How Much Do the ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ Contestants Get Paid?

So You Think You Can Dance

So You Think You Can Dance | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

On Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, the winner of each season walks away with $250,000. But all of the other contestants who don’t win still bring a lot to the show and help drive the ratings for Fox, so do they get any compensation for their efforts?

As with a lot of other competition shows, the dancers do receive some money to live off of, but they don’t get an actual salary. An article from The Miami Herald in 2010 states that the So You Think You Can Dance contestants receive a stipend of $500 a week during the season. That figure was from the 2009 season, though, so that would be closer to $600 in 2018 dollars. Obviously, the contestants also have their room and board paid for while they’re on the show. Still, that’s very little money when you consider the fact that the contestants rehearse for about 16 hours a day.

Additionally, after the season ends, the top 10 finalists have the opportunity to go on tour. According to The Miami Herald, they’re paid more than $1,000 a week at this point. Once again, though, this is an old figure that would be about $1,160 today.

A lot of reality shows operate this same way, with the contestants not getting a salary but instead receiving a stipend during their time on it. The Voice also gives its contestants a stipend, though we don’t know exactly how much it is.

On American Idol, the contestants get a weekly stipend of $450, but in some cases, they end up spending their own money on things like their wardrobe. This changes if they end up as one of the finalists, in which case they’ll get paid over $1,000 for each show.

The contestants on America’s Got Talent are reportedly paid pretty well, with some apparently receiving as much as $30,000 for a single 90-second performance.

'America's Got Talent' judges

America’s Got Talent | NBC

Meanwhile, on a completely different type of reality show, the contestants on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette don’t get paid at all, and some have later talked about racking up debt as a result of being on the show. However, the main star is always compensated well, usually being paid around $100,000 for two months of filming.

This isn’t the only show where the contestants don’t get paid anything. On American Ninja Warrior, the participants receive absolutely no money at all unless they win; the winner receives $1 million. However, those who go on the show and lose are still often able to capitalize on their appearance.

On Big Brother, the contestants are all reportedly paid $750 for each week they’re on the show. And finally, on Survivor, the contestants are not paid a flat rate but rather a fee the producers feel is appropriate based on how long they were on the show, which can be around $2,500 if they’re the first person eliminated. However, in addition to the winner of the show getting $1 million, the runner-up also gets $100,000, and the third place winner gets $85,000, so it’s not just the winner themselves who walks away with some serious cash.