Last year’s winner, Kris Allen, has reportedly earned at least $650,000 from winning Idol, and it only goes up from there. Allen received $350,000 as an advance for his first album, and he continues to receive royalties from merchandising, performance fees and helping Disney promote their American Idol Experience attraction. Add it all up, and you get one wealthy winner, regardless of the (disappointing) sales of his album.
But you don’t have to win to make some major moolah—Adam Lambert pulled in $300,000 in advance royalties for his debut album, $75,000 for a merchandising contract, and $50,000 for joining Allen in the Disney World Idol Experience. (Hey, leather doesn’t come cheap, ya know, and Lambert certainly wears enough of it.)
Even the finalists in the Top 5 still can expect to rake in $100,000, and much more if Idol producers sign them to a record deal, which is exactly what happened with Allison Iraheta last season. And if you’re in the Top 12 and aren’t signed to a record contract, you can still earn a few thousand dollars by recording your Idol performance songs for iTunes.
It might seem like a lot of money to give to some contestants you probably can’t even remember at this point—one agent at a major talent agency told The Times, “I’m shocked that they give them that much money.” But we respect Idol producers for adequately paying the artists that make their show the giant moneymaker it is. Regardless of their singing talent, all of AI‘s contestants are TV personalities on the biggest show on the tube, and their participation deserves compensation, especially since competing on Idol becomes their full-time job.
The Times article has all the specific financial figures if you still cannot believe that Taylor Hicks has more money than you.
[Via New York Times]