Even if you make it on the show, unless you’re one of the final contestants, you’re not going to be compensated for your time. According to Fox Business, contestants receive “$1,571 plus meals for two-hour Idol shows, $1,303 for one-hour shows and $910 for half-hour results shows.” 

But before a contestant is eligible to receive that pay, they must enroll in the AFTRA union, which is a $1,600 payment upfront.


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