Is there a really good reason why these children chase the dream of being the next American Idol, or at least getting into the Top 10?

Well, in some instances there are 8 million reasons … as in dollars.

According to Forbes magazine’s Top 10 AI earners in 2012, Kelly Clarkson is No. 1 after Carrie Underwood held the spot for two years in a row. Last year Clarkson made $8 million according to Forbes and Underwood was tied for second with Daughtry, each making a cool $5 million.

Scotty McCreery, who banked a pretty penny after touring with Brad Paisley, was No. 4 at $4 million and Jennifer Hudson rounded out the Top 5 with $3 million in earnings.

The second five, in order: 6. Jordan Sparks ($2 million); 7. Adam Lambert ($1.5 million); 8. (tie) Katharine McPhee and Kellie Pickler ($1.1 million apiece); and 10 (tie) David Archuleta and David Cook ($1 million each).

Six females and five males, kind of interesting considering the male dominance of late.