American Idol 21 Prize Money: How much does the winner get?

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The 21st season of ABC’s American Idol began on February 19, 2023 and with it a whole new set of contestants trying to win hearts of judges and viewers. This season total 24 contestant participating and competing each other to win the title of the show.

But what does the winner get once all is done?

The expense of being on American Idol is considerable, making auditioning and taking part on the show financially out of reach for some. Nonetheless, many still consider it worthwhile to pursue the win. So, what is the grand prize for the winner?

What is the prize money of American Idol?

The winner of the American Idol competition is showered with an enormous reward. A grand sum of $250,000 and a recording contract with Hollywood Records/19 Recordings awaits them.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for aspiring musicians and songwriters, filled with both joy and excitement.


Noah Thomason’s $250,000 grand prize as winner of American Idol was certainly memorable.

News of his contract first came to light when Madison VanDenburg had her contract from Season 17 leaked to the press. It revealed that the grand prize was initially only $125,000, with the remained to be earned after completing an entire album in four months. Since then, not much has been uncovered about the finer details of the arrangement.

Recording artist receive $1,000 reward each week to cover living expenses and an additional $1,000 for every master. It looks like pretty deal but it comes with a catch.

Since the record label is technically taking a chance on the contestant, they will receive a $300,000 advance to record the album, which they will be expected to pay back with the album’s sales.

The runner-up may also be offered a record deal, although usually for half the size of the winner’s. This was seen with Madison VanDenburg who was offered $87,500 plus another $87,000 when the album was finished.

Despite the drawbacks, recording contestants have an opportunity to make money through music and potentially grab a record deal in their future.

Dropped a lot from Previous Season

Though American Idol is still a competition that offers fame and the chance to pursue music professionally, its grand prizes have decreased drastically since earlier seasons.

Before, the top five contestants were able to win up to $100,000 in addition to being potentially signed onto the same record label as the winner. This meant more opportunities for those contestants to make money from the show and pursue their dream of becoming a professional musician.

Now, the only thing the final three contestants are guaranteed after the show airs is the opportunity to record a single to be used however they like regardless of whether or not they become the winner.

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