In a capitalistic society such as ours, we're lucky to have a handy way of determining our worth as individuals compared to our coworkers. Simply compare salaries! It's The Worthington Law, "more money equals better":

And the best thing about the Worthington Law is that you can also apply it to workplaces that are not your own. Like, oh, we don't know, reality-show judging panels! Let's run down which judges are valuable and who is ... less valuable in the minds of network executives.


The biggest news on the talent-judging circuit today comes from the Hollywood Reporter, which breaks the scoop that Shakira will make nearly twice as much as Usher to join The Voice's fourth season next spring. The Colombian singer will reportedly pull in $12M to sit in the swivel chair, much higher than Ursh's $7M. There's no word on Adam Levine and Blake Shelton's salaries, but each made $6M for season three, so a quote in the neighborhood of Usher's seems like a good bet.


New addition Britney Spears played hardball with Simon Cowell during X Factor negotiations, rejecting a $10M offer before settling with the V-necked Anglo on a $15M deal. If you want a handle on how much Spears' name and experience mattered to Cowell in launching his show's second season, compare Spears' salary to that of younger counterpart Demi Lovato, which stands at a (comparatively) paltry $1M. L.A. Reid's salary hasn't been reported, but Cowell would undoubtedly put him to shame: As executive producer of X Factor as well as its host, Cowell reportedly pulls in $75M per season of the show.


But dwarfing all comers (besides Cowell, who is in his own league) is new American Idol judge Mariah Carey, who will reportedly make $18M for her first season at the reality show. The reigning juggernaut of the genre, Idol can afford to be a bit more generous than its competitors: The show handed out more big money to its second pop diva (The Voice and X Factor have only one), as sources say Nicki Minaj will bring in a salary betwen $8M and $12M. Stalwart Randy Jackson's salary is unknown, but Keith Urban, the forgotten man in all of this, will get only $4M.

So, what have we learned? Well for starters, if you exclude producer/judge Cowell and only look at "pure" judges, we've apparently found only the second job in America where women earn more than men for doing the same work. Nice job, ladies!

The second lesson, of course, is that we shouldn't exclude Cowell. If you want to make the really big bucks, you need to be in front of the stage and behind the curtain.