‘American Idol’ Judges’ Shocking Salaries Revealed: Luke Bryan, Katy Perry & Lionel Richie

'American Idol' Judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy of ABC/Kimmel

Judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan returned to Season 20 of American Idol with host of the show, Ryan Seacrest. Have you ever wondered how much they all get paid to make dreams come true? Hint: One makes significantly more than the others.

These music industry professionals usually look like they are having a great time on set as they guide the contestants through the competition. While it seems like they enjoy their jobs because of all the good times they have, the amount they’re paid to be there is also a pretty big incentive to stay in the judging seats.

'American Idol' Judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy of ABC
‘American Idol’ Judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie; Photo Courtesy of ABC

As of 2018, according to Just Jared, it’s rumored that per season, Richie makes $10 million, while Seacrest and Bryan make $12 million. Perry, with the highest paycheck of all, makes a jaw-dropping $25 million per season.

“I always like to find out what Blake (Blake Shelton) is making on The Voice and just do it $1 more than him,” Bryan joked to Taste of Country ahead of the third season on ABC. At the time, Shelton was rumored to be making $13 million per season of The Voice, which means Bryan has not yet hit his goal of making more than his fellow country music singer.

This show aired on Fox for 15 seasons, before it was canceled in 2016 and then rebooted on its new home, the ABC network. Seacrest is the only member of the team who has been there since the beginning. Several other judges have come and go, including the original group; Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and Simon Cowell, and plenty of guest celebrities have stepped in and out of their Idol judging duties such as comedian Ellen DeGeneres, rapper LL Cool J, singer and actor Olivia Newton-John and more. 

The well-paid judges recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to talk of their Las Vegas residency’s and the upcoming season of Idol. “Non-stop laughs with this crew!” Richie wrote on Instagram with a series of photos that includes him and Bryan and Perry holding hands during their interview. 

“I would say we are more combative this season than ever but it’s not that we don’t love and respect each other, we see so much talent after five seasons that we’re like, no we’re all pushing for the best stuff and maybe you can get a bit jaded after a few seasons…” Perry stated before Lionel finished her sentence, “but also we know each other, so we know we can go a little step further because at the beginning, I don’t want to step, I don’t know how you react and now we just know we can slaughter each other,” he joked. 

This season, Idol announced a few new twists that will be added this season. For the first time ever, platinum tickets will be given out to nine special contestants in addition to the traditional golden tickets. 

“We all know the Golden Ticket gets you to Hollywood Week,” Seacrest explained on social media. “But this year, this is historic, for the first time, we have the Platinum Ticket. There are only three of these for the entire season, and if the judges vote unanimously for you to get this as a contestant, then you bypass the first round of Hollywood Week. I mean, it is, it’s a game-changer.”

The 20th season of American Idol kicked off Sunday, February 27 on ABC.

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