Mary Byrne paid €30 for X Factor 80-hour week
Irish X Factor sensation Mary Byrne is being paid a paltry €30 a week for starring in The X Factor. The earnings of the Ballyfermot star and her rival contestants are dwarfed by Simon Cowell's take-home pay, which is as much as €250,000 per episode.
Mary and the other contestants, including Cher Lloyd and Wagner, are working gruelling 80-hour weeks, but will walk away from the show virtually penniless -- despite pulling in €1m worth of phone votes every week.
The mum of one also only gets paid a shocking 0.01c per download on iTunes when a fan buys any of her X Factor performances online.
A show insider revealed: "It's a disgrace. There is a huge, glaring difference in what the judges and contestants earn. After living expenses and costs it's likely many of them will walk away from The X Factor with virtually nothing.
"Mary would be just as well off if she worked at Tesco over Christmas and got her bonus. That's the shocking reality of The X Factor."
Cowell has previously defended the contestants' pay terms, claiming the wannabes enjoy priceless publicity with each appearance on the prime time show. "It's an incredible shop window where they get to showcase their talents to millions of people and record companies," he said.
But a source close to Mary revealed: "All the contestants, including Mary, have to watch their spending. They work really long hours, especially at weekends, and financial rewards are minimal.
"They get their rent and food paid for in the house, but that's about the height of it. The pay still leaves very little room for anything else. If Mary wants any of her family over at the show they have to pay their air fares, hotels and expenses. The X Factor doesn't cover any of it. So if Mary splashes out on a flight and hotel for her daughter for instance, then that eats a massive hole in her savings."
In comparison to Mary, X Factor judges Louis, Simon, Cheryl and Dannii are making mega-bucks after negotiating new contracts to appear on this year's show. Cheryl brings in a cool €1m for the series, while Dannii nets €750,000.
THE X FACTOR MONEYMACHINE
The €40m budget for the series pays for a vocal coach, fashion director, hairdresser and make-up artist, all on several hundred euro a day. Each show has 116 production staff.
Advertising revenue goes entirely to ITV. Slots are already in high demand, with a 30-second ad costing €145,000. Last year's final was said to have earned €16m in advertising for ITV.
THE PHONE LINES
Around a million votes are cast on each of the live shows, the big pay day is the final when around eight million viewers vote.
Talk Talk is the biggest sponsor and gets its logo on the beginning and end of each segment. For this privilege, it recently signed a three-year deal worth €25m.
THE HAIR AND MAKE-UP
L'Oreal is the big beauty sponsor of the X Factor website. It also provides free hair products and make-up for all the contestants and judges. The L'Oreal deal is worth a further €200,000 to the show.
Live performances are available for download from iTunes. Each song costs €1 to download, 20c more than the usual rate. The singers are only paid 0.01c per download. The rest of the fee will go to iTunes, ITV, Syco, Talkback and the artist who owns the rights to the original song.
Another money-spinning innovation is the X Factor magazine with exclusive weekly access to contestants and judges. It sells for €2.50 and advertisers are assured of a circulation of 300,000.
Tickets for the X Factor 2010 tour went on sale even before the finalists were announced. The concerts will rake in around €3m in ticket sales. You can double that with merchandise sold at the venues.