American Idol: 12 Behind The Scenes Secrets
Fox’s American Idol was a hugely popular singing competition show which began back in 2002 and ran for 15 seasons until 2016. Based off the U.K. series Pop Idol, American Idol set out to discover unsigned singing talent from all over America, and allowed viewers to vote for who they thought should win. Unsurprisingly, it quickly became one of the most successful shows in American TV history and paved the way for shows like America’s Got Talent and The Voice. Since the show is being revived and returning for a 16th season in 2018, here’s a look at 12 behind the scenes secrets!
12. Ryan Seacrest Almost Turned Down the Job
According to Mike Darnell, who was the former president of Fox’s alternative programming, Ryan Seacrest nearly blew off the chance at co-hosting, and later hosting American Idol. Back in the day, Seacrest’s dad was his manager and the one responsible for turning down the opportunity. At the time, Seacrest was working in radio hosting the TNN reality series Ultimate Revenge. “He wasn’t going to come in. I had to literally get on the phone with his father,” said Darnell. Seacrest was asked to host the show alongside Brian Bunkleman, but it was Seacrest who stuck with the show for all 15 seasons.
11. How Do Contestants Afford to be on the Show?
Being a contestant on any reality show requires sacrifice because a lot of the time there’s no compensation. Participants on American Idol do not receive any pay. Their only compensation is a shot at fame! They are required to give up their job (or in certain cases work out a leave of absence), and essentially leave their life behind. All of the family members who travel to support them on their journey do so on their own dime. If the contestant makes it to the final rounds they will pay to join AFTRA, which allows them to be paid for each appearance on television at a minimum hourly rate (in 2007 it was $921 per hour). The lucky contestants who make it into the top 10 and go on tour after the season ends are reportedly paid $1,000 per show.