What Does The ‘American Idol’ Winner Get?

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Cortney Drakeford
Displayed with permission from International Business Times

After “American Idol” ended its run on Fox in 2016, ABC announced a year later it would be rebooting the series. The revival of the show will give aspiring artists a chance to make their dreams come true and walk away with an unforgettable grand prize.

 Once they are approved by the judges and move past the auditions round, contestants will sing their hearts out through countless eliminations until America votes for the ultimate winner. The hopeful musician will not only walk away with the title of “American Idol,” but their life will change forever.

Since the show’s premiere in 2002, each winner of the singing competition has walked away with a record deal. On occasion, the runner up lucks out and is given a recording contract as well, but they don’t get the luxury of calling themselves an “American Idol.”

In the 2016 finale, Trent Harmon won a recording contract with Big Machine Records and received a 2017 Ford Fusion. Runner up La’Porsha Renae was also able to score a record deal and given a new car as well.

Harmon wasn’t the only contestant in Idol history to walk away a winner  with a special perk. Kelly Clarkson, who won the first season of “American Idol,” beating out Justin Guarini, revealed she wasn’t thrilled about winning the competition because the grand prize included a movie deal.

“I do remember Justin and I having the conversation before, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to win, I don’t want to win,’ because we found out we had to do a movie,” Clarkson told Entertainment Weekly in September.

“He really wanted to do a movie. And I really didn’t want to do a movie. I was like, ‘It would be really super cool if I got second and you got first, because the winner has to do the movie and the second one doesn’t.’”

After Clarkson won Idol she and Guarini starred in the box office flop, “From Justin to Kelly.” Luckily, the singer was able to salvage her career, and went on to release hit records like “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “Catch My Breath.”

Although the grand prizes seem to vary each year with some contestants and runner ups receiving additional perks, it appears the first place winner is always guaranteed a record deal.

Tune in to see which contestants make it to the finale, and walk away with the opportunity of a lifetime when “American Idol” Season 16 premieres Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.

ABC’s “American Idol” Season 16 judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan are pictured with host Ryan Seacrest. Photo: Eric Liebowitz/ABC

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