How Much Do the ‘American Idol’ Judges Get Paid?

American Idol Judges

ABC/Eric McCandless

ABC’s reboot of American Idol premiered with new judges just a few years ago after nearly two decades on the air. So, how much do the judges make to be on the show?

Judges Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Katy Perry have all been a part of Idol since the reboot alongside longtime host Ryan Seacrest and in-house mentor Bobby Bones. While their salaries haven’t been officially released, many reports have come out about how much each of the cast members earn on the show.

Bryan once joked to Taste of Country, “I always like to find out what Blake [Shelton] is making on The Voice and just do $1 more than him.”

He’s also joked that he was asking for $180 million from Idol, which was a sizeable amount more than what even Simon Cowell was making at the height of his time on the show, according to Taste of Country.


Perry Has Been Reported to Earn Around $25 Million

Multiple reports have said that Perry earns around $25 million a year on Idol, but she recently pushed back a bit on those reports during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show

“It’s not always what’s reported,” Perry told the host. “I’m not here to confirm or deny. Let’s just say that those things are to be taken with a grain of Himilayan salt for sure.”

She also reminded Stern that there’s a high tax in California. The singer said she also pays her team before anything else.

“Do you know it’s 13.5% in state tax living in California?” she said. “Then there’s federal and then there’s commissions? Uncle Sam, man.”

According to Perry’s interview, she doesn’t just get paid for her on-camera work at Idol, as she works closely with executive producer Trish Kinane on the show.

“It’s not something I do passively,” she said. “I strategize with them behind the scenes. I have a bit of an unspoken producer role in that I bring a lot creatively to the table and try and elevate it.”

She added, “That’s why I wanted to be a part of it, first and foremost, before Luke or Lionel were even confirmed to be the judges because I wanted to help reinvent it with ABC. It was on a new platform. It had already done so many seasons on Fox so how do we make it fresh? How do we make it cool?”


Bryan and Richie Reportedly Make Around $10 Million

According to the Wall Street Journal’s report, Lionel Richie makes around $10 million a season from Idol and Bryan makes around $12 million per season on the show. These numbers, if accurate, are likely to have increased since their first seasons, which is when the numbers were first reported on.

According to Business Insider, the host of the show, Ryan Seacrest earns around $10 million per year for his gig as the host. It is possible that he has signed a new contract since that number was reported though. The paycheck is still a cut from what he made on Fox’s version of the show.

American Idol returns on February 14, 2021 on ABC.

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