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The cost of being on 'American Idol'

What does it cost to be on 'Idol'?
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What does it cost to be on 'Idol'?

"American Idol," that hyperkinetic, TV-tastic, shine on the amateur hour concept, has embedded itself into our national consciousness with the tenacity of a song that we just can't get out of our heads.

Even if you don't know Bo Bice from Bo Diddley, you feel the familiar longing for instant adulation, that old rags-to-riches rumba. It's as American as rock 'n' roll.

What will it cost you to make a lunge for that golden ticket? And what, realistically, can you expect to receive in return?

We'll break it down for you with the help of Richard Rushfield, the Vanity Fair contributing editor who covered "Idol" for the Los Angeles Times for three years. His book, "American Idol: The Untold Story" lifts the hood on this well-oiled star-making machine.

Bah-dah-bah-dah-bah-dah: This ... is "American Idol"!


 

 

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