It is hard to fathom that a prestigious show like American Idol known for providing a platform to normal people can end up in controversies of being expensive beyond capabilities. With several contestants in line and well know alums of the show, the continuous seasons achieved booming fame and recognition. However, it has come to notice that the show is struck down by several ex-contestants who complained about the internal politics and financial gamble that goes on backstage. 

American Idol
American Idol the talent-hunting show

With head-scratching news coming up, people are left to wonder if the contestants are paid enough and what the entire journey to Hollywood feels like. Richard Rushfield wrote a book in 2011, stating the untold journey of the contestants of American Idol. Breaking down the financial gamble of the show, the book revealed the truth behind the scenes. 

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American Idol And The Financial Gamble Of Contestants

American Idol is like a talent pool that attracts contestants from all over to compete and captivate the audience. Well-known celebrities like Kelly Clarkson and Todrick Hall, two of the most famous American Idol contestants, make audiences wonder about the glam and fame of the show. People simply ponder what it feels like to get a golden ticket like them or whether the show is even worth their time and trouble.

Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson the American Idol winner

Breaking down the shine and hyper realistic aura of the show, Richard Rushfield, the Vanity Fair editor wrote a book in 2011. Namely, American Idol: The Untold Story lifts the veil of the superficial star-making show and exposes the reality of its expenses and perks. It is hard to fathom that a talent-hunting show, that has been around for decades can be so expensive. 

The cost of the show is evidently so high that the pressure of competing usually vanishes for the contestants and the financial hurdle appears. According to Rushfield, the show makes their contestants travel to different places for auditions which creates difficulty for some due to lack of proper finances. Due to the high expenses, despite being a deserving contestant, “Some can’t afford to and drop out” Rushfield mentions. 

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Perks Of Being On American Idol And The Controversies 

People stop to wonder if the entire financial gamble is worth it. Earning a shot and traveling from one place to another for auditions can pay off well for some, however, for most, the chance rarely appears. David Archuleta, one of the contestants who traveled to different places, played the costly gamble and it finally paid him off. According to Forbes, Archuleta’s success in the show helped him earn $1.8 million in a year. 

Richard Rushfield
Richard Rushfield exposes the reality of American Idol

For most people, the end seems too far, especially because of the bumpy road that awaits. Becoming a finalist is a long process, what comes in between is the concern about food and residence, while visiting different places. Breaking down the glamour of the show, Rushfield mentioned, the privileges are only available to the finalists, that too based on the season and sponsorships. The family members of the contestants and finalists are never included in the expense list, thus making it problematic for many to travel alone. 

Adding the point of clothing, as mentioned by the Vanity Fair editor, “they get like $450 a week to spend on whatever they want”. Although they get to keep the clothes for themselves, most contestants can barely afford anything within the stipend. Thus, ultimately it is concluded that the wardrobe expenses along with the travel and lodging expenses are too high for most to afford. And finally, the Idols of the show can rarely make a sustainable career which makes their public appearances pretty short-lived, except for a few. 

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Source: The Things

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