Viewership for Fox’s American Idol has declined during the past few seasons, which means this year’s runner-up, Jessica Sanchez, could see a smaller paycheck than the show’s previous second-place contestants.
In past seasons of Idol, contestants finishing second have been awarded the opportunity of recording an album, The Associated Press reports. The album deal came with a royalties advance of around $175,000. This year, however, Sanchez will be paid according to the number of singles she’s asked to record. Under these terms, the 16-year-old crooner could earn as little $30,000 off her recordings.
According to Northwestern University assistant professor Max Dawson, the new payment structure makes sense considering Idol’s fallen ratings. Dawson teaches a class on reality TV.
“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,” Dawson told the AP. “These contracts don’t pay off,” he added. “It seems like the successes that people like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have had are the flukes.”
Sanchez will have additional opportunities to make money from her Idol success. She’ll be paid $50,000 to lend her likeness to a Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) World Resort attraction, the AP said.
Phillip Phillips, the winner of this season’s Idol will earn a $300,000 advance for the completion of his first album. That is the same amount that last year’s winner, Scotty McCreery, received.