Total Episodes: 566
Creators: Simon Fuller
First Air Date: Jun 11, 2002
Recent Air Date: Apr 7, 2016
Run Time: m
In Production: No
Original Language: English
Age Rating: NR
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Each year, hopeful singers from all over the country audition to be part of one of the biggest shows in American television history. Who will become the new American Idol?
2002 | 25 episodes
The first season of American Idol premiered on June 11, 2002 and continued until September 4, 2002. It was won by Kelly Clarkson. This season was co-hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman, the latter of whom left the show after this season. The winner, Kelly Clarkson, signed with RCA Records, the label in partnership with American Idol's 19 Entertainment. Immediately post-finale, Clarkson released two singles, including the coronation song, "A Moment Like This". "A Moment Like This" went on to break a thirty-eight-year-old record held by The Beatles for a song's biggest leap to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. It jumped up from number fifty-two to number one in just one week. She held that record for five years but she reclaimed that record back in 2009 with her hit single My Life Would Suck Without You when it jumped up from number ninety-seven to number one. Clarkson has enjoyed a successful recording career since winning, with multiple-platinum albums, a number of Top 10 hit singles and three Grammy Awards. Runner-up Justin Guarini also signed with RCA Records, eventually debuting an album in 2003 after the conclusion of season 2. RCA dropped him shortly after its debut. In addition to Clarkson and Guarini, also signed were Nikki McKibbin, Tamyra Gray, R. J. Helton, and Christina Christian.
2003 | 39 episodes
The second season of American Idol premiered on January 21, 2003 and continued until May 21, 2003. The title of show was shortened from American Idol: The Search for a Superstar of Season 1 to just American Idol. Brian Dunkleman quit after the first season, and Seacrest therefore became the lone host in Season 2 as well as all subsequent seasons. Kristin Holt was a special correspondent. It was won by Ruben Studdard. It was the first season to crown a male winner, and the first season to have a finale with two male contestants, Studdard and Clay Aiken, being followed by the seventh season with David Archuleta and David Cook, and then the eighth season with Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. Studdard released his coronation song "Flying Without Wings" after the show and reached number two in U.S. Hot 100. Aiken also released a single with "This Is the Night", written by Chris Braide, Aldo Nova and Gary Burr. It became the first non-winning contestant to have a Billboard Hot 100 number-one It was the biggest US single of 2003, selling over one million copies and reaching six times platinum status in Canada as well as number 1 in New Zealand. In addition to Studdard and Aiken, Kimberley Locke, Josh Gracin, Kimberly Caldwell, and Carmen Rasmusen have signed with various record labels.
2004 | 45 episodes
The third season of American Idol premiered on Monday, January 19, 2004 and continued until May 26, 2004. The third season was won by Fantasia Barrino, who defeated Diana DeGarmo by an approximate margin of 2%; the vote total was the highest recorded vote total in the show's history until the May 23, 2007 finale of the sixth season. This season also featured Jennifer Hudson, who would subsequently win the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Season 3 is the first season where both the winner and the runner-up had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, being followed by the eighth and twelfth seasons. It is the first season to have a finale with two female contestants, followed by the twelfth season; while the second, seventh and eighth seasons had a finale with two male contestants. It is also the first season where a Wild Card contestant, Leah LaBelle, is eliminated in the first episode of the finals. It is the first season to have a gender imbalance among the finalists, followed by season 8, each having eight finalists of the dominant gender. Season 3 has eight female finalists, whereas the eighth season had eight male finalists.
2005 | 42 episodes
The fourth season of American Idol premiered on January 18, 2005 and continued until May 25, 2005. It was hosted by Ryan Seacrest. Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell also returned to judge. Carrie Underwood won the season with approximately 500 million votes cast in the season and 37 million for the finale. Underwood has since gone on to become a six-time Grammy-winning country megastar. This is the last season to be aired in standard definition.
2006 | 41 episodes
The fifth season of American Idol began on January 17, 2006, and concluded on May 24, 2006. Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell returned to judge, and Ryan Seacrest returned to host. It is the most successful season to date ratings-wise and also with 18 contestants getting record deals – nine of them with major labels. It is the first season with a male winner and a female runner-up, the second being season 9, the third being season 10, and the fourth being season 11. It was also the first season of the series to be aired in high definition.
2007 | 41 episodes
The sixth season of American Idol premiered on the Fox Broadcasting Company as a two-night, four-hour premiere special on January 16 and January 17, and ran until May 23, 2007. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson returned to judge once again, and Ryan Seacrest returned as host. A new record of 74 million votes were cast in the finale round, and a new record of 609 million votes were cast in the entire season. Jordin Sparks won the competition with Blake Lewis as the first runner-up and Melinda Doolittle finishing third. Jordin Sparks is also the youngest winner of the competition, winning at age 17, as well as the first winner from outside the Southern United States. Sparks remained the last female winner until the twelfth season.
2008 | 42 episodes
The seventh season of American Idol, the annual reality show and singing competition, began on January 15, 2008 and concluded on May 21, 2008. Ryan Seacrest continued to host the show with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson returning as judges. David Cook was announced the winner of the competition on May 21, 2008, defeating runner-up David Archuleta by a margin of roughly 12 million votes out of over 97 million, which was at that time the highest recorded vote total ever recorded in the show's history. The split was 56 percent to 44 percent. The seventh season was the first season during which neither the winner nor the runner-up was ever in the bottom group during any week before the finale on May 21, 2008, with the second being the ninth season. It was also the second season during which both the winner and the runner-up were male contestants, with the second season being the first and the third being the eighth season.
2009 | 40 episodes
The eighth season of American Idol premiered on January 13, 2009, and concluded on May 20, 2009. Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson continued to judge the show's contestants, along with Ryan Seacrest as host. The season introduced Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge on the Idol panel. It was also Abdul's final season as a judge. Kris Allen, a native of Conway, Arkansas, was announced the winner of the competition on May 20, 2009, defeating runner-up Adam Lambert after nearly 100 million votes. Kris Allen is the only married winner of the competition at the time of his victory. This was the second season where both of the final two contestants had been in the bottom three or two at least once before the finale, with the first being season three. The eighth season saw numerous changes to the format of the show. There were 36 semi-finalists instead of 24, and thirteen finalists instead of twelve, nine contestants chosen by the public and four by the judges in a wild card round. Another addition was the "save," which was used on the top seven results show to veto Matt Giraud's elimination. Seven contestants from this season were signed to record deals. The signed artists are Kris Allen, who was then signed to 19 Entertainment/Jive Records. In addition to Allen, Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai and Michael Sarver.
2010 | 43 episodes
The ninth season of American Idol premiered on January 12, 2010 and concluded on May 26, 2010 on Fox. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi all returned as judges, and Ellen DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul as the fourth judge. Idol Gives Back also returned for the season and was held on April 21, 2010, during the top seven results show. The top 24 semi-finals format used in the fourth through seventh seasons also returned this season. Judges Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, and Ellen DeGeneres all left the show after this season ended, although only Cowell's departure was announced in advance. This was the second season where neither of the final 2 contestants had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, with the first being the seventh season. This was also the third consecutive season a male contestant had won, the longest streak for either gender. It was the first season since season 6 where a female made it to the finale and was also the first time since season 7 that both the finalists released a different song as a debut single. Lee DeWyze, a folk rocker from Mount Prospect, Illinois won the competition, beating the runner-up Crystal Bowersox. Eight contestants from this season were signed to record labels. The signed artists are Lee DeWyze, Crystal Bowersox, Casey James, Michael Lynche, Siobhan Magnus, Tim Urban, Didi Benami, and Lacey Brown.
2011 | 38 episodes
AMERICAN IDOL returns to celebrate its 10th anniversary in January 2011. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, television's No. 1 hit series empowers contestants and viewers to share their voices in deciding who will be America's next singing superstar. This new season promises to deliver amazing, undiscovered talent with plenty of surprises along the way. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler join Randy Jackson at the judges' table and record executive and producer Jimmy Iovine will mentor contestants.
2012 | 40 episodes
The eleventh season of American Idol premiered on Fox on January 18, 2012. The show aired on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8/7c. Ryan Seacrest returned as host, while Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler, and Jennifer Lopez all returned as judges. Interscope Records Chairman Jimmy Iovine, a songwriter and producer, also returned as an in-house mentor to work with the contestants on a weekly basis. This season followed the same format as season 10, although a new title screen and logo were created, with a different font. Tyler and Lopez announced that they would be leaving the show two months after the finale. Though Lopez later returned as a judge for the show's thirteenth season.
2013 | 37 episodes
The twelfth season of American Idol premiered on January 16, 2013, as part of the mid-season of the 2012–13 network television season. Three new judges, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban, signed on to replace Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez who left after two seasons of judging on the show. On May 9, 2013, Randy Jackson announced that this would be his final season as judge due to him wanting to focus on other business ventures. The season was the third to have four judges, after the eighth and ninth seasons. It was also the first season in the show's history where all of one gender's finalists were eliminated before any of the opposite gender's finalists, therefore making it the first to not only have an all-female top 5, but also the first season since the sixth season to produce a female winner, as well as the first season since the third season to have a finale consisting of two females. It was also the first season where the judges did not use the "Judges' Save" since its introduction in the eighth season. This was the third season where both finalists were in the bottom three or two at some point in the competition, following the third and eighth seasons.
2016 | 24 episodes
In the 15th and farewell season, host Ryan Seacrest and judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. discover an American Idol one last time, and pay tribute to the past 14 seasons of amazingly talented contestants and the millions of fans who phoned, tweeted, texted and championed their favorites.