American Idols Earn the Big Bucks

A reporter from the New York Times got a hold of the Idol contracts from last year, and is reporting a breakdown of the earnings for the Idol Top 12.  Read it here:


  • Kris has earned $650, 000*
  • Winners have never failed to earn $1M in the year or so after the contest
  • Top 5 earn close to $100K from the show*
  • Top 10 several thousand dollars.*
  • Contract binds contestant to pay 15 percent of his earnings, not including those from recording and merchandising contracts, a manager’s fee. Contract is for 3 years, 19 continues to collect for 10 years for some of the earnings

*Not including the summer tour

Kris Allen:

  • an advance of $350, 000 for his first album, exclusive of recording costs, half of it paid soon after the competition ended and half when he finished recording.
  • Disney paid Mr. Allen $100, 000 to turn to a camera and shout, “I’m going to Disney World”
  • He stood to earn another $100, 000 for spending a day filming scripted dialogue segments for use in the attraction and for taping a vocal performance for the Walt Disney World Christmas Parade television show.
  • received a $100, 000 advance on royalties from a three-year merchandising contract, which gives 19 Entertainment the right to use his image to promote goods and services.

Adam Lambert:

  • Earned $300, 000 in advance royalties for his album,
  • $75, 000 merchandising contract
  • $50, 000 in fees from Disney World for the Idol Experience attraction.

Top 12 contestants:

  • receive a one-time payment of $1, 000 and a $1, 000 advance on royalties for each iTunes recording.
  • group number performance fees under the union contract with Aftra.
  • Aftra contract pays the artists from $1, 011 for a one-hour show to $1, 540 for a two-hour episode,
About mj santilli 34698 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!