Top 10 Behind the Scenes Facts About American Idol



Top 10 Behind the Scenes Facts About American Idol

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Spencer Sher
The behind the scenes facts about American Idol are even more dramatic than what happens on the screen. You know there's going to be some juicy gossip when one of the biggest reality shows in history is involved. We're taking a look at facts and behind the scenes info that have been reported about American Idol as well as the American Idol revival series. MsMojo ranks the biggest behind the scenes facts about American Idol. Are there any American Idol facts we missed? Let us know in the comments!
You know there’s going to be some juicy gossip when one of the biggest reality shows in history is involved! Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Behind the Scenes Facts About American Idol.

For this list, we’re taking a look at facts and behind the scenes info that have been reported about “American Idol” as well as the “American Idol” revival series.

#10: Ryan Seacrest Almost Turned Down the Hosting Job

Ryan Seacrest is as synonymous with “American Idol” as the singing is. The TV personality has been with the show since its inception and is widely considered to be the face of the program. However, it almost never happened. According to Mike Darnell, former head of Fox’s reality TV division, Seacrest turned down their initial offer to co-host the show with Brian Dunkleman. Apparently, Seacrest’s father - also his manager at the time - didn’t think the show was right for his son and Darnell had to call him up directly in order to make it work. Talk about a close call!

#9: There’s a Reason We Can’t See the Vote Totals

Few things in reality TV history have stirred up as much controversy as “American Idol”’s voting system. The show has infamously refused to display the vote totals on numerous occasions, much to the chagrin of fans watching at home. However, there’s a perfectly logical explanation for why they’re holding out on us. The worry has long been that if fans can see the exact vote totals of each singer in real time, they may get discouraged when they see their favourite artist trailing. This may cause them to stop voting or perhaps to stop watching all together. To keep people on the edge of their seats, vote totals remain hidden.

#8: Mariah Carey & Nicki Minaj Didn’t Get Along

There has been no shortage of drama between judges, contestants and fans of “American Idol” during its many years on TV. However, few feuds were as exciting as the one that erupted between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj when the two worked together on the show’s twelfth season. Rumours abounded that the two pop stars weren’t getting along; and things only got worse after a video of them arguing was published by TMZ. Darnell called the blowout “raw and real” and the two continued to get in each other’s faces for the remainder of the season. Suffice it say neither decided to return for season thirteen.

#7: Contestants Are Only Paid If They Make the Final Rounds

Since the beginning, fans have wondered whether or not the people who compete on “American Idol” each week actually get paid for their efforts. Unfortunately, most contestants will never receive a dime for the blood, sweat and tears they leave on stage every episode. However, if they make it to the final rounds, they have the opportunity to join SAG-AFTRA, a labor union that represents film and TV actors. While they’ll have to pay union dues in order to be a member, they will receive an hourly rate while participating on the show. But if you think that makes them millionaires, you’re sorely mistaken.

#6: Ryan Seacrest & Brian Dunkleman Didn’t Get Along

As previously mentioned, the first season of “American Idol” featured not one, but two hosts: Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman. Besides the obvious fact that having two hosts never works quite as well, Dunkleman never really gelled with his co-host; and he ultimately left the show at the end of the first season. Years later, Dunkleman admitted that he and Seacrest didn’t get along and that their poor working relationship was a big reason for why he left the show in the first place. Dunkleman made a guest appearance on the show’s fifteenth season and revealed that he and Seacrest had since made amends.

#5: Contestants Get a Wardrobe Budget

Another popular question amongst “American Idol” fans revolves around how the finalists' wardrobes are selected. Well, it turns out that the contestants are given a clothing allowance. Back in season three, contestants were given $450 a week to shop for their outfits. While shopping, the contestants would be chaperoned by one of the show’s stylists, to make sure their outfits met with the standards of the show. While clothing allowances have almost certainly increased over the years, $450 is more than enough to put together an outfit worthy of the “American Idol” stage.

#4: “Idol” Hopefuls Must Have Their Songs Approved

While it would be easy to assume that contestants always get to sing the song of their choice, that’s far from the truth. Due to copyright laws, songs have to be cleared before they’re allowed to be used on the show. So, when season ten winner Scotty McCreery wanted to sing “Your Man” by Josh Turner in his audition, he was disappointed that the song wasn’t available. He was faced with a dilemma, sing his song and risk not being seen on TV, or sing a new song with the cameras rolling. He went with the former and luckily for him, the song was approved minutes before his audition.

#3: The Bad Singers Are for Real

There is definitely a portion of the “American Idol” fanbase who watch just to see all those out of tune, out of pitch, out of their minds, contestants! However, there are some who believe many of the “bad” singers seen on the show are actually just actors. Why? Because who in their right mind would believe they sound good when they’re clearly horrible? The bad singers are actually pre-selected by producers to perform for the judges because, well, it makes for good TV! Watching hopeful souls have their dreams crushed by the no holds barred comments of people like Simon Cowell is entertainment at its finest! So, to clarify, they’re not actors, but they are delusional.

#2: Being There Isn’t Cheap

As previously mentioned, most contestants will never receive any form of payment for appearing on “American Idol”. Basically, to be on the show you have to be willing to sacrifice your time and energy for something that in all likelihood won’t pan out. Contestants have to leave their lives behind. This includes their friends and family, their homes and in many cases, their jobs. The whole “not being paid” thing extends to their family as well, who have to front their own travel and living expenses if they want to visit their family member who is participating in the show. Kind of makes you think twice about auditioning…

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

The Judges Received Death Threats

Simon Cowell Didn’t Want to Commit to a Multi-Year Deal

Kelly Clarkson & Justin Guarini Were Dating

The Contestants Live in Shared Apartments

#1: Contestants Don’t Always Get the Song They Want

For legal reasons, contestants have to have their songs cleared by producers in advance, but that’s just the start of a long and complicated selection process. Once the show gets to the live performances, the song choices begin to dwindle; as each song must fit within the week’s chosen theme. The list of songs they have to choose from has reportedly been as low as 50. Once they’ve chosen a song from the pre-selected list, they then have just one week to prepare for their live performance. Uh, can you say stressful?