‘Idol’ Contracts Reveal Financial Terms for Contestants; Kris Allen Got at Least $650,000 from Show, Not Including the ‘Idol’ Tour

Feb 24, 2010  •  Post A Comment

Copies of last year’s contracts with “American Idol” contestants filed in a California state court give a glimpse into just how much money the top contenders can make, The New York Times reports.

Last year’s winner, Kris Allen, earned at least $650,000 from the show, the contracts showed, which is the minimum for a winner and doesn’t include any income from the “Idol” tour.

According to the Times’ story, "Including performance fees and merchandising royalties from the ‘American Idol’ tour, as well as other opportunities, winners have never failed to earn less than $1 million in the year or so after the contest, people close to the show say."

Finalists who reach the Top 5 this season are expected to win nearly $100,000 from the show before the tour, and could make three to four times that if they get a record deal from the show’s producers, the paper says, while the Top 12 contestants will make at least several thousand dollars.

The contracts were filed under laws that mandate entertainment-industry deals with minors be subject to court oversight. The show’s producer, 19 Entertainment, declined to discuss the details with The Times, but said the contracts were “deliberately structured […] to ensure that artists can cross the threshold of success, and that they have all the support necessary to achieve their dreams.”

–Elizabeth Jensen


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