American Idol is a reality TV show that attempts to find the best young singers in the United States to see who will be the next singing superstar. It has become one of the most popular TV shows in the history of television being the number one most-viewed show for seven straight years. The show has produced some actual pop and country music stars such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and Daughtry.
American Idol Format
Although the format gets tweaked slightly from year to year, the show has remained somewhat consistent over its 10 seasons.
American Idol starts the season by going to several cities in the United States to have open auditions. Thousands of singers show up and wait in line at these auditions hoping to get the chance to tryout before the judges. The episodes based on the auditions feature both the talented hopefuls as well as some of the worst singers an strangest auditions. The first few shows are almost as much about the bad auditions as the good ones. The top few hundred contestants get a "ticket to Hollywood" moving them on to the next stage of the competition which takes place in Hollywood California.
Hollywood week is next on the show. In this week there are generally two to three rounds of solo and group performances where the number of contestants is reduced each round until there are around 24 singers left.
Following Hollywood week is the semifinals. At this point the home audience takes over the judging and American votes to see who gets to remain. Generally two singers are removed at a time from the semifinals until there are 12 or 13 left. The judges often get to pick a wildcard or wildcards to continue on as well.
In the finals each week one contestant is eliminated. This is the contestant with the lowest number of votes. This continues until the last contestant is eliminated and the season's American Idol is crowned.
Who can try out for American Idol?
The contest is open to any U.S. resident between the ages of 15 and 28. In earlier years the age range was smaller, starting out at 16 to 24. Contestants must also not be under any sort of talent contract or representation.
American Idol Judges
The original American Idol judges were Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul. They each had their own unique style and opinions that helped to shape the show over the years. A fourth judge, Kara DioGuardi in 2009 and then Paula was replaced by Ellen Degeneres in 2010. In 2011 Simon Cowell left the show and two new judges, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith and Jennifer Lopez, were brought in to work with Randy Jackson.
Ryan Seacrest has been the primary Emcee or presenter on the show since season one.
List of Past Winners
Fun Facts about American Idol
- Kelly Clarkson - The first winner, Kelly has been hugely successful.
- Ruben Studdard - Ruben won the closest finale in history over Clay Aiken.
- Fantasia Barrino - Former American Idol contestant Tamyra Gray wrote her first single I Believe.
- Carrie Underwood - Carrie has been the most successful of all the idols selling over 13 million albums.
- Taylor Hicks - Famous for his gray hair.
- Jordin Sparks - Sung the National Anthem at the 2008 Super Bowl.
- David Cook - won the title over another David, David Archuleta.
- Kris Allen - was nominated for the People's Choice Awards Break-Out Musical Artist in 2010.
- Lee DeWyze - His first album was called Live it Up, but it hasn't done as well as most Idol winners.
- Scotty McCreery - the youngest idol winner at the age of 17, Scotty captured America with his deep country voice.
Other kids TV shows to check out:
- The head of Fox, Rupert Murdoch, was convinced to buy the show by his daughter Elizabeth who liked the British version.
- Brian Dunkleman was a co-presenter with Ryan Seacrest the first season, but only lasted one season.
- American Idol is by far the most profitable TV show in the United States.
- The original version of the show is a British show called Pop Idol.
- In the Season 2 finale, only 130,000 votes out of 24 million separated the two finalists, Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.
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