5 surprising things you probably didn’t know about ‘American Idol’

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American Idol is back and is celebrating a significant milestone — the franchise’s 20th (!) anniversary — with the introduction of a Platinum Ticket™, whose recipients get to bypass the first round of Hollywood Week.

Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan are back for the fifth year as judges, as well as host Ryan Seacrest. For every fan of the show, here are 5 interesting facts & trivia about the show.

1. The winner takes home $250,000

According to Screenrant, contestants who go on to become American Idol winners end up taking home $250,000.

However, according to reports, the contracts signed by American Idol winners stipulate that they sign a recording contract with Hollywood Records. This label, like the ABC network, is a company owned by Disney. The winners then receive $125,000 when they start working on their album, then another $125,000 once they finish the album. In turn, a runner-up could win as much as $175,000, but that value is also separated into two parts of $87,500.

2. Kanye West once auditioned for the show.

In a stunt to promote what was then known as “The Farewell Season,” Kanye West auditioned for season 15 of “American Idol.” Of course, he rapped his iconic “Gold Digger” song for the judges and received a Golden Ticket.

3. There are multiple “American Idol” video games.

The show was popular enough to inspire multiple video games, like “Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol” and “Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore.”

In both games, the player competes on their own version of the singing competition.

4. Ellen DeGeneres was briefly a judge on the show

Ellen DeGeneres was a judge on “American Idol” during season nine. She was initially hired to replace Paula Abdul but chose not to return for the tenth season of the show.

According to Us Weekly, in an interview with Howard Stern, DeGeneres said being a judge was one of the worst decisions she ever made— mostly because she found it difficult to give honest feedback to the singers, especially when it was negative. She didn’t want to break someone’s heart.

5. Here’s what the Judges make

According to Thethings, Katy Perry makes $25 million per season while Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie makes $12 million and $10 million respectively.

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