In past seasons of American Idol, fans have watched as certain contestants end up off the show without an elimination.
In some cases, such as this year with Kenedi Anderson, they quit the show for one reason or another. In other cases, American Idol kicks them off for breaking one of their many rules.
In both cases, the reasons for leaving might have a lot to do with the numerous rules that American Idol places on its contestants.
Here is a look at some of the more notable rules that American Idol has on the show.
Winners must sign a record deal and commit to a tour
When Kenedi Anderson quit American Idol, she made a TikTok post that she later deleted that had lyrics to a song that asked if she deserved better for herself.
A lot of fans took that as a jab at American Idol’s deal when it comes to the contestants who win the show.
American Idol winners earn a record contract, which is a great deal, but the contracts are signed before the season finale and if a contestant doesn’t like the terms, they are out of the competition.
They also have to give live performances at the end of the season and agree to go on a tour in support of the show.
However, this isn’t always a great thing.
It took Kelly Clarkson a decade to get out of her deal with American Idol before she was allowed to make the music that she wanted to make. Phillip Phillips filed a legal petition against American Idol for making him sing in concerts without pay and not allowing him to have control over his albums.
Just Sam had to buy her way out of her contract when she realized she couldn’t work and record at the same time and had to make a living.
To no surprise, there are confidentiality agreements the singers have to sign immediately when they get their golden ticket to Hollywood.
This agreement lasts the entire length of the competition, which last months since the auditions take place months before the show starts.
If the singers don’t sign this, they are uninvited to Hollywood Week. They also have to sign a deal that allows their journey to be shown on the series.
The American Idol agreement forces them to reveal personal details
One thing that fans of American Idol will notice is that the singers who have the most heartwarming stories are often the ones who make it far in the competition.
If someone watched the show with their grandmother, who died last year, they will share that story. If someone was homeless growing up, they will share that story. If someone was in a hostile home growing up, they will reveal the intimate details of how they got there.
While it seems that some contestants are using their backstories to help sell themselves to voters, they don’t have the choice. One of the rules of being on American Idol is to reveal these personal details on the show and in video packages.
American Idol wants to sell the stories as well as the singers and it is in the contract.
Contestants can’t run for public office for a year
The news broke this year that Clay Aiken was running for Congress again. That was big news, and fans of American Idol were immediately interested.
However, someone who competed on Season 20 of American Idol can’t run for public office until later in 2023 at the earliest.
That is because one of the rules of being on American Idol says that a contestant can’t profit off their time on the show financially or use their reality TV fame to run for public office.
They can’t be running for office when they audition and have to wait a year after they leave the show before they can launch a political campaign, so the show is not seen as favoring a political party.
As for the profiting from their time on the show, that refers to being financially connected to the show, as they nor their family members cannot be employed by the media companies or sponsors of the show.
You also can’t take sponsorship deals with any brands while on the show.
You can’t be romantically involved with a judge
This isn’t a problem anymore since Luke Bryan and Katy Perry are married and Lionel Richie is 73 years old and in a relationship.
However, it was a problem at one time when contestant Corey Clark claimed that he was having an affair with Paula Abdul.
She denied it, an investigation was launched, and the rule was put into place that a contestant would be disqualified and the judge fired if it happened in the future.
You have to pay your way to Hollywood
In the contracts after the auditions, the contestants learn that they have to pay their own way to Hollywood.
This means those contestants from poor families in small towns have to find a way to pay for airfare to Hollywood for the next rounds. The good news is that American Idol will pay for the food and living expenses while on the show.
There is also a fashion budget for each contestant in the amount of $450.
However, the contestants are there for free and will not be paid until they reach the Top 12 and sign on with the union, AFTRA. At this time, they are paid $921 a week.
Singers have one hour to choose their song
The singers need to have extensive knowledge of music genres because they don’t get much time to pick out their songs.
In the American Idol deals, the only music that can be used is songs that have been cleared by the show. Every Thursday, the contestants are given a list of the songs based on that week’s theme.
There could be hundreds of songs on the list, but the singers only have one hour to tell the producers which song they will sing.
They also need to make sure they can shorten it to the required time frame if they choose a long one (like Bohemian Rhapsody).
Finalists get to record songs
As fans saw this year, the singers who made the Top 7 got to record their own original songs.
This allowed them to record with professionals in a studio, and each of them recorded a song that American Idol then promoted on the show.
The best news is that the finalists can record up to three original songs and if they don’t win the show, they get to do whatever they want with the songs, including putting them on their own EP or album.
You have four months to complete your album
Just Sam learned the hard way what happens when you don’t have time to make your album.
Winners only have four months to complete their album for the record label American Idol signs them with. Since Just Sam didn’t finish her album, she had to pay to get her songs back.
That is bad since the prize money is contingent on getting the album done and half of the money is not paid unless it is finished.
American Idol is on hiatus. The singing reality competition series will return to ABC in 2023.