By Annie Barrett
Updated February 24, 2010 at 04:31 PM EST

Winners of Fox’s American Idol have never failed to earn less than $1 million in the year after their seasons end. According to the New York Times, the show promises substantial financial rewards to winners regardless of how many records they sell. Last year’s winner, Kris Allen, has earned $650,000, an amount which reflects the minimum a winner would earn including performance fees and merchandising royalties, “as well as other opportunities.” Top 5 finalists are likely to earn $100,000 from the show, and Top 12 contestants are guaranteed several thousand dollars. The details emerged from copies of season 8 contracts filed under laws requiring court approval of entertainment-industry deals with minors Allison Iraheta and Jasmine Murray. Executives at 19 Entertainment declined to comment on the contracts.