The next American Idol is just one day from being announced — and it's down to Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett, and Maddie Poppe. But what does the winner of the reality singing competition get? While we know their name will go down in history, they will also be walking away with a huge crash prize.
According to Bustle, along with a record deal with Hollywood Records and a (hopefully) hit single, the winner will also be awarded $250,000 cash. This is not as much as past seasons of the show. In 2009, winner Kris Allen earned $650,000 from the show. Either way, it's still a lot more than the usual $100,000 to $150,000 advance most new artists are given. However, there are some strings attached.
American Idol contracts can potentially bind the winner to American Idol for up to seven years — twice as much as a standard contract per The New York Times. Before the reboot, producers issued a statement about the contracts, explaining, "With American Idol, we have deliberately structured these agreements to ensure that artists can cross the threshold of success, and that they have all the support necessary to achieve their dreams."
You don't have to be a winner to walk away with a prize. Contestants are paid about $1,000 per hour show or roughly $1,500 for a two-hour episode, meaning that a Top 5 finalist can earn $10,000 in performance fees over the season. And don't forget about the American Idol Live Tour — where contestants can also earn thousands of dollars.
Unfortunately, past winners have spoken out about the contracts, with Kelly Clarkson revealing she was forced to star in From Justin to Kelly after winning the first season of the show. "[Justin Guarini] really wanted to do a movie. And I really didn’t want to do a movie," she said at the time. "I was like, ‘It would be really super cool if I got second and you got first, because the winner has to do the movie and the second one doesn’t.'"
In 2015, winner Phillip Phillips also filed a legal claim against AI to escape his "oppressive" contract. "I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol," he said. "The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me. However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with. I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans."
Congrats to the winner?