The cost of being on American Idol
What Does it Cost to Be on 'Idol'?
"American Idol," that hyperkinetic, TV-tastic, Simonized shine on the amateur hour concept, has embedded itself into our national consciousness with the tenacity of an earworm that we just can't get out of our heads.
Even if you don't know Bo Bice from Bo Diddley, or creator Simon Fuller from designated meanie Simon Cowell, you feel the familiar longing for instant adulation, that old rags-to-riches rumba. It's as American as rock 'n' roll.
What will it cost you to make a lunge for that golden ticket? And what, realistically, can you expect to receive in return?
We'll break it down for you with the help of Richard Rushfield, the Vanity Fair contributing editor who covered "Idol" for the Los Angeles Times for three years. His new book, "American Idol: The Untold Story" lifts the hood on this well-oiled star-making machine.
Bah-dah-bah-dah-bah-dah: This ... is American Idol!
Auditions Can Be Expensive
It's hard to fathom now, but American Idol's producers actually sent out audition fliers for the first season for fear they wouldn't attract a sufficient talent pool to captivate a television audience.
While those fears quickly vanished, audition costs remain a financial hurdle for hopefuls who follow the Idol audition trail from city to city, hoping to be selected.
"What the TV audience doesn't see is, if you're from San Diego and you audition and make it through in St. Louis, then you have to return to St. Louis a month or two later for the next round, and then again for a third round," says Rushfield. "Some can't afford to and drop out."
To earn a shot, David Archuleta traveled from Salt Lake City to San Diego, Jordin Sparks flew from Glendale, Ariz., to Seattle, and Brooke White crossed the country from Mesa, Ariz., to Philadelphia.
The gamble paid off. According to Forbes, Archuleta made $1.4 million and Sparks made $1.8 million from June 2009 to May 2010. White launched her acting career on the Fox made-for-TV movie, "Change of Plans."
Read more: The Cost of Being on 'American Idol' | Fox Business
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