American Idol FAQ – What Do You Want To Know?

American Idol 2013 judges and production

Have you ever wondered what the American Idol Hopefuls earn just for being on the show? What about all those “Family & Friends” shots we see. Who paid for those friends to fly out there? And what do the contestants do from Friday through Tuesday each week as they await the next show?

We’ve got a new American Idol FAQ all put together for you to learn and discover something new about FOX’s biggest show. Read all about those questions and more: Idol’s Frequently Asked Questions.

Once a contestant reaches the Top 10 and in some seasons the Top 12, they start to receive a paycheck for appearing and performing on the weekly shows. At that point… Read the rest

The time between the weekly shows is taken up with the responsibilities that come with competing on American Idol. The finalists fill the time with… Read the rest

Let us know what other questions you have about the show and we’ll try to track down the answers for you! Leave your requests in the Comments section below and we’ll see what we can do.





  1. Besides the apartments, are meals and transportation also provided by Idol? About how much actual free time do the contestants have each week?

  2. Branden you hexed Amber! I am just kidding you sweet pea!. You know I am just kidding you! I hope Candise wins now. Angie makes my ears hurt! Screech. We shall see. You be good now Branden! Take care. see you next year! Oh heck.. You just had to see my picture didn’t you??? Sherry Kivo

  3. How much singing time do the contestants do daily? The reason I ask is that near the end of the competition their voices sound tired and some even have issues with vocal cord problems. Jimmy referred to Amber’s voice being “tired” during one of his comments. When I went back and listened to some of her earlier performances, I noticed a difference. Sometimes some of the best performances of the finalists are in the auditions when voices are rested and not affected by stress.

    • You’re right about that. There is definitely a noticeable difference. Contestants devote most of their time to rehearsing their weekly song choices. Professional singers adhere to a strict regimen to maintain their vocal abilities and ready themselves for a performance.  
      Due to the nature of the competition, Idol contestants are simply not able to control their environment and their performances can suffer due to swelling of their stressed vocal cords, dehydration and many other factors that a professional singer would never be subjected to before a performance. Something as innocent as conversing with fellow contestants in a loud environment can adversely affect their vocal cords. Singing out of one’s normal range can also do lasting damage.

      In general, the contestants are not accustomed to the daily emotional and physical demands associated with a show like American Idol. The finalists deserve a lot of credit for being able to deliver as many amazing performances as they have been week after week.

  4. Will Nicki M. be gone when I tune in next year for AI 2014? I hope so. I have been watching AI since Kelly Clarkson won and believe me, I vote, big time. I can’t take another season of Nicki as a judge. One season was enough. On the other hand, I like Mariah. Please keep her. Keith should come back and It’s time for Randy to hit the road. How about changing the voting system, so that the best and most talented voice wins every season? Candice has the best voice and she should win this year. Kree should be in second place, with Angie(highly overrated)coming in third place. She has a fairly decent voice, but she is not the best singer. I’ll admit that she is very pretty and cute, but if she wins this year, this competition is not very fair. Voting system needs an overhaul! I am a 63 year old, white female and last week, I voted 265 times for Candice and 200 times for Kree. Wouldn’t it be better if I didn’t have to keep voting for 2 hours every week? Big fan of this show, but last year I also started watching The Voice. Their system is more fair and balanced. AI lets have some changes please! Sorry for the long rant.

    • the best voice doesnt always needs to win theyll have great careers eitherway and how will it be unfair of angie will win? didnt other people vote for her too? just because you want your favorite to win doesnt mean you should say ots unfair if they lose. I’m rooting for Kree. Sorry for my long reply 63 year old white woman

    • You are canceling out your own votes. 265 minus 200 = 65 votes. Just vote 65 times for Candice, and you won’t have to vote so much. This would be only if you split your vote. I’m saying this as much for myself as for you. When I read your comment, it made me realize that I am doing the same thing. Last week, though, it made me wonder exactly who I was voting for since the recorded message did not say the number of the contestant I was voting for. I think it’s important for our votes to go to the contestant we want them to, and that should always be indicated on the recording.

    • Yes. The wardrobe the contestants choose for performances is their’s to keep.

  5. How far in the competition can a contestant go and still return for another try if s/he is eliminated? Can anyone in the top ten return for another try?

    • Not from the top 10. I’ll get an answer for when the cutoff is. Maybe other lal can tell us. lol.

  6. Are there any rules about the amount of experience in performing that would eliminate a person from auditioning for American Idol? Is there anything else in an applicant’s background that would eliminate them from the contest?

    • Giselle, good question! The rules clearly state that anyone with a previous recording contract cannot audition, but they do not exclude anyone for performing professionally.   Wonder why the distinction?

      • Could it be because Idol’s people don’t want to have to deal with other recording companies and their rules governing CDs that are made? I’m just guessing about this.

        Were the rules changed about age of person auditioning since the beginning? Seems like some contestants are younger now. Did they lower the age or increase the age? Again, just wondering. I’m not asking this for myself. If I auditioned the judges would either walk out or ROFL.

      • Hey don’t sell yourself so short! I think you nailed it on the recording contract issue. I was planning on addressing the age thing in an upcoming article. Thanks!

  7. Since there’s a lot of discussion about the judges right now, would a question about the judges be allowed? What does each judge make this season? Maybe that would explain some of the controversy between the judges.

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