How much Idol’s Phillip Phillips, Jessica Sanchez will be paid; Ace Young addresses proposal ring ad

As the runner-up on American Idol, Jessica Sanchez isn’t guaranteed a record deal, like past runners-up, but both she and winner Phillip Phillips have other sources of income from the show. The AP reviewed the finalists’ contracts and discovered details of their pay:

  • Phillip Phillips receives $300,000 as an advance when he finishes his first album.
  • Jessica Sanchez isn’t guaranteed an album deal and $175,000 advance, like every previous runner-up has been. Instead, she “could be paid as little as $30,000 if she is asked to perform four single songs, or $60,000 if she records an EP of between four and 10 songs,” The AP reports, citing their contract, which “has replaced a guaranteed album deal for the runner-up with a staggered ‘Development Period’ that requires less music and pays out less in advances.” Of course, she may still get a record deal with that $175,000 advance.
  • For appearing as part of The American Idol Experience at Walt Disney World, Phillip receives $200,000, while Jessica will receive $50,000; both also receive a percentage of merchandise sales.
  • The other finalists have the possibility of deals ranging from singles to full albums, with four singles getting them an advance of $24,000.

Meanwhile, Ace Young said that the product placement during his obnoxious proposal on the live finale last week was not because the company he mentioned paid for the ring–even though he basically spoke as if the entire proposal was an sponsored advertisement: “With the help of David Webb Jewlery, I have a way to make this fun last forever.”

Ace insisted to E! News, “They didn’t give it to me for free. The reason why I mentioned them in the proposal was because I went to them the Friday before and said I wanted a special ring made and they did it in four days!”

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.