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Find Out How Much Money Your Favorite 'American Idol' Finalist Will Make! It's Not As Much As You Think!

Thu, May 13, 2010 1:04pm EDT by 4 Comments
Courtesy Of FOX

Courtesy Of FOX

Winning American Idol comes with a lot of perks, but not a ton of cash.

True, it is a springboard to instant name recognition and fame but the winners and runners-up aren’t necessarily raking in the big bucks, according to contracts obtained by TMZ. All three Idol finalists — Casey James, Crystal Bowersox or Lee DeWyze — could walk away from this competition with a six-figure record deal… but it will be a far cry from the millions we imagined they’d rake in.

According to the contracts, the Idol winner gets $175,000 when they start recording their first album and another $175,000 when they deliver that album. Here’s the cash breakdown for all subsequent albums (don’t forget, when you sign with Idol, they own you AND your music for the first 6 albums!)

Second Album: $275,000 – $550,000

Third Album: $325,000 – $650,000

Fourth Album: $375,000 – $750,000

Fifth Album: $450,000 – $900,000

Sixth Album: $500,000 – $1 million

The runner-up also gets $150,000 upon starting their album, and another $150,000 upon delivery. Just like the winner, the runner-up is compensated on a sliding scale for all subsequent albums. As for the third place winner? Well, they’re usually lucky just to get signed and avoid a fate of singing at wing bowls and graduation parties.