Embed from Getty ImagesRemember media reports that former American Idol band member, Rickey Minor was in talks to return to the show? I can confirm that the deal fell through. Yesterday, a member of Rickey’s band confirmed that he’ll be leading the band on FOX’s new upstart competition reality show, The Four.
“Going back to work with @RickeyMinor and the band this year!” writes band member Teddy Campbell on Twitter, “#TuneIn to @TheFourOnFOX this Thursday night!”
— Teddy Campbell (@TeddyCampbell) January 3, 2018
A source tells me that Rickey was all set to return to American Idol, until they took another look at their budget. The show let the esteemed band leader go and instead will employ a “very small live band with backing tracks.”
After securing the services of pop star Katy Perry for 25 million dollars, the show had to up the ante to seat fellow celebrities Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie next to her. Also, luring host Ryan Seacrest back into the fold also took some extra negotiating on Idol’s part. Budget blown!
According to a report from Page Six, after Katy’s big pay day was announced, Luke and Lionel expected something similar:
“ABC was originally going to spend no more than $50 million on talent. They had to expand their budget for Lionel.”
“The negotiations with Luke and Lionel have been fraught and difficult because of [Katy’s paycheck]. They expected similar deals to Katy, but are, in fact, getting a hell of a lot less. In the end, ABC had to cough up a second round of money to sign the other judges.”
“Idol” initially offered Richie and Bryan a measly $2.5 million each to take the gig, but the offended singers demanded more, and refused to sign their deals, which postponed ABC’s big talent announcement. “As of last week, their contracts were not done. Sherwood authorized ABC to cough up more money. They’re both making about $7 million each now…”
I have to say, Rickey not returning to American Idol is a pretty big disappointment. He was instrumental in bringing live music to the competition. Even worse, is American Idol introducing backing tracks back into the mix. It cheapens the entire enterprise. If they hope to go toe to toe with shows like The Voice, this is not the way to do it. Additionally, losing Rickey to an upstart like The Four is not a good look.
The Four’s six week run on FOX begins tomorrow night (Jan 4). American Idol premieres on ABC Sunday March 11.