May 27, 2011 10:52am PT by Eriq Gardner
What Scotty McCreery Earns for Winning 'American Idol'
Is winning "American Idol" becoming less lucrative?
This year, 17-year-old Scotty McCreery was declared the winner. He's now due at least $250,000 in advances for winning the show and recording the first album.
Because McCreery is a minor, producers had to take his contract to a judge for approval. (The type of judge that wears a black robe -- not the one who dances to salsa music on-stage.) It's not technically a requirement, but most producers do so anyway to avoid any possible future disputes over the contract's validity.
By saving themselves peace of mind, producers open these contracts up for public inspection, and so Billboard took a peek at what McCreery is getting for winning this season. Besides the $250,000 advance, McCreery also will be earning tens of thousands of dollars more for granting Idol partners likeness, merchandise and endorsement rights.
The sum is a good figure for someone who was unknown a year ago, but McCreery might not be doing quite as well as previous winners from past seasons. A contract submitted to a judge for Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta revealed he was due to earn $360,000 for an album. McCreery also seems to be accepting a "360 deal" that pretty much allows producers and record labels to share in non-music related revenue like merchandise.
Negotiations over these deals finish before the finalists are announced. Each year, contestants on Idol host their own private side competition to pick a lawyer who will represent them en masse. This year, there were actually co-winners to that prize: Craig Marshall and Gary Gilbert of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips.