Reflecting the waning fortunes of both the record industry and “American Idol,” the contract for the runner up on the show isn’t quite as generous as it’s been in the past.
In fact, runner-up Jessica Sanchez isn’t even guaranteed a record deal, according to Associated Press.
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 reveal.
“It makes sense. You can’t continue to offer the same sorts of rewards and incentives when the program was averaging 25 to 30 million (viewers), and (now) the finale is barely breaking 20 million,” said Northwestern University assistant professor Max Dawson, who teaches a course on reality television. Wednesday’s finale was the lowest-rated final show for Idol in its history.
“These contracts don’t pay off,” he said, contrasting the long list of Idol alumni who have been dropped by record labels with those who have thriving careers. “It seems like the successes that people like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have had are the flukes.”
Sanchez will probably get a contract, though, given how much Jimmy Iovine and the judges liked her. But even then, she could get as little as $30,000 in advances. Lauren Alaina received a guaranteed $175,000 advance for her album.
Winner Phillip Phillips of Leesburg will get the same $300,000 guarantee for an album.
And Phillips will be paid $200,000 for his Disney attraction work and Sanchez will rake in $50,000 for her appearances, according to AP. Both are also set to get a cut of merchandise profits.
Phillips, in the meantime, was supposed to have kidney surgery today for a chronic condition that creates painful kidney stones and nearly knocked him out of the competition, according to TMZ. But the surgery was postponed because he was running a high fever triggered by a bad sinus infection, so surgery has been pushed back to next week, TMZ said.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk