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How Much Do American Idol Contestants Make?

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Despite the fact that American Idol is the hottest thing on television every season, there certainly is some question about just how ‘big’ a winner will become. The first year after your win is crucial… and can sometimes end up being the most lucrative.

Not long ago The NY Times  did an interesting article that gives the skinny on American Idol, and just how lucrative (or not) it can be. It begins with a swipe at former winner Taylor Hicks, saying that the current contestants are probably not dreaming of playing Teen Angel on a touring production of ‘Grease’ in Milwaukee three years from now. (That’s what Taylor Hicks was doing at the time, which isn’t exactly shameful, but probably not the summit a music hopeful aspires to.) personal note: I met Taylor Hicks once while working on an interview with him, and he referred to himself as ‘The Soul Patrol’ more than once, which I understand they called him on the series, but I kept thinking how weird that he was still clinging to that expression years later. It’s like saying you used to play football, but that was in high school, and now you’re forty years old.

But I digress… here’s some of the fun numbers:

Kris Allen, last year’s winner, has earned at least $650,000 from “American Idol,” according to contracts that last season’s contestants signed with the show’s producers during the competition.

That amount reflects the minimum a winner would earn. Including performance fees and merchandising royalties from the “American Idol” tour, as well as other opportunities, winners have never failed to earn less than $1 million in the year or so after the contest, people close to the show say.

It goes on later to say:

Mr. Allen, last year’s winner, earned 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. His self-titled first album sold 80,000 copies in its first week of release last fall — disappointing for an “Idol” winner — and 260,000 in its first three months, according to Mr. Allen’s Web site, krisallenofficial.com.

An Idol winner’s riches extend beyond the recording contract. Last year the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida opened “The American Idol Experience,” an interactive attraction.

To promote it, Disney paid Mr. Allen $100,000 to turn to a camera and shout, “I’m going to Disney World” after winning the competition and to visit the park, according to the contracts. 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.

It remains to be seen what will become of Kris Allen after a few years. For every huge success (Carrie Underwood, and Kelly Clarkson to some extent) there is a Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks. Still, it seems you don’t have to ‘win’ to win. Case in point: Chris Daughtry who are doing just fine without the crown, thank you very much. (And Jennifer Hudson, the most obvious winner in this saga.)

Update: Recently there has been increased interest in how much money the 10 contestants who qualify  for the summer American Idol tour will make.

A USA TODAY article from 2007 did not mention specifics, but provided some insight:

That accomplishment, which gets far less attention than making the top 24 or final 12, carries greater benefits: the chance to perform before arena audiences, develop fan bases and earn a six-figure payday.

Recently, TMZ obtained a copy of the contestants’ contract… and here’s how it breaks down:

The winner gets $175,000 when he/she starts recording and another $175,000 when that person produces the first album.

Second album: Between $275,000 and $550,000.
Third album: $325,000 and 650,000.
Fourth album: $375,000 – $750,000.
Fifth album: $450,000 – $900,000.
Sixth album: $500,000 – $1 million.

The second place finisher gets $150,000 when he/she starts recording their first album and another $150,000 upon delivery. The second album gets the runner-up between $225,000 and $450,000.

If the label signs the  third through 12th place contestants, they each get $100,000 when they start recording  their first album and another $100,000 upon delivery.

Additional information obtained via TMZ and POPEATER.

So there you have it… six figures. Not too shabby for people who until the show were complete unknowns. (And some still in high school!)

Going back to Jennifer Hudson – the truest reminder that  NOT winning isn’t a death sentence! The season three contestsant  was prematurely ousted –  but perservered,  beating out   more than 700 actresses for the role of Effie in Dreamgirls, winning an Oscar, and eventually  launched herself into a full fledged film star – and multimillionaire.  Now, as the new, skinny celeb spokesperson for Jenny Craig, she is even more  gorgeous… and even more rich.

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Lee Daniels Speaks Out On The ‘Pain, Anger, Sadness And Frustration’ Surrounding The Jussie Smollett Scandal

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Although never mentioned by name, it’s clear that Empire creator, Lee Daniels, is still processing “the freaking roller coaster” Jussie Smollett has put him through.

Lee Daniels took to Instagram on Wednesday night to speak out about the Jussie Smollett scandal. The caption to the video states that Lee was “in [his] feelings last week,” alluding to the further developments surrounding the case. In the video, after brushing his teeth, Lee takes a moment to address the fact that Jussie is still appearing in new episodes of the hit show because they were filmed prior to “the incident.” In the wake of the allegations, the show has released a statement confirming the fact that Jussie has been written out of the last two episodes of the season. Lee’s pain and frustration stems from something deeper than character arcs as he told his followers “this is not what the show was made for. This show was made to bring America together to talk about the atrocities that are happening right now in the streets.”

On January 29th, Jussie made claims that he was the victim to a racially-motivated attack. After an extensive investigation, Chicago police believe that the alleged attack was fake. Since being charged, Jussie has pleaded not guilty on 16 felony counts for allegedly making false statements to police. Jussie also denies claims that he faked the ordeal due to his dissatisfaction with his salary. No word on whether Jussie will return to Empire next season as of yet.

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Dan And Eugene Levy Announce That Next Season Of ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Will Be It’s Last

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Well ain’t this some real, sad Schitt…

Very few television shows gain popularity over time which is why I am astonished by the news that Schitt’s Creek will be ending after next season! It’s got charm. It’s got wit. It’s got heart. Not to mention outstanding performances by LITERALLY everyone in the cast. Ugh, I’m more upset than a disgruntled pelican.

I guess we should all take comfort in knowing that the show is ending on the terms of  co-creators (and stars) Dan Levy and Eugene Levy. Just moments ago they released an official statement announcing their renewal for a 6th and final season. In the statement they express their gratitude for being given “the time and creative freedom to tell this story in its totality, concluding with the final chapter that [they] had envisioned from the very beginning.”

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To Our Dear Fans…

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Over the course of it’s five seasons, Schitt’s Creek has been praised by fans and critics alike for their hysterical yet positive storylines. Dan Levy, whose character is identifies as pansexual, has been clear since the show’s beginning that the world of Schitt’s Creek is a tolerant one that is free of bias and homophobia. I can’t tell you how many times I laughed and then snot-cried on my couch while watching this show!

There are three more episodes of season 5 of Schitt’s Creek to still be aired with a final fourteen episodes airing sometime in 2020. Seventeen episodes doesn’t seem like nearly enough time for a proper bereavement to deal with this Schitt-y news but I guess we will have to make do.

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QUESTION: Did You Know Cole Sprouse Could Sing?!?

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All those years on Disney and never once did we see Cole Sprouse belt out a few bars but now the bruiting teenager suddenly wants to sing?!

You know Cole Sprouse. He was on Friends as Ross’ son, Ben. He was in the Adam Sandler hit, Big Daddy. He and his twin brother, Dylan, even starred as the titular roles in the Disney channel original series, The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody. I can’t tell you which one is which because the twin thing has always confused me.

Nevertheless, Cole has grown up quite a bit and is now starring in the wildly popular, CW hit Riverdale. The series is a dark twist on the old Archie comic books and Cole plays the social outcast, Jughead Jones. Last night was the show’s second annual musical episode and this time they paid homage to Heathers: The Musical. Jughead didn’t so much as hum one note in last years musical so fans were SHOOK when he had an entire duet with co-star Lili Reinhart last night! The pair sang a beautiful rendition of “Seventeen” along with Vanessa Morgan and Madelaine Petsch…which is surprising because no of us knew that Cole could sing!

Of Cole’s hidden talent, showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa  said “Cole and I talked about it a while ago and I said, ‘How do you feel about musicals and stuff?’ He basically said, ‘Listen, I never sang for Disney. It would take a lot.’” This might be a new avenue in Cole’s career, however, as he sings in his new movie Five Feet Apart as well. Well color me surprised! Good job hiding this suite talent, Cole!

Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesdays at 8p EST.

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