When “American Idol” launched eleven seasons ago, it was designed for only the winner to receive a recording contract; but as the seasons went on more and more singers were being signed to record contracts; some with rather large advances.
With few exceptions, the “winners” have achieved limited success with some seasons seeing the second, fourth, or even sixth place singer achieve far better success than the winners. Original winnerhas parlayed her win into three Grammy Awards and record sales that exceed 10 million copies; season two winner Ruben Studdard and season three winner Fantasia have had some success but nothing that has been sustainable. Season four winner has topped the 10 million record sales and earned herself a plethora of awards from the Grammy Foundation and the various country music award ceremonies. Season five’s has been rather successful but frequently out of the limelight. Season six winner , season seven winner David Cook, season eight winner , and season nine winner Lee DeWyze have been successful but nothing like Clarkson and Underwood. Season 10 winner country boy Scotty McCreery is well on his way to a very successful career but it is still too soon to tell how successful.
And as for this season’s winner Phillip Phillips, it is too soon to gage the height of his success; but Phillips did top the iTunes chart less than 24 hours after winning the title with his single “Home”.
Idol alumsand have been by far the most successful of contestants who did not win the competition. Daughtry’s debut album sold over five million copies and Hudson won not only an Academy Award for her performance in “Dreamgirls” but received a BAFTA Award as well. Season eight runner up has seen more success than his winning competitor.
One thing the singers signed from this past season will notice is that while they may go on to be successful, their early paychecks will be considerably lower than previous singers. While winner Phillip Phillips will receive the same $300,000 advance on his record contract; the $175,000 contracts for other singers have gone by the wayside. When Sanchez is signed – which hasn’t happened in the past five days – she will get less than $100,000 depending on whether she is signed to release singles or an entire album the figure could be as low as $30,000.
While it is unclear as to just exactly how much Idol judges, , and are being paid for their services; host is being paid $15 million to stand on stage, look cute, and announce the songs and who is safe or in the bottom.
“American Idol” saw a marked drop in viewership of over 20 percent in the past season with the finale drawing the lowest numbers since the show debuted – bringing in less than 20 million viewers. While viewers can vote an unlimited number of times and garner over 100 million votes in one show, those same viewers will purchase only one album or one copy of each single with limited repeat purchases for the same material; therefore the show must depend on non voting fans for increased album sales. Album advances are given out in anticipation of recouping the sales, but with the marked drop in past seasons, it is no surprise the offered advances will also decrease.