New American Idol Runner-up Contract Allows for Lower Payouts, Singles Only Deals

AMERICAN IDOL: Idol Finaist Jessica Sanchez performs during the season 11 AMERICAN IDOL GRAND FINALE at the Nokia Theatre on Weds. May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  CR: Michael Becker/FOX

According to an Associated Press report, the runner-up contract for season 11 makes a provision for a singles only situation for the first time in American Idol’s history.

Wednesday night’s runner-up, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, doesn’t have a definite shot at producing an album and could be paid as little as $30,000 in advances for recording singles, according to the “Idol” contract she and other Season 11 contestants signed earlier this year.

The agreement appears to be the first time in “Idol’s” history that producers are not offering the show’s runner-up an album deal that in previous years came with a guaranteed advance of at least $175,000, an Associated Press review of the Fox show’s contracts reveals.

If Jessica  is given an album deal (and I totally think she will)  she will receive the same $175,000 bonus that Lauren Alaina was paid last year.  But 19R  has replaced a guaranteed album deal for the runner-up with a staggered “Development Period” that requires less music and pays out less in advances.

Jessica  could be paid as little as $30,000 if she is asked to perform four single songs, or $60,000 if she records an “EP” of between four and 10 songs.

I didn’t realize the runner-up was offered a guaranteed recording contract, even though every 2nd place Idol has been awarded a contract and released an album. However, alternatives to an album deal have never been specifically laid out like they appear to be in this new contract.

Again, I don’t think Jessica will be relegated to releasing a couple of singles for UMG and 19R. She’s going to make an album, or I’ll eat my hat. So, don’t fret Jessica fans!

Jessica’s contract came to light due to her minor status.  California law requires that minor contracts be made available to the courts for review in order to setup a trust fund that will be available to the minor when they turn 18.  Last year, due to Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina’s minor status, we got a glimpse at the winner and runner-ups contracts.

ETA:  Phillip will get the same deal that Scotty McCreery got last year.  Contract details for the rest of the finalists are also revealed.

“Idol” winner Phillip Phillips will receive the same $300,000 advance given to last year’s winner, Scotty McCreery, upon completion of his first album, according to the contracts. Finalists who placed third and lower could receive deals to record singles, EPs or full albums, with the lowest advance amounting to $24,000 if they complete their commitment to record up to four single songs.

Higher advances are paid if 19 Recordings agrees to produce more albums, with Phillips eligible to receive up to $800,000 for a six-album deal.


About mj santilli 34035 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!