The cost of being on 'American Idol'
Auditions can be expensive
It's hard to fathom now, but "American Idol" producers actually sent out audition fliers for the first season for fear they wouldn't attract a sufficient talent pool to captivate a television audience.
While those fears quickly vanished, audition costs remain a financial hurdle for hopefuls who follow the Idol audition trail from city to city, hoping to be selected.
"What the TV audience doesn't see is, if you're from San Diego and you audition and make it through in St. Louis, then you have to return to St. Louis a month or two later for the next round, and then again for a third round," says Rushfield. "Some can't afford to and drop out."
To earn a shot, David Archuleta traveled from Salt Lake City to San Diego and Jordin Sparks flew from Glendale, Ariz., to Seattle.
The gamble paid off. According to Forbes, Archuleta made $1.4 million and Sparks made $1.8 million from June 2009 to May 2010.