Leah Greenblatt
May 22, 2009 AT 10:40 PM EDT

Perhaps you’ve heard, dear readers, of a little TV talent contest that concluded this past Wednesday with the crowning of a pleasant young man from Conway, Arkansas.

But while a Rio Grande-sized river runs with the MAC mascara’d tears of devastated Adam Lambert fans– and our own Idolatry Yoda Michael Slezak puts forth the perverse idea that maybe a loss for Glambert isn’t so tragique after all — we turn our attention to seven other seasons of American Idol, and pose the question: Fresh as the Adam/Allen wounds may be, is this truly the most shocking upset in the show’s history? And is winning the prize, with its often-Draconian contract rules and responsibilities, more a burden than gift?

Think of Season 5 fourth-place finisher Daughtry: He might be crying softly into the enormous piles of money earned from his multiplatinum self-titled debut, otherwise known as the best-selling album of 2007. Or perhaps not. Meanwhile, that year’s winner Taylor Hicks schleps around the country playing Teen Angel in a touring production of Grease — and trying to get the once-mighty Soul Patrol to care about his largely ignored independent release, The Distance.

And while third-season champ Fantasia copes with being dropped by her Idol management for disappointing record sales, her fellow contestant Jennifer Hudson no doubt shakes a rageful fist at the heavens for her seventh-place finish every time she polishes her Oscar. And her Grammys. And her Golden Globe, her BAFTA, her multiple BET awards… 

You get the gist. Still, most Idol fans would agree that certain players were booted before their time, or unjustly robbed of the crown. Who are your picks, readers? And do you think they’ve suffered for their losses, or been better off because of it?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Is Chris Brown going country? And will Carrie Underwood join him?
‘Twilight’ star Jackson Rathbone to play a murderous Norwegian black-metaller
Beyonce’s new video for “Ego” — “Single Ladies” part deux?

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