How Much Money Are the ‘American Idol’ Judges Making?
Earlier this year, Luke Bryan offered some insight into contract negotiations for a third season on ABC's American Idol. How much money he and the other judges are making depends on a number of factors, including fair market value and ratings.
The no doubt impressive figure has not been leaked quite yet, but Bryan joked at first that he was going to ask for $180 million, which would be six times as much as Simon Cowell ever made when the show enjoyed its highest popularity. Then he offered a more reasonable formula.
“I always like to find out what Blake (Blake Shelton) is making on The Voice and just do it $1 more than him,” Bryan says.
Shelton is said to be making $13 million per season on The Voice, or at least he was. Several sources indicate he's going to get a raise now that Adam Levine is gone and his banter with new coach and girlfriend Gwen Stefani will drive tune-in. Either way the "God's Country" singer's salary is in line with what other judges on his show make. Kelly Clarkson is said pull $14 million. Usher and Shakira made $7 million and $12 million, respectively. Long ago Christina Aguilera made $17 million, per the International Business Times.
Katy Perry has been the big money maker on American Idol in seasons past, with the Wall Street Journal reporting she made $25 million per season — more than double Bryan's $12 million and Lionel Richie's $10 million! Host Ryan Seacrest made $12 million on ABC, a pay cut from the final season on Fox. That he wasn't announced to return with the three judges and mentor Bobby Bones could be telling. Sources say American Idol is hoping to cut costs, as the show's ratings don't demand the same advertising dollars they used to. A host swap could do that without asking the three judges to take a pay decrease. Seacrest has been the host of American Idol since it debuted.
If you're curious, Keith Urban made $3.5 million per season during his time on American Idol, lagging far behind Jennifer Lopez's $15 million. A fair guess at Bryan's salary in 2020 is between $10 and $15 million, or about the same as he made last year, especially if Seacrest is truly "out."
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