The American Idol judges and host are making a lot of money - see below - but how about the contestants? Will it pay off for them?
Forbes did January 2015 a full top Idol earners list:
1. Carrie Underwood - $10 million
2. Kelly Clarkson - $8 million
3. Phillip Phillips - $5 million
4. Scotty McCreery - $3.5 million
5. Taylor Hicks - $3.5 million
6. Daughtry - $3 million
7. Adam Lambert - $2.5 million
8. Fantasia Barrino - $ 2 million
9. Kellie Pickler - $1 million
Wikipedia writes that the winner of the contest receives a record deal with a major label, which may be for up to six albums. The winner also secures a management contract with American Idol-affiliated 10 Management, as well as various lucrative contracts.
All winners prior to season nine reportedly earned at least $1 million in their first year. All runners-up of the first 10 seasons, as well as some other finalists, also received record deals with major labels.
However, starting season 11, the runner up may only be guaranteed a single-only deal. All top 10 finalists of seasons 10, 11 and 12 earned the privilege of going on tour, where the participants may each earn a six figure sum.
According to the Associated Press, a Los Angeles judge approved a record contract that paid 2011 Idol winner Scotty McCreery $250,000 for winning the contest and recording his first album.
2011 Runner-up Lauren Alaina received $87,500, which was doubled after recording her first album, Wildflower. Since both contestants were under the age of 18, the agreements needed to be approved by court.
All 2011 top 11 Idol finalists got paid $1,000 for every show they performed during the American Idol Live Tour, according to TMZ. In addition to the $1,000 per concert they share in the merchandise profits from the tour. They also receive $50 in spending cash for non-concert days.
Source: TMZ.com , TMZ.com, Associated Press, Forbes, Wikipedia