Fox 4 movie critic Shawn Edwards and I picked his former alt rock band Axium as the winner of a local band battle.

At that stage of the game Cook was a million miles from playing “dreamboat” for middle aged women and pre teen girls. And it might be a good move for him to drop the bedroom eyes album cover schtick and return to his grittier roots as a legit musician, rather than a PR-produced hunk.

At this point, what does he have to lose?

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38 Responses to Hearne: Forbes Drops David Cook From 2013 “Top Earning Idols” List, New Album Coming Later This Summer

  1. Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

    “The man who supplied us with the images — a 22-year-old homosexual school teacher — says Aiken performed the crude striptease in a bid to solicit him for sex via a gay website.”

    They have homosexual schools? Weird.

    • the dude says:

      I knew them libs was teachin’ people to be gay and stuff, I had no idea they they had schools fer it!!!

  2. harley says:

    right hearne….young kids with no venue to show their talents and you come up
    with this crappy story.
    Jennifer Hudson…great future and past…Oscar…golden globes…bet awards..
    we have not seen the end of this huge star…probably now at 2-3 million
    a pic….wtf were you thinking????????
    underwood/Clarkson/sstoddard/daughtry (showcased big vegas show)…
    wtf are you talking about.
    that greek guy (can’t remember his name) he’s even doing well….
    taylor hicks….2.5 million…..are you serious….for a guy who came off the
    street of Memphis…..wtf are youthinking.
    fantasia….had a great run.
    And that time you were talking about Marilyn maye who got stiffed
    at jardines…or the indian broad who ran that joint….what they make
    $500 a week???????
    You ‘re so ignorant that even without a major release these artists
    can make 500K a year…
    ask glaze how many of his comics make that kind of money????
    again…lifting a story is so old fashioned hearne…do some research…
    these kids came from nowhere….worked their a## es off….dreamed a dream…
    and they did something.
    you …..watched the bank book and the stock market and never had a dream
    or a wish or a job that required more than sitting at starbucks pulling down
    those who had a desire and drive to do something.
    David cook: instead of beating the guy down youshould be holdinghim
    upto your daughters as a man who came from nowhere…had a great run..
    but never quit…never gave up…and continues to do well with something he
    loves. He was a winner. Will always be a winner.
    stop the crap!!!!!!
    these weren’t prodigys…they were contestants out of 1 million people who
    got thru to become big names.

    • admin says:

      You really shouldn’t hit the bars so heavy this early in the day.

      You really think Idol screened a million people to find David Cook?

      I’m just trying to keep readers abreast of the comings and goings a very high profile local.

      Everybody wants to cover people like Cook when they’re flying high and then they’re forgotten.

      I’m not the one dictating his successes and.or failures, I’m only reporting on them.

      Get it?

      I’m not here to try and put a positive or negative spin on things.

  3. harley says:

    by the way hearne…you’re wrong again…American idol is the largest grossing
    money tv show ever.
    get over it. It’s still got an audience.
    ask coca cola/ford/t mobile….they’re paying more money than ever for that
    get some facts…then come make some sense…til then….come to me for
    information…Harley knows all!!!!!!

    • admin says:

      They’re still alive, you’re right, H.

      However, the show is coming off of its lowest ratings ever.

      The first part of the season finale earlier this year drew only 6.6 million viewers – done from the 30 million they regularly drew in past years. And 38 million people tuned into to watch Ruben Studdard wipe the floor with Clay Aiken in the Season Two finale.

      Key major Idol sponsor AT&T bailed after the 12th season.

      “All of these factors have contributed to the first instance where “Idol” could possibly end up in the red — or breaking even at best,” Billboard reports.

      • harley says:

        idol won’t break even…just like sports…one of the main
        advantages to having a tv show with that large an audience
        is that you get to promote new shows…new series…new
        talent….and get the word out on new programming for
        your network.
        with ads in between the ads for ford/kia/coke/you’ll find
        dozens for new shows on fox that are worth their weight
        in gold.
        placement fees are also huge and I doubt they’re taken
        into account also. coke..got their glasses on the judges
        table….cell phone company Is tied into voting…weekly
        vignettes with contestants in a ford vehicle….plus probably
        about 10 other product placement items that earn the
        show millions that aren’t even counted in the gross
        take for the show.
        no…idol needs to retool….but they’re paying 15 million plus
        to the judges so they’ve got some big money invested.
        it will have to change or die…like every other show…but
        if they were smart they’d bring back simon.
        Plus hearne ….the money on the concert tour…the dollars
        from sales…the website revenues….the events….the
        royalties….I mean they’ve got every penny covered.
        again hearne….please don’t delve into something you know
        absolutely nothing about without some research on your
        you are becoming the epitome of the horrid writers you
        always complain and bitch about from the star.
        Harley will keep you straight….but please this cut
        and paste by you and wislun is becoming absurd.

  4. Janey says:

    No, it’s not easy being famous. And some that were famous might have found out that it’s not any fun either.

    But all of the musicians that have gone through the American Idol experience are much better off professionally and financially than they were before. Kris Allen is getting ready to release his next CD, Adam Lambert is currently on tour with Queen, Phillip Phillips is on the road promoting his current CD, and David Cook has just finished up 50 concert dates (all since Sept. 2013) before doing the Navy Entertainment/AFE Tour, and he will be gearing up for the next leg of his tour in late summer into winter (more dates to be added).

    It always surprises me when an artist doesn’t seem to get support from his home town press or music critics. Shame on you Kansas City.

    • the dude says:

      Don’t worry, hearne just likes to flog artists that don’t live up to his vision of how they should be.
      This too shall pass for Mr. Cook.

  5. Lolly says:

    You should be ashamed of yourself. We are KC and we should be proud and support artists who come from here. You just made us look like first class ass holes.
    Not all of KC feels like you and thank goodness for that.
    You also failed to mention that David Cook has been writing music in Nashville. He co wrote David Nail’s song “Kiss You Tonight.” By the way David Nail is from Missouri too. Don’t you want to bash him? Or is it only American Idol?
    All of the kids who have been on American Idol, have been given an opportunity to do something they probably would of never been able to do and that’s pretty cool.
    If you knew David Cook at all, you’d know he has always said the show was a springboard but the really hard work comes after. He has more class in his little finger than you have is your entire body.
    And in case you want to know, I’m a David Cook fan, from Blue Springs and proud of that. We Believe

    • Debbie says:

      Well said! I’m not from KC but thought it was a shame there wasn’t more support for a local in this article, glad you set that straight! We Believe is right!!

  6. Debbie says:

    Well, first off- Forbes list or not, David Cook is STILL successful. He just penned a top selling country song for David Nail, is on tour in Europe currently, has been on tour in the US since last year with sell out shows and M&Gs, and most importantly, he has a DEDICATED fanbase who continue to support him and make him a success. His new music is fantastic and his true fans (and there’s plenty of us) LOVE the sound and cannot wait for the new album.

    Its not always about some stupid list or some TV show that had the luck of having him on it. The man is happy, doing what he loves- making music, and has still managed to keep his fans just as happy as he is. I will continue to support this man and his music for as long as his music is around and him even longer. He is one of the nicest, most genuine, honest and down to earth people one can ever have the pleasure of talking to.

    Sounds like success to me.

    • Jennifer says:

      Could not have said it any better myself Debbie. David is a person that cares more about putting out good QUALITY music, than just to be putting music out there just to make money! Not only is he a genuinely gifted artist, but anyone that has actually met the man can attest that he is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He truly appreciates and cares about his fans and you can’t say that about too many artists. Not to mention all the charity work he does! He is one of the most underrated artists out there, but I, too, will always be a fan and supporter of his work! Success is not just measured in $ signs. It’s also measured in the love and respect you receive from others. That alone, makes him one of the richest people alive!

  7. @rascalete says:

    Mr Christopher It may seem to you that you are only reporting on American Idol. To me it seems like you are jealous of David Cook and all of the contestants who are making the most of their opportunity. I am a David Cook fan and have followed him for the last 6 1/2 years. He has never tried to take advantage of his position. He works very hard and appreciates his fans. That alone is not what makes him popular. He is a talented artist & musician, composes music and is willing to work hard and never give up on his dreams. That to me is a real “STAR”

  8. @rascalete says:

    Just wanted to add.
    I bet David Cook is happy to not have his personal finances put in the news for all to see. I know I would not and bet you, Mr. Christopher would not either.

  9. rkcal says:

    Wow, Hearne……women read your articles.

  10. Jim a.k.a. BWH says:

    Good googly-moogly, Hearne. You certainly struck a nerve with the soccer moms! How dare you! David Cook has made extraordinary music like……….ummmm……well….like, you know……that one song…….it goes like………hmmmmm……. Darn it, right on the tip of my tongue. And then there’s that other one that goes……something, something, something.

  11. mark smith says:

    I couldn’t tell you a single David Cook song, and the vast majority of people couldn’t either. Celebrity net worth says he is worth 5 million, not chump change by any stretch but it’s probably less than the total tour T shirt sales of any number of other pop stars, who I also remain blissfully ignorant of. His small but ardent fan base must google Cooks name and rush to his defense every time someone puts out a less than flattering article. Articles that are few and far between btw. As for Harley dressing down the hearnster while giving him a lesson on pop culture, we all know the h man has his Cheetos stained thumb on the pulse of the entertainment industry. As Gary Oldham will attest, the Jews run Hollywood and Harley is part of the tribe, even though they would prefer he wasn’t. I have it on good authority that Harley is actually Chris Crocker and he wants everyone to LEAVE BRITTNEY AND DAVID COOK ALOOOOOOOOOOOOONE….
    PS Is it racist and or misogynistic when Harley refers to Jardines former owner as “that Indian broad”?

    • the dude says:

      No, not at all when it comes to the gospel of ye harlinator.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Mark, I love Harley’s explanation of “old Indian broad;” he couldn’t remember her name AND she’s a loser.
      That’s called situational racism.
      You don’t know Harley’s real name, but you can’t reference “Jew” in your comments?
      Black losers, using Harley’s logic could be called WHAT? I guess if the black person in question is a LOSER, the N word would be perfectly acceptable, or also, if you just can’t remember his / her name.
      The boy has a dizzying intellect, all his own.
      But never forget, he’s ALWAYS right.
      Except claiming the had a SECOND story coming the week after his first that would blow our socks off.
      No second story makes Harlis……WRONG!

  12. paulwilsonkc says:

    Musicians and artist largely do what they do for the love of it. Some of the most accomplished musicians in this town play their hearts out for three hours and, at the end of the night, split $2-300 for their efforts. Some in the busker category, play on street corners for whatever winds up in the bucket, only for the love of their art.
    David was a close friend of my nieces at UCM, all around good guy, loves his craft and, regardless of who’s right or wrong on his pay days or net worth, he’s living HIS dream and that of many others who will never see it played out at those venues.
    I don’t know an artist who measures their contentment on anything close to what Forbes says. We have world class people here in town doing it for the love, not the list.
    You have to adjust your world view of success when it comes to these people, it’s not always net worth.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      Spot on perfessur!

      Cook probably hurt his career with Idol. A stank is placed on the contestants by the uber-hip who think artists should toil and suffer.

      My old friend, Steve Goodman (happy birthday, miss you), was PO’d at David Alan Cole for how he recorded You Never Even Call Me By My Name. Cole sang it as if he was the one who told Steve of the much-needed-verse.

      He would rail and rant until John Prine told him, Yeah, you ought to be pissed at him. SOB made you a fortune with that song.

  13. Terri says:

    Not sure what David Cook ever did to you for you to constantly look for reasons to tell us how poorly he is doing in the music industry, but I will bet he is doing better than he ever dreamed before he made Idol.

    Kelly Clarkson has gotten increasingly chubby because she was pregnant, just had a baby 2-3 weeks ago. I guess if you can’t attack her music success, attack her looks, all is fair in snark.

    • harley says:

      now that hearne’s wife has got him on shrimp chow mein he can
      make fun of other peoples weight.
      seen glaze lately….maybe he could use some of hearne’s better
      half cooking for a month or so.
      whatever the case…the freaking idiot says cook “only did 5 million”..
      tjats abot 4.95 million more than this skanky old worthless old
      dog did. 5 million….not bad for a former bar singer.
      smith…you’re a rat’s ass for making those comments.
      as far as the jews…yes we run Hollywood…we run the world and that’s
      why guys like youo are at the bottom of the barrel.
      the indian broad….couldn’t remember her name but she was a
      loser…had wislun actually made good on his false words maybe the
      joint would be open.
      both smith and wislun are wanna bes….
      smith..check out my comments…prove me wrong d*k face. You can’t
      …because Harley again is right. The numbers..the take…the promotions…
      you can’t prove Harley wrong so you turn to the childish and regular
      secular attacks.
      prove me wrong wislun…smith and hearne. get some facts…then see
      that Harley is right again!!!!!

      • admin says:

        Try reading a little closer

        Forbes reports that a big percentage of Idols money the first few years goes to the show. Plus agents, taxes, etc.

        Cook took down an estimated $1 million in 2012 and fell off the chart in 2013.

        If after all was said and done he cleared six figures in 2012, you’re right, that’s pretty good for a bar band.

        But we don’t know exactly, so we have to go with what’s being reported. And that’s that his second album stiffed and the record company dropped him. he had to sell his “mansion” in Hollywood and his estimated earnings before it was whittled down to his cut trended downward every year until it no longer made the cut for the Top 10 Idols.

        And that he’s gone from arenas and theaters to clubs.

        School ain’t out tip the bell rings, so he well could come back and soar to new heights. He’s a good guy, so here’s hoping that’s what happens.

        Meanwhile I think I’m semi wasting everybody’s time – including mine – explaining the obvious to you H Man.

      • mark smith says:

        Hearne’s wife has him on chow mein? His Asian wife. Wow. And you have the nerve to call Chuck a racist? You want facts? You cant handle the facts. Fact is you are teetering on the edge of total mental collapse. You are just a few jabs away from spending your days in a rubber room , molding your own poop into fruit roll ups. Frankly, I think you are about as Jewish as Tony Botello is a Mennonite. Here’s another fact for you sport…for all your big talk, or as we in the real world call it, delusions, not a single, solitary person believes a single syllable that spews from your internet blow hole. One more thing, I pay taxes, the same taxes that furnish the mental disability checks which allow you to live in a cramped studio in north eastern JoCo. Seeing as how you are living off my sweat, Id appreciate it if you just said ,Thank You, and leave it at that. Tell Leo and Affleck hey next time you are swinging with them in “Vegas”.

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Im really starting to love me some Mark Smith! HOME RUN, dude.

          • Goose13 says:

            Hearne, this is to be one of the Top 10 response’s ever. You should have a Top 10 list of response’s at the end of the year. (Can’t remember if you have one already.) As they say, Classic!

  14. CG says:

    I met him, Cook, liked him, thought he had talent. Who the hell knows these days. No real way to get your music out there anymore, save reality type tv shows and well that’s bout it…sad…the guy likely has the chops just bad luck. Bad luck to get there and still not be there. I should know…its a tough road. I pull for him.

  15. harley says:

    In the end here’s what the result is.
    1. Cook made big bank. whether you like his music or not..he can walk into the
    doors of any label and get a look. How many millions of potential stars wish they
    had that ability.
    2. cook made millions. He’s got a long time to make music. And isn’t his job
    seem a lot better than selling boxes…working in the 100 degree heat digging
    ditches like chuck…and even working 9-5 waiting for that social security check
    to come like the majority of kcc readers do now.
    3. to get to the top..like cook did…hearne stated that they couldn’ t have
    gone thru a million peple. 14 years x 7 cities per year=98 audition stops.
    Did you see the thousands ( some cities reported 40,000 people showed
    for auditions) and if you saw the video in the larger cities the numbers were
    higher for people waiting for auditions. Add in the you tube audition tapes…
    lets say 100,000…and the same fool who tried to prove the plaza lights
    only gets 50k to the ceremony again shows he’s a know nothing. Figure the
    numbers…I know its hard hearne without a calculator ) but I’m sure a lot
    more than a million have auditioned for the show. Even with the other
    3 talent shows…American idol still gets tens of thousands of auditions…so
    in other words …stfu.
    AI is a hugesuccess. 38 million votes onsome shows. The free coverage the
    network gets every week is unbelievable. Every major entertainment show
    reports on the results…I’m guessing 5 million dolars in free publicity per
    season. And then they get to promote their new shows. That’s worth its
    weight in gold. Hearne you know nothing…nothing…about the workings
    of the tv industry. You came up short again. You didn’t even mention all these
    added values. Ad even with 7 million viewers…advertisers still love this show.
    ask Verizon/cell phone companies….ask ford…ask dodge…ask pepsi or
    coke….sure it needs a new look and format…but you know nothing about
    what this show actually does. And spending 45-60 millionon just the
    judges shows you this is still a money making machine..not to mention the
    revenues from the tour/the recording contracts/fees/agent charges etc…
    again face plant for hearne. \
    smith/wislun….two big mouths with nothing! heres my bet …get $10,000 cash…
    put in escrow. Bring your tax appraisal/or we get appraiser of your choice…
    one with highest priced house takes all. Are you in or out. We know where
    wislun lives and he hasn’t a chance. the art in my house is worth more than his
    apartment. smith…you’re a loud mouth. Bring it on boys..or i’ll shut you up
    Idolsis a made for tv winner. 14 years dudes…how many shows last that long
    today. Not many if any. Yet it still draws the ink and audience.
    and the sponsors. So before you shoot your mouths off again…look at what
    I just wrote and add that all up and AI with some tweaks can last longer.
    And rremember…before youwrite onsomething you know nothing about..
    especially “nofacts/just b.s.” wislun contact me to get the real data and
    information so you don’t look like you just had a pie thrown in your face.
    For some of the old seniors on here…that might be an appearance improvement.
    thanks..always willing to help correct the mistakes of the senior moments.

    • the dude says:

      Shut the hell up idiot.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      With FULL CREDIT to Mark Smith;

      Hearne’s wife has him on chow mein? His Asian wife. Wow. And you have the nerve to call Chuck a racist? You want facts? You cant handle the facts. Fact is you are teetering on the edge of total mental collapse. You are just a few jabs away from spending your days in a rubber room , molding your own poop into fruit roll ups. Frankly, I think you are about as Jewish as Tony Botello is a Mennonite. Here’s another fact for you sport…for all your big talk, or as we in the real world call it, delusions, not a single, solitary person believes a single syllable that spews from your internet blow hole. One more thing, I pay taxes, the same taxes that furnish the mental disability checks which allow you to live in a cramped studio in north eastern JoCo. Seeing as how you are living off my sweat, Id appreciate it if you just said ,Thank You, and leave it at that. Tell Leo and Affleck hey next time you are swinging with them in “Vegas”.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Oh, one other thing, Asshat, you have no idea where I live. Hearne does, and it’s not where you think. You don’t do your own homework and fall for the bait when it’s put in front of you intentionally just to make you look stupid.
      Check your own “facts” gernalust major.
      I don’t need to compare appraisals, your SureWest provider KNOWS where you live.

  16. balbonis moleskine says:

    Why the axe to grind? How did he cross the mighty scarecrow? Refuse to provide proper stargazing quotes?

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