Adam Lambert’s Star Power from an Industry Perspective 37 Feeling Good, iTunes, AFTRA April 29, 2009 at 11:27 pm


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Well, that was dramatic and surprising… but as we’ve talked about, American Idol is an entertainment show and what happened tonight made for riveting TV and will rally Adam fans. Only the producers know the vote totals; so whether it was intended drama, a wake-up call (though as mentioned last night I prefer “Feeling Good” as an iPod wake-up song), or something more complex we’ll never know. But we don’t need to because…

Adam is in the Top Four!

Everyone should be proud, positive, determined and encouraged. For Adam (and congratulations to the other Finalists too) to have made it this far is an incredible accomplishment, and it must be unbelievable for Adam and his family to see his dream unfold.

There’s no doubt this show is designed to be a roller coaster, but he made it around that curve and there’s no looking back because the ride continues!

From an industry perspective, as you’re seeing, hearing and reading more and more, Adam is already a Star; not only in America, but around the world as well. Continuing discussions about Adam won’t include anything about the results show tonight, it’s all about the future and it’s stellar.

Of course it’s vitally important to keep voting every week, but everyone here has been dedicated and doing an awesome job supporting Adam and he must be really grateful. The bottom line is that we’re going to see Slash and Adam next week — with some of the comparisons to Axl this is going to be really interesting and fun! So Hakuna Matata!

Regarding financial arrangements for the contestants… I mentioned a bit about this in a previous post/blog. Once contestants become Finalists, they join AFTRA (the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, that’s the union for video TV shows; shows shot on film are under the Screen Actors Guild). The one-time initiation fee is $1,300. Dues are based on annual AFTRA earnings, $63.90 is the minimum if an AFTRA member makes under $2,000 (that’s stayed the same since November of 2004).

AFTRA’s contracts require a minimum payment of $982 for the first 45-60 minute episode (that’s as of 11/16/2008) and the amount goes up based on time and number of appearances. For two 45-60 minute episodes, it’s $1,580. If the show is over 60 and less than 90 minutes, 1 episode would be $1,240 and 2 episodes would be $1,787. There’s also some rehearsal and other modest payments. (Most union contracts use these types of formulas… so the overruns on time during some of these season’s episodes may have been costly.) In addition, AFTRA members receive residuals when a show is aired again or sold on DVDs or other media. The union also provides health care and retirement benefits, and Producers contribute to those accounts. AFTRA has a website and you can look up these amounts there as well.

It’s been widely reported by mainstream media that there’s a weekly wardrobe stipend (around $500). As you’ve seen, the Winner often receives a new Ford and other prizes. On many shows, Finalists receive a final payment when they are eliminated, and the amount goes up as they get closer to #1. American Idol has not confirmed this information for their show.

Without a doubt, the benefit is not initially financial (that’s why Danny’s reaction to the $6,000 cleaning service bill tonight was funny); it’s the exposure to millions of people, including industry professionals, and the incredible experience. Hopefully the Finalists will have record deals and other benefits down the road, and of course the Tour is a source of income as well so making the Top 10 is a major milestone in many ways.

Last point is that I’d like to compliment and congratulate Matt, he is definitely a winner as well with an outstanding studio voice and amazing talent. Paula said it would be nice to have a five way tie (she’s so incredibly supportive and wonderful), but I agree with Simon: They’re in it to win it. Adam demonstrably showed that determination last night, and I think it’ll get more exciting and intense.

Seat belts fastened?

Best, Michael

Updated with another post on the subject April 30, 2009 at 1:31pm:

Adam’s autographed pic from iTunes is inscribed with “Thanks for all the LIGHT” and that’s what everyone’s been doing here and hope everyone will send him more. And the Studio Version of “Feeling Good” on iTunes is just what I hoped for, the mix is much clearer and he’s brilliant!

Adam made it to the Top Four and am totally convinced he’s going to have a legendary and successful career. It will be great to remember all being here during this amazing time!

My message below (it’s also on my blog) about what happened was heartfelt and sincere; let’s look forward to next week… that’s what Adam has to do and he’s probably already rehearsing his next two amazing performances.

Many labels and other entertainment companies want Adam, but keep in mind all the Finalists are under option to 19 and Syco and if they don’t exercise that option it would be unprecedented.

I tried to adress the “bottom two” question in my message… we’ll never know but I think Jamie Foxx was right on about the future (no matter what, support these cats) and thought his comment about the girls he was watching with who said “Oh my goodness” and “Oh my God” about Adam was great.

To everyone who felt better after reading my message, thank you, I’m happy it helped because I think we should, “Kiss today goodbye and point (us) toward tomorrow” (A CHORUS LINE).

Best, Michael

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