American Idol

“American Idol” is a singing competition series that premiered on Fox in June 2002. The reality show, created by Simon Fuller and based on the British show “Pop Idol,” is one of the most successful programs in TV history. The show features aspiring singers competing for the chance to become a superstar.

A panel of judges critique the contestants’ performances, with the original judges consisting of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Kara DioGuardi was added as a fourth judge for Season 8. Paula Abdul was replaced by Ellen DeGeneres in Season 9, but the talks show host left after just one season. Cowell also exited the show that season, and Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined the panel for Season 10. Both left after two seasons and were replaced by Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban, who joined Jackson for Season 12. Jackson, Carey and Minaj all left the show that season, and Urban was then joined by previous judge Lopez and new addition Harry Connick, Jr. The trio remained the judges for the show’s fourteenth and fifteenth seasons.

There have also been a number of guest judges over the years. A few of the celebrities who temporarily joined the panel have included Lionel Richie, Gene Simmons, LL Cool, Jewel, Shania Twain, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry. The first season was co-hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman, but Dunkleman quit the show before Season 2. Seacrest remained the sole host of the show for the remainder of its run on Fox.

The contestant selection process begins with a number of auditions for producers, who decide which singers will advance to perform in front of the judges on television. Those selected by the judges during the initial round then advance to Hollywood, where they go through an additional three rounds of eliminations based on the judges votes. 24 contestants will advance to the semi-final stage, during which the contestants perform on stage in front of a live audience and viewers at home are invited to vote. More contestants are voted off during the finals until just two are left to compete on the season finale.

The winner of the show receives a record deal with a major label and a management contract. The show’s past winners included Kelly Clarkson (Season 1), Ruben Studdard (Season 2), Fantasia Barrino (Season 3), Carrie Underwood (Season 4), Taylor Hicks (Season 5), Jordin Sparks (Season 6), David Cook (Season 7), Kris Allen (Season 8), Lee DeWyze (Season 9), Scott McCreery (Season 10), Phillip Phillips (Season 11), Candice Glover (Season 12), Caleb Johnson (Season 13), Nick Fradiani (Season 14) and Trent Harmon (Season 15). Despite not winning the competition, a number of other contestants have also gone on to enjoy great success in the music industry, including Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Adam Lambert, and more.

Fox announced in May 2015 that show would end after its fifteenth season. A “farewell season” aired on the network in May 2016, but it was announced in May 2017 that the series will be revived by ABC for the 2017-18 television season. Katy Perry was later announced as the first judge of the reboot.

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