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American Idol: 10 Movies & TV Shows Contestants Have Appeared On

Arguably one of the most popular singing reality shows of the world, American Idol has gone on for 19 seasons. Throughout this time, the show has turned lesser-known singers into popular celebrities, Broadway icons, and Grammy winners.

RELATED: American Idol: 10 Best Acts To Come From The Show

From Kelly Clarkson to Chris Daughtry, these contestants have become a part of modern American pop culture. Many like Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken, and David Archutela have had minor acting credits appearing in guest roles for popular TV shows. On the other hand, Jennifer Hudson is an exception as she went on to pursue a serious acting career after her 2006 film debut Dreamgirls.

10 Kelly Clarkson - The Kelly Clarkson Show (2019-)

The first-ever American Idol winner not only had a successful singing career but she also hosts her own talk show that has been on air since 2019. The Kelly Clarkson Show often features its titular host engaging in a feel-good conversation with her guests, while also performing cover songs for her audience.

With more than 200 episodes, the talk show has garnered three Daytime Emmy wins with Clarkson receiving the Emmy for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host.

9 Jennifer Hudson - Dreamgirls (2006)

Dreamgirls, much like the Broadway musical it is based on, is largely a work of fiction set in the backdrop of a nascent R&B music scene from the 1960s to the 1970s. However, it does bear intentional resemblances to the story of the musical trio The Supremes, and the Motown record label.

RELATED: Jennifer Hudson's 10 Best Movies, According To IMDb

Largely playing out as a musical, Dreamgirls is an interesting interpretation of greed, music, and culture that's bolstered further by its talented acting ensemble. Starring alongside Beyoncé Knowles and Eddie Murphy, Season 3 finalist Jennifer Hudson portrayed the singer Effie White. Hudson drew massive acclaim for her performance and earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

8 Adam Lambert - Glee (2009-2015)

Adam Lambert built a successful career as a pop artist after finishing as a runner-up on American Idol Season 8. Since then, he has also dabbled in acting including a recurring role in Ryan Murphy's musical series Glee.

RELATED: Glee: 10 Wildest Things That Occurred During A Performance

He plays an NYU student called Elliott Gilbert who debuts in the show after joining the cover band, Pamela Lansbury. Lambert's audition for this band made for an iconic moment in Glee's history as he performs the Lady Gaga hit "Marry The Night." Apart from showing off his vocal prowess, Lambert swings on chandeliers to make the performance as memorable as it can be.

7 Carrie Underwood - Sesame Street (1969-)

In 2009, Season 6 winner and country singer Carrie Underwood voiced a parodied version of herself on the puppet show Sesame Street. Christened as Carrie Underworm, the character is described as a 'worm celebrity' who inaugurates a racing event by performing the so-called 'Worm Anthem.'

Underwood maintained her relationship with the Muppets as she appeared in an advertisement for the 2011 Country Music Awards along with Miss Piggy and country star Brad Paisley. Underwood also had a guest appearance in an episode of How I Met Your Mother.

6 Clay Aiken - Phineas And Ferb (2007-2015)

In a Phineas and Ferb episode titled "Summer Belongs To You," Season 2 runner-up Clay Aiken guest-starred to sing a motivational tune along with Chaka Khan.

The episode finds the titular brothers attempting to travel all across the globe at the same speed as Earth's rotating, creating the longest and 'funnest' summer day of all time in this process. Even though the young inventors feel a bit discouraged initially, Aiken and Khan's duet gives them a much-needed boost of inspiration.

5 Katherine McPhee - The House Bunny (2008)

After emerging as the runner-up on Season 5, Katherine McPhee also took towards acting, starting with the 2008 comedy The House Bunny. Starring Anna Farris in the lead role, the film revolved around a former Playboy bunny who associates herself with a sorority house as their 'house mother.'

RELATED: Anna Faris' 10 Best Roles, Ranked

The Zeta Alpha Zeta house is mainly dominated by socially awkward students. McPhee plays one such member of the sorority called Harmony Bowels. Often dressed in generic hippie clothing, she's also revealed to be pregnant. McPhee also scored a leading role on NBC's musical series Smash.

4 David Archuleta - Hannah Montana (2006-2011)

Singer David Archuleta had already acquired fame at a young age with the singing show Star Search. As for his tenure on American Idol Season 7, he finished second.

Archuleta also made an appearance on the Disney Channel teen series Hannah Montana in the Season 3 episode"Promma Mia." He also gets to sing a duet with Miley Cyrus who initially ditches her prom date for this opportunity. The song, "I Wanna Know You" also ended up finding popularity outside of the show, peaking at 74 on the Billboard Hot 100.

3 Chris Daughtry - Batman: Dying Is Easy (2021)

After securing fourth place in Season 5, Chris Daughtry fronted his rock band Daughtry. The singer has been pretty vocal in his interest regarding the DC character Batman. In fact, he even recorded the song "Drown In You" for the 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City.

His love for Batman carried on with an acting role in a crowdfunded fan film. Released this March, Batman: Dying Is Easy featured Daughtry portraying the supervillain, Hugo Strange. He's joined by other iconic antagonists like The Joker (Aaron Schoenke) and The Riddler (Doug Jones).

2 Ruben Studdard - Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)

Ruben Studdard, the Grammy-nominated winner of Season 2, has had brief roles in TV shows like All Of Us, Eve, and 8 Simple Rules. But when it comes to films, his most popular cameo was in Scooby-Doo 2. Towards the film's end-credits sequence, Studdard sings the Earth, Wind, and Fire disco hit "Shining Star" as Scooby and his gang perform a retro-style dance routine.

Despite the film still maintaining some popularity, it largely received negative reviews and earned a Razzie for Worst Sequel.

1 Lauren Alania - Dancing With The Stars (2005-)

Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alania's tryst with reality television continued with Dancing With The Stars' Season 28. She competed in the dance show along with her partner Gleb Savchenko, with the couple placed fourth by the finale.

As is the case with her fellow competitors, Alania and Savchenko explored a wide variety of dancing styles including Tango, Paso Doble, Jive, and Quickstep. In the final episode, they performed the Foxtrot on "Jolene" along with a freestyle performance on "Country Girl."

NEXT: American Idol: 10 Behind The Scenes Facts You Didn't Know About The Show


NextRHONY: 10 Unpopular Opinions, According To Reddit

About The Author
Shaurya Thapa (535 Articles Published)

Shaurya Thapa is an Indian freelance journalist who mostly dabbles in writings on cinema, music, and human interest features. When it comes to Screen Rant, he writes lists on a wide array of subjects ranging from international films to mainstream Netflix series and comic book trivia. He also hosts a podcast called 'BhindiWire', an Indian parody of IndieWire.

More From Shaurya Thapa

On September 4, 2002, Kelly Clarkson, a 20-year-old cocktail waitress from Texas, wins the first season of American Idol in a live television broadcast from Hollywood’s Kodak Theater. Clarkson came out on top in the amateur singing contest over 23-year-old runner-up Justin Guarini after millions of viewers cast their votes for her by phone. She was awarded a recording contract and went on to sell millions of albums and establish a successful music career. (Clarkson and Guarnini also co-starred in the 2003 box-office bomb From Justin to Kelly, which was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for that year’s worst film but lost to the Jennifer Lopez-Ben Affleck vehicle Gigli.) Starting with its first season, American Idol became one of the most popular TV programs in U.S. history and spawned a slew of talent-competition shows.

American Idol was based on a British TV show called Pop Idol, which was developed by the English-born entertainment executive Simon Fuller and debuted in the U.K. in 2001. The Idol concept was shopped around in the United States and reportedly rejected by several TV networks before Fox picked it up. The American Idol premiere, which aired on June 11, 2002, was co-hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman (who was dropped from the program after Season One) and starred a trio of judge—the acerbic British music executive Simon Cowell, the singer-choreographer Paula Abdul and the musician-producer Randy Jackson. The show followed the judges as they selected contestants, who were required to be teens or young adults, from open auditions around the United States. Contestants who made the cut were flown to Hollywood, where they were eventually narrowed to 10 finalists, who performed live on television and were critiqued by the judges. Home viewers phoned in their votes for their favorite performers and each week the contestant who received the lowest number of votes was eliminated from the competition.

Following Clarkson’s Season One victory, subsequent American Idol winners—including Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and David Cook—have had varying degrees of success in their music careers. In some cases, American Idol runner-ups, such as Clay Aiken (Season Two, second place) and Chris Daughtry (Season Five, fourth place), have sold more records than certain A.I. winners. Jennifer Hudson, who finished seventh in Season Three of the show, later won an Academy Award for her supporting performance in Dreamgirls (2006), the film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013. 

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Indian Idol 12 Contestants Elimination – Who Got Eliminated with name and reason can be checked from this page now. Complete information about Indian Idol 12 will be made available to you in our article, so please read our article carefully. We will tell you in our article that which contestants have been eliminated from the Indian Idol show. Apart from this, today we will provide you all the information related to the show in our article. To get complete information about this you have to read our article till the end. Please bookmark our website to get all the latest updates.

Indian Idol 12 Contestants Elimination

Indian Idol is a reality show which is shown on the SonyLIV app. In this show, contestants come from different states of India and make their place in this show through their music. This show is running for 12 seasons and people like this show very much. The makers of the show always try to ensure that the TRP of the show is always high.

The show is judged by Anu Malik, Sonu Kakkar, and Himesh Reshammiya, and the show is hosted by Aditya Narayan. A total of 12 contestants were selected in this show and one contestant was eliminated every week. This is a singing reality show which is shown on the Sony TV channel and sony liv app. This show is shown every Saturday and Sunday from 8 pm to 9:30 pm.

As you all know that there is no script in this show and the contestants are declared winners according to their merit. The show’s semifinal took place on 08 August 2021. In which Karan Johar was a guest A and he came for the promotion of his new show Bigg Boss OTT. This episode was very funny and the TRP of the show has also increased tremendously from this episode.

Indian Idol 12 Elimination

The show had a total of 12 contestants in the 12th season and one of them was eliminated every week. In yesterday’s episode, one of the contestants has also been eliminated from the semi-finals. Out of 12 contestants in the semi-finals, only the top 6 contestants were left and out of which anyone has been eliminated in the semi-finals.

Indian Idol 12 Contestants Elimination

At the beginning of the semi-finals, all the contestants and judges enter the stage with the song “Tere Ghar me aaya Tujhe lene”. She performs the song “Karle Pyaar Karle Ki Din Hai Yehi” by Sayali. Impressed by his performance, Karan Johar asks him to appear in films.

Pawandeep gives his performance on the song “Abhi Mujhe Khi” in the semifinals and seeing his performance, Karan says that your name is a symbol that will take you to the top. The judges also gave a standing ovation on Pawandeep’s performance. After that Shanmukhpriya sang the song “Kurbaan Hua” and the judges and Karan liked it very much.

Then Arunita Kanjilal introduced the song “Dhadak Title Track” which struck a chord with Karan and the judges. Through this song, he showed why it is important for him to be in the top 5. Along with this, Karan Johar has also given him a chance to sing a song in his upcoming films.

Who got eliminated?

As you all know that no elimination was done in the show last week so this year everyone is very excited to know who will have to leave the show this week. Till now a total of 9 contestants have been eliminated from this show and only the top 6 contestants are left. Out of the top 6 contestants, now one contestant has been eliminated on 08 August 2021. According to the information, the name of the one who has been eliminated this week is Nihal Tauro.

After Ashish Kulkarni was eliminated last, no contestant has been eliminated. Well, it seemed that this week Saylee would be out of the show but it did not happen. After this week’s elimination, the finale episode will be shown live next week. In the finale episode itself, we will get to know who is the winner of this season. Hopefully, only the one who deserves the trophy of this show is declared the winner. In this show only you are given marks based on your talent and accordingly the winner is declared.

About Indian Idol 12 Finale

The final episode of this show will be shown on 15 August 2021. According to the information, it can be said that this time the episode will be for a total of 12 hours. It has never happened in the history of this show to date that any episode is so long. In the finale episode of 12 hours, many fun segments have been prepared by the makers.

According to the information, the winners of the last season will also entertain people with their performance in the finale. Also the host of the show Aditya Narayan will perform with his father Udit Narayan, who is a very big singer.

All the latest updates related to Indian Idol 12 will be made available to you soon, till then stay connected with our website. If you want to ask anything about Indian Idol 12, then message us in the comment section and we will reply to you soon.

Kpop idols Kiss Accidentally - Try not to laugh

China bans reality talent shows to curb behaviours of ‘idol’ fandoms

China has banned some reality talent shows and ordered broadcasters not to promote “sissy” men, in the latest attempt to reshape the culture of the country’s huge entertainment industry that authorities believe is leading young Chinese people astray.

“Broadcast and TV institutions must not screen idol development programmes or variety shows and reality shows that feature the children of celebrities,” China’s broadcast regulator, the National Radio and Television Administration said, in new regulations announced on Thursday.

The regulator also ordered broadcasters to resist “abnormal aesthetics” such as “sissy” men, “vulgar influencers”, stars’ inflated pay and performers with “lapsed morals”.

According to the regulator, the new rules are designed to rectify the supposed problems of artists’ violation of law and morality and chaos in the “fans community”, and to create an atmosphere of love for the party and the country, and respect for morality and art.

Idol development shows have become a huge phenomenon in China in recent years, in part because producers of these programmes have been introducing innovative formats from countries such as South Korea and Britain, and have successfully localised them in the Chinese market.

Programmes such as Youth with You and Produce 101 have presented the public with the making of boys’ and girls’ groups, transforming trainees – mostly young Chinese people from ordinary backgrounds – into celebrities through fierce competition and rigorous mentorship.

According to the top 10 data compiled by the Maoyan Research Institute – a spin-off of a local entertainment service provider – Produce 101 is one of the most-watched shows in China.

As much as 52% of the audience for Produce 101 were born after the 1990s, the research found, adding that young male viewers also paid great attention to this talent show, which produces girl groups.

But there have also been controversies associated with these popular reality shows and ardent supporters who follow other celebrities, the authorities believe.

After the Canadian-Chinese pop star Kris Wu was detained on rape allegations a few weeks ago, many of his loyal fans reportedly designed a “prison break” to “save” him. He denies the claims.

The authorities then vowed to curb the behaviours of China’s “chaotic” fandoms, such as what they deem to be irrational celebrity worship.

The regulator appears also to be concerned about the broader societal culture shaped by young Chinese people’s consumption of celebrity news and entertainment shows, and its potential to run against the current value promoted in China.

In Thursday’s announcement, the regulator asked Chinese media to “resolutely resist showing off wealth and enjoyment, hyping up gossip and privacy, negative hot topics, vulgar ‘internet celebrities’, and the bottomless appreciation of ugliness, and other pan-entertainment tendencies”.

Coinciding with this announcement, the regulator on Thursday also released a list of 24 what they considered to have been the best programmes in the first quarter of this year. The titles included a number of programmes related to China’s leader, Xi Jinping, as well as one called “revealing how the BBC produces anti-intellectual reports”.

“The CCP has always had a complicated relationship with popular culture,” said Michel Hockx, director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. “On the one hand, the party represents the people and wants culture to be popular. On the other hand, they really don’t approve of what the people seem to like. They consider much of popular culture to be ‘vulgar’.”

He added: “The problem is that the popular culture industry also makes an important contribution to the economy, creates jobs, etc. And a lot of people like it, so it’s not a question of just banning everything and replacing it with things that the party likes.”

According to the accounting firm PWC, China’s entertainment and media industry is expected to bring in roughly $436.8bn (£316bn) in revenue by 2025. The figure for this year is expected to be approximately $358.6bn.

Celebrities are increasingly being caught up in the changes. Last month, the Chinese actor Zheng Shuang was fined $46m for tax evasion. Around the same time, the actor and Fendi brand ambassador Zhao Wei appeared to have been deplatformed, with her name removed from all works on major entertainment platforms, including the popular Chinese TV show My Fair Princess.

Thursday’s announcement has now become one of Weibo’s hot topics, with the related hashtag being viewed at least 240m times. Opinions are divided. “I support it firmly, the regulator should have done that earlier. I never understood why some people who are nondescript, difficult to detect whether they are men or women, all of a sudden became popular, and how they earn 1bn yuan for a year,” said one.

“Why does National Radio and Television Administration have to regulate personal aesthetics? Isn’t it discrimination? How do you measure masculinity?” asked another. “Is it that you are only masculine if you look like the security guard in the subway in Xi’an?”

Additional reporting by Xiaoqian Zhu


Show idols tv

American Idol

American singing competition

For the upcoming season, see American Idol (season 20).

American Idol
American Idol ABC logo.png
Also known asAmerican Idol: The Search for a Superstar
GenreReality competition
Created bySimon Fuller
Based onPop Idol
Directed by
  • Andy Scheer (2002)
  • Bruce Gowers (2003–2006, 2008)
  • Ken Warwick (2007, 2011–12)
  • Bill DeRonde (2009, 2014–15)
  • Gregg Gelfand (2010, 2013)
  • Louis J. Horvitz (2014)
  • Phil Heyes (2015–2016, 2018–present)
Presented by
Theme music composer
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons19
No. of episodes640 (list of episodes)
Executive producers
  • Simon Fuller (2002–)
  • Cecile Frot-Coutaz (2002–18)
  • Simon Jones (2002–03)
  • Nigel Lythgoe (2002–08, 2011–13, 2016 finale)
  • Ken Warwick (2002–13)
  • J. Brian Gadinsky (2002)
  • Charles Boyd (2009–16)
  • Trish Kinane (2013–)
  • Jesse Ignjatovic (2014)
  • Evan Prager (2014)
  • Per Blankens (2014-15)
  • David Hill (2015–16)
  • Megan Wolflick (2015–)
  • Jessica Castro (2016)
  • Jennifer Mullin (2018–)
  • Phil McIntyre (2018)
  • Chris Anokute (2019)
  • Brian Burke (2021–)
Running time22–104 minutes
Production companies
Original network
  • Fox (2002–16)
  • ABC (2018–present)
Picture format
Original release
  • Original Series on Fox:
    June 11, 2002 – April 7, 2016
  • Revival Series on ABC:
    March 11, 2018 – present

American Idol is an American singing competition television series created by Simon Fuller, produced by Fremantle North America and 19 Entertainment, and distributed by Fremantle North America. It initially aired on Fox from June 11, 2002, to April 7, 2016, for 15 seasons. It was on hiatus for two years until March 11, 2018, when a revival of the series began airing on ABC.

It started as an addition to the Idols format that was based on Pop Idol from British television, and became one of the most successful shows in the history of American television. The concept of the series involves discovering recording stars from unsigned singing talents, with the winner determined by American viewers using phones, Internet, and SMS text voting. The winners of the first nineteen seasons, as chosen by viewers, are Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Trent Harmon, Maddie Poppe, Laine Hardy, Just Sam, and Chayce Beckham.

American Idol employs a panel of vocal judges who critique the contestants' performances. The original judges, for the first through eighth seasons, were record producer and music manager Randy Jackson, singer and choreographer Paula Abdul, and music executive and manager Simon Cowell. The judging panel for the last three seasons on Fox consisted of singers Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr.[1] The sixteenth season brought three new judges: singers Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan. The first season was hosted by radio personality Ryan Seacrest and comedian Brian Dunkleman, but Seacrest has been the sole master of ceremonies since the second season.

The success of American Idol has been described as "unparalleled in broadcasting history".[2] A rival TV executive said the series was "the most impactful show in the history of television".[3] It became a recognized springboard for launching the career of many artists as bona fide stars. According to Billboard magazine, in its first ten years, "Idol has spawned 345 Billboard chart-toppers and a platoon of pop idols, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert, Gabby Barrett and Jordin Sparks while remaining a TV ratings juggernaut."[4]

For an unprecedented eight consecutive years, from the 2003–04 television season through the 2010–11 season, either its performance show or result show was ranked number one in U.S. television ratings.[5]


American Idol was based on the British show Pop Idol created by Simon Fuller, which was in turn inspired by the New Zealand television singing competition Popstars. Television producer Nigel Lythgoe saw a version in Australia and helped bring it over to Britain.[6] Fuller was inspired by the idea from Popstars of employing a panel of judges to select singers in audition. He then added other elements, including telephone voting by the viewing public (which at the time was already in use in shows, such as the Eurovision Song Contest), the drama of backstories, and real-life soap opera unfolding in real time.[7]Pop Idol debuted in Britain in 2001 with Lythgoe as showrunner‍—‌the executive producer and production leader‍—‌and Simon Cowell as one of the judges, and was successful with the viewing public.[8]

In 2001, Fuller, Cowell, and TV producer Simon Jones attempted to sell the Pop Idol format to the United States, but the idea was initially met with poor responses from all the television networks including Fox.[9] However, Rupert Murdoch, head of Fox's parent company, was later persuaded to buy the series by his daughter, Elisabeth, who had seen the British show.[9] Although Fox's executives wanted to change the format, Murdoch insisted that it should remain the same as the British one. One change was nevertheless made due to the presence of multiple time zones in the United States that made it impractical for the country to vote in the same time period, an additional half-hour results show was therefore added the day following the performance show.[10] The show was renamed American Idol: The Search for a Superstar and debuted in the summer of 2002. Cowell was initially offered the job of showrunner, but turned down the offer; Lythgoe then took over that position. Much to the surprise of Cowell and Fox, it became one of the biggest shows of the summer.[11][12] With its successful launch in the summer, the show was then moved to January and expanded.[13] The show grew into a phenomenon largely due to its personal engagement with the contestants by prompting the viewers to vote, and the presence of the acid-tongued Cowell as a judge. By 2004, it had become the most-watched show on U.S. television, a position it then held for seven consecutive seasons.[14]

However, after a few years of sharp declining ratings starting in 2012, with rating falls of over 20% each season,[15] the fifteenth season would be its last on Fox, ending its run in April 2016.[16] In May 2017, ABC acquired the rights to the series and the program returned for the 2017–18 television season.[17][18] The first season of the revived series, or the 16th season overall, started airing in March 2018.[19] Four seasons have been aired on ABC as of May 2021.[20]

Judges and hosts[edit]


The show had originally planned on having four judges following the Pop Idol format; however, only three judges had been found by the time of the audition round in the first season, namely Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.[9] A fourth judge, radio DJ Stryker, was originally chosen but he dropped out citing "image concerns."[21] In the second season, New York radio personality Angie Martinez had been hired as a fourth judge but withdrew only after a few days of auditions due to not being comfortable with giving out criticism.[22] The show decided to continue with the three judges format until the eighth season. All three original judges stayed on the judging panel for eight seasons.

In the eighth season, Latin Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter and record producer Kara DioGuardi was added as a fourth judge. She stayed for two seasons and left the show before the tenth season.[23] Paula Abdul left the show before the ninth season after failing to agree to terms with the show producers.[24]Emmy Award-winning talk show host Ellen DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul for that season, but left after just one season.[25] On May 26, 2010, Simon Cowell left the show to pursue introducing the American version of his show The X Factor for 2011.[26]

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined the judging panel in the tenth season,[27] but both left after two seasons.[28] They were replaced by three new judges, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban, who joined Randy Jackson in the twelfth season.[29] However both Carey and Minaj left after one season,[30] and Randy Jackson departed the show after twelve seasons as a judge but would return as a mentor.[31][32] Urban was the only judge from the twelfth season to return in the thirteenth. He was joined by previous judge Jennifer Lopez and former mentor Harry Connick Jr.[1] Lopez, Urban, and Connick, Jr. all returned as judges for the show's fourteenth and fifteenth seasons.[33][34]

Katy Perry,[35]Luke Bryan[36] and Lionel Richie[37] were the judges on the sixteenth through nineteenth seasons.[38]

Guest judges may occasionally be introduced. In the second season, guest judges such as Lionel Richie and Robin Gibb were used, and in the third season Donna Summer, Quentin Tarantino and some of the mentors also joined as judges to critique the performances in the final rounds. Guest judges were used in the audition rounds, Gene Simmons and LL Cool J in the fourth season, Carole Bayer Sager, Jewel, and Olivia Newton-John in the sixth season, Shania Twain in the eighth season, Neil Patrick Harris, Avril Lavigne, and Katy Perry in the ninth season and Adam Lambert in the fourteenth season.


The first season was co-hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman following the format of Pop Idol of using two presenters. Dunkleman quit thereafter,[39] making Seacrest the sole emcee of the show starting with the second season. Dunkleman did, however, return in the initial series finale on Fox. Seacrest returned for the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth seasons.[40] On April 8, 2019, Bobby Bones subbed for Seacrest when he was out sick.

Selection process[edit]

In a series of steps, the show selected the eventual winner out of many tens of thousands of contestants.

Contestant eligibility[edit]

The eligible age-range for contestants is fifteen to twenty-eight years old. The initial age limit was sixteen to twenty-four in the first three seasons, but the upper limit was raised to twenty-eight in the fourth season, and the lower limit was reduced to fifteen in the tenth season. The contestants have to be legal U.S. residents, can not have advanced to particular stages of the competition in previous seasons, and must not have held a current recording or talent representation contract by the semi-final stage[41] (in previous years by the audition stage).[42]

Initial auditions[edit]

Contestants went through at least three sets of cuts. The first was a brief audition with a few other contestants in front of selectors which may include one of the show's producers. Although auditions can exceed 10,000 in each city, only a few hundred of these made it past the preliminary round of auditions. Successful contestants then sing in front of producers, where more may be cut. Only then can they proceed to audition in front of the judges, which is the only audition stage shown on television.[43] Those selected by the judges are sent to Hollywood. Between 10 and 60 people in each city may make it to Hollywood[citation needed].

Hollywood week[edit]

Once in Hollywood, the contestants performed individually or in groups in a series of rounds. Until the tenth season, there were usually three rounds of eliminations in Hollywood. In the first round the contestants emerged in groups but performed individually. For the next round, the contestants put themselves in small groups and performed a song together. In the final round, the contestants performed solo with a song of their choice a cappella or accompanied by a band‍—‌depending on the season. In the second and third seasons, contestants were also asked to write original lyrics or melody in an additional round after the first round. In the seventh season, the group round was eliminated and contestants may, after a first solo performance and on judges approval, skip a second solo round and move directly to the final Hollywood round. In the twelfth season, the executive producers split up the females and males and chose the members to form the groups in the group round.

In the tenth and eleventh seasons, a further round was added in Las Vegas, where the contestants performed in groups based on a theme, followed by one final solo round to determine the semi-finalists. At the end of this stage of the competition, 24 to 36 contestants were selected to move on to the semi-final stage. In the twelfth season the Las Vegas round became a Sudden Death round, where the judges had to choose five guys and five girls each night (four nights) to make the top twenty. In the thirteenth season, the Las Vegas round was eliminated and a new round called "Hollywood or Home" was added, where if the judges were uncertain about some contestants, those contestants were required to perform soon after landing in Los Angeles, and those who failed to impress were sent back home before they reached Hollywood. In the fourteenth season, the "Hollywood or Home" round was dropped, and a Showcase round was added, where the contestants performed at a LA nightclub or auditorium for the judges and a live audience, and these performances determine who makes into the Top 24. In the seventeenth and eighteenth seasons, the showcase round took place in Hawaii. In the nineteenth season, a showstopper round was used.

Audience voting[edit]

From the semi-finals onward, the fate of the contestants was decided by public vote. During the contestant's performance as well as the recap at the end, a toll-free telephone number for each contestant was displayed on the screen. For a two-hour period after the episode ends (up to four hours for the finale) in each US time zone, viewers may call or send a text message to their preferred contestant's telephone number, and each call or text message was registered as a vote for that contestant. Viewers were allowed to vote as many times as they can within the two-hour voting window. However, the show reserves the right to discard votes by power dialers.[44] One or more of the least popular contestants may be eliminated in successive weeks until a winner emerges. Over 110 million votes were cast in the first season, and by the tenth season the seasonal total had increased to nearly 750 million. Voting via text messaging was made available in the second season when AT&T Wireless joined as a sponsor of the show, and 7.5 million text messages were sent to American Idol that season.[45] The number of text messages rapidly increased, reaching 178 million texts by the eighth season.[46] Online voting was offered for the first time in the tenth season. The votes are counted and verified by Telescope Inc.[47]


In the first three seasons, the semi-finalists were split into different groups to perform individually in their respective night. In the first season, there were three groups of ten, with the top three contestants from each group making the finals. In the second and third seasons, there were four groups of eight, and the top two of each selected. These seasons also featured a wildcard round, where contestants who failed to qualify were given another chance. In the first season, only one wildcard contestant was chosen by the judges, giving a total of ten finalists. In the second and third seasons, each of the three judges championed one contestant with the public advancing a fourth into the finals, making 12 finalists in all.

From the fourth through seventh and ninth seasons, the twenty-four semi-finalists were divided by gender in order to ensure an equal gender division in the top twelve. The men and women sang separately on consecutive nights, and the bottom two in each groups were eliminated each week until only six of each remained to form the top twelve.

The wildcard round returned in the eighth season, wherein there were three groups of twelve, with three contestants moving forward – the highest male, the highest female, and the next highest-placed singer – for each night, and four wildcards were chosen by the judges to produce a final 13. Starting in tenth season, the girls and boys perform on separate nights. In the tenth and eleventh seasons, five of each gender were chosen, and three wildcards were chosen by the judges to form a final 13. In the twelfth season, the top twenty semifinalists were split into gender groups, with five of each gender advancing to form the final 10. In the thirteenth season, there were thirty semifinalists, but only twenty semifinalists (ten for each gender) were chosen by the judges to perform on the live shows, with five in each gender based on the vote and three wildcards chosen by the judges composing the final 13. In the fourteenth season, the top 24 performed at The Fillmore Detroit, starting with the 12 males on one night and then the 12 females on the next night. The following week, the same order went for the top 16, with four males eliminated, followed by four females based on the vote. Then, on the first night of finals, a similar sequence from the thirteenth season was used to determine the final 12, with five of each gender based on the vote and two wildcards chosen by the judges. In the fifteenth season, the top 24 performed at Cathedral of Saint Vibiana in Los Angeles and were split into two groups of twelve and performed twice, one being a solo performance and one being a duet with a former Idol contestant. In each group, the judges chose 7 contestants to advance to the top 14 where the judges chose 4 to advance to the top 10 and remaining 6 contestants were chosen based on the vote. In the sixteenth season, the top 24 performed at the Academy in the Heart of LA, and the show repeated the process from the previous season. However, instead of Idol alumnus as duet partners, superstar celebrity singers were used as the duet partners. In the seventeenth season, the show repeated the process again. However, instead of a top 24, it's a top 20, the contestants performed at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles, and performed solos in one episode, and performed the duets in two episodes. In the eighteenth season, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the top 20 performed at their homes, and based on the vote, half of the top 20 would advance to the top 10, and the other half would be eliminated. However, a wild card was given to one of the bottom 10 to save them from elimination.[48][49] In the nineteenth season, the show used a combination of the process from the sixteenth and fourteenth seasons.


The finals were broadcast in prime time from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, in front of a live studio audience. The finals lasted eight weeks in the first season. From the second to ninth and fourteenth seasons, the finals lasted eleven weeks. The tenth and eleventh seasons lasted for twelve weeks, while the twelfth season lasted for ten weeks. In the thirteenth season, the finals lasted thirteen weeks. The finals lasted seven weeks in the fifteenth season, and six weeks in the sixteenth season. Each finalist performs songs based on a weekly theme which may be a musical genre such as Motown, disco, or big band, songs by artists such as Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley or The Beatles, or more general themes such as Billboard number-one hits or songs from the contestant's year of birth. Contestants usually worked with a celebrity mentor related to the theme. In the tenth season, Jimmy Iovine was brought in as a mentor for the season. Initially the contestants sang one song each week, but this was increased to two songs from top four or five onwards, then three songs for the top two or three.

The most popular contestants were usually not revealed in the results show. Instead, typically the three contestants (two in later rounds) who received the lowest number of votes was called to the center of the stage. One of these three was usually sent to safety; however the two remaining were not necessarily the bottom two.[50] The contestant with the fewest votes was then revealed and eliminated from the competition. A montage of the eliminated contestant's time on the show was played and they gave their final performance (from the fourteenth season onward, the montage and the final performance were dropped). However, in the sixth season, during the series' first ever Idol Gives Back episode, no contestant was eliminated, but on the following week, two were sent home. Moreover, starting in eighth season, the judges may overturn viewers' decision with a "Judges' Save" if they unanimously agreed to. "The save" could only be used once, and only up through the top five. In the eighth to tenth and fourteenth seasons, a double elimination then took place in the week following the activation of the save, but in the eleventh and thirteenth seasons, a regular single elimination took place. The save was not activated in the twelfth season and consequently, a non-elimination took place in the week after its expiration with the votes then carrying over into the following week.

The "Fan Save" was introduced in the fourteenth season. During the finals, viewers were given a five-minute window to vote for the contestants in danger of elimination by using their Twitter account to decide which contestant will move on to the next show, starting with the Top 8.

Season finale[edit]

The finale was the two-hour last episode of the season, culminating in revealing the winner. For the first, third through sixth and fourteenth through fifteenth seasons it was broadcast from the Dolby Theatre, which has an audience capacity of approximately 3,400. The second-season finale took place at the Gibson Amphitheatre, which had an audience capacity of over 6,000. In the seventh through thirteenth seasons, the venue was at the Nokia Theater, which holds an audience of over 7,000. Since the show's reboot on ABC, the venue did not change for the Finals. In the eighteenth season, the venue was at the contestants' homes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rewards for winner and finalists[edit]

The winner received a record deal with a major label, which may be for up to six albums,[51][52] and secures a management contract with American Idol-affiliated 19 Management (which has the right of first refusal to sign all contestants), as well as various lucrative contracts. All winners prior to the ninth season reportedly earned at least $1 million in their first year as winner.[52] At first the contract came with a $250,000-plus advance, but dropped to about $62,500 over the Fox years.[53] All the runners-up of the first ten seasons, as well as some of other finalists, had also received record deals with major labels. However, starting in the eleventh season, the runner-up may only be guaranteed a single-only deal.[54]BMG/Sony (first through ninth seasons), UMG (tenth through fifteenth seasons), and Disney Music Group's Hollywood Records (sixteenth season onward) had the right of first refusal to sign contestants for three months after the season's finale. In the fourteenth and fifteenth seasons, the winner was signed with Big Machine Records. Prominent music mogul Clive Davis also produced some of the selected contestants' albums, such as Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo. All top 10 (11 in the tenth and twelfth seasons, 5 in the fourteenth season, and 7 in the sixteenth season) finalists earn the privilege of going on a tour, where the participants may each earn a six-figure sum.[55]

Series overview[edit]

Color key

  Female contestant

  Male contestant

Season Premiere Finale No. of contestants No. of episodes Judges Winner Runner-up Third place
FOX era (2002–16)
1June 11, 2002 September 4, 2002 30 25 Simon CowellPaula AbdulRandy JacksonKelly ClarksonJustin GuariniNikki McKibbin
2January 21, 2003 May 21, 2003 36 41 Ruben StuddardClay AikenKimberley Locke
3January 19, 2004 May 26, 2004 32 44 Fantasia BarrinoDiana DeGarmoJasmine Trias
4January 18, 2005 May 25, 2005 24 32 Carrie UnderwoodBo BiceVonzell Solomon
5January 17, 2006 May 25, 2006 24 41 Taylor HicksKatharine McPheeElliott Yamin
6January 16, 2007 May 23, 2007 24 41 Jordin SparksBlake LewisMelinda Doolittle
7January 15, 2008 May 21, 2008 24 42 David CookDavid ArchuletaSyesha Mercado
8January 13, 2009 May 20, 2009 36 40 Kara DioGuardiKris AllenAdam LambertDanny Gokey
9January 12, 2010 May 26, 2010 24 43 Ellen DeGeneresLee DeWyzeCrystal BowersoxCasey James
10January 19, 2011 May 25, 2011 24 39 Steven TylerJennifer LopezScotty McCreeryLauren AlainaHaley Reinhart
11January 18, 2012 May 23, 2012 25 40 Phillip PhillipsJessica SanchezJoshua Ledet
12January 16, 2013 May 16, 2013 20 37 Keith UrbanNicki MinajMariah CareyCandice GloverKree HarrisonAngie Miller
13January 15, 2014 May 21, 2014 20 39 Jennifer Lopez Harry Connick Jr.Caleb JohnsonJena IreneAlex Preston
14January 7, 2015 May 13, 2015 24 30 Nick FradianiClark BeckhamJax
15January 6, 2016 April 7, 2016 24 24 Trent HarmonLa'Porsha RenaeDalton Rapattoni
ABC revival era (2018–present)
16March 11, 2018 May 21, 2018 24 19 Luke BryanKaty PerryLionel RichieMaddie PoppeCaleb Lee HutchinsonGabby Barrett
17March 3, 2019 May 19, 2019 20 18 Laine HardyAlejandro ArandaMadison VanDenburg
18February 16, 2020 May 17, 2020 20 16 Just SamArthur GunnDillon James
Francisco Martin
Jonny West1
19February 14, 2021 May 23, 2021 25 (34)219 Chayce BeckhamWillie Spence Grace Kinstler
202022 2022 TBA TBA
  1. ^ Owning to the production difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the finale had five contestants instead of three, and the three contestants who failed to place in the Top 2 finished in joint-third place.
  2. ^ 25 contestants participated in the finals, with the original 24 contestants plus one contestant (Arthur Gunn) voted in from the ten contestants in the Comeback round.

Season synopses[edit]

Main article: List of American Idol episodes

Each season premieres with the audition round, taking place in different cities. The audition episodes typically feature a mix of potential finalists, interesting characters and woefully inadequate contestants. Each successful contestant receives a golden ticket to proceed on to the next round in Hollywood. Based on their performances during the Hollywood round (Las Vegas round from the tenth through twelfth seasons), 24 to 36 contestants are selected by the judges to participate in the semifinals. From the semifinals onward the contestants perform their songs live, with the judges making their critiques after each performance. The contestants are voted for by the viewing public, and the outcome of the public votes is then revealed during a results segment. The results segment feature group performances by the contestants as well as guest performers. The Top-three results also features homecoming events for the Top 3 finalists. The season reaches its climax in a two-hour results finale show, where the winner of the season is revealed.

With the exception of the first two seasons, the contestants in the semifinals onward perform in front of a studio audience. They perform with a full band in the finals. The current musical director is Kris Pooley, who has been with the show since the sixteenth season. In previous seasons, the American Idol band was led by Rickey Minor (fourth through ninth and thirteenth through fifteenth seasons) and Ray Chew (tenth through twelfth seasons). Assistance has also been given by vocal coaches and song arrangers, such as Michael Orland and Debra Byrd to contestants behind the scene. Starting with the seventh season, contestants may perform with a musical instrument from the Hollywood rounds onward. In later seasons, the contestants were allowed to perform with a musical instrument in the auditions. During the first nine seasons, performances were usually aired live on Tuesday nights, followed by the results shows on Wednesdays, but moved to Wednesdays and Thursdays from the tenth through thirteenth seasons. From the fourteenth season onward, there were no separate results shows. On the fourteenth season, the show aired on Wednesday nights, and on the fifteenth season, Thursday nights. From the sixteenth season onward, it aired on Sundays and Mondays.

2002–2016: Fox[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 1)

The first season of American Idol debuted as a summer replacement show in June 2002 on the Fox network. It was co-hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman.

In the audition rounds, 121 contestants were selected from around 10,000 who attended the auditions. These were cut to 30 for the semifinal, with ten going on to the finals. One semifinalist, Delano Cagnolatti, was disqualified for lying to evade the show's age limit. One of the early favorites, Tamyra Gray, was eliminated at the top four, the first of several such shock eliminations that were to be repeated in later seasons. Christina Christian was hospitalized before the top six result show due to chest pains and palpitations, and she was eliminated while she was in the hospital.[56]Jim Verraros was the first openly gay contestant on the show; his sexual orientation was revealed on his blog, however it was removed during the competition after a request from the show producers over concerns that it might be unfairly influencing votes.[57]

The final showdown was between Justin Guarini, one of the early favorites, and Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson was not initially thought of as a contender,[58] but impressed the judges with some good performances in the final rounds, such as her performance of Aretha Franklin's "Natural Woman", and Betty Hutton's "Stuff Like That There", and eventually won the crown on September 4, 2002.

In what was to become a tradition, Clarkson performed the coronation song during the finale, and released the song immediately after the season ended. The single, "A Moment Like This", went on to break a 38-year-old record held by The Beatles for the biggest leap to number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Guarini did not release any song immediately after the show and remains the only runner-up not to do so. Both Clarkson and Guarini made a musical film, From Justin to Kelly, which was released in 2003 but was widely panned. Clarkson has since become one of the most successful Idol contestants internationally,[59] with worldwide album sales of more than 23 million.[60]

Starting September 30, 2006, this season was repackaged as "American Idol Rewind" and syndicated directly to stations in the U.S.

Season 2[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 2)

Following the success of the first season, the second season was moved up to air in January 2003. The number of episodes increased, as did the show's budget and the charge for commercial spots. Dunkleman left the show, leaving Seacrest as the lone host. Kristin Adams was a correspondent for this season.[61]

Corey Clark was disqualified during the finals for having an undisclosed police record; however, he later alleged that he and Paula Abdul had an affair while on the show and that this contributed to his expulsion. Clark also claimed that Abdul gave him preferential treatment on the show due to their affair. The allegations were dismissed by Fox after an independent investigation.[62] Two semi-finalists were also disqualified that year – Jaered Andrews for an arrest on an assault charge, and Frenchie Davis for having previously modelled for an adult website.[63]

Ruben Studdard emerged as the winner, beating Clay Aiken by a small margin. Out of a total of 24 million votes, Studdard finished just 134,000 votes ahead of Aiken. This slim margin of victory was controversial due to the large number of calls that failed to get through.[64] In an interview prior to the fifth season, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe indicated that Aiken had led the fan voting from the wildcard week onward until the finale.[65]

Both finalists found success after the show, but Aiken out-performed Studdard's coronation song "Flying Without Wings" with his single release from the show "This Is the Night", as well as in their subsequent album releases. The fourth-place finisher Josh Gracin also enjoyed some success as a country singer.[66]

Season 3[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 3)

The third season premiered on January 19, 2004. One of the most talked-about contestants during the audition process was William Hung whose off-key rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" received widespread attention. His exposure on Idol landed him a record deal and surprisingly he became the third best-selling singer from that season.[67]

Much media attention on the season had been focused on the three black singers, Fantasia Barrino, LaToya London, and Jennifer Hudson, dubbed the Three Divas. All three unexpectedly landed on the bottom three on the top seven result show, with Hudson controversially eliminated.[68] Elton John, who was one of the mentors that season, called the results of the votes "incredibly racist".[69] The prolonged stays of John Stevens and Jasmine Trias in the finals, despite negative comments from the judges, had aroused resentment, so much so that John Stevens reportedly received a death threat, which he dismissed as a joke 'blown out of proportion'.[70]

The performance of "Summertime" by Barrino, later known simply as "Fantasia", at Top 8 was widely praised, and Simon Cowell considered it as his favorite Idol moment in the nine seasons he was on the show.[71] Fantasia and Diana DeGarmo were the last two finalists, and Fantasia was crowned as the winner. Fantasia released as her coronation single "I Believe", a song co-written by the first season finalist Tamyra Gray, and DeGarmo released "Dreams".

Season 4[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 4)

The fourth season premiered on January 18, 2005; this was the first season of the series to be aired in high definition, although the finale of the third season was also aired in high definition. The number of those attending the auditions by now had increased to over 100,000 from the 10,000 of the first season. The age limit was raised to 28 in this season,[42] and among those who benefited from this new rule were Constantine Maroulis and Bo Bice, the two rockers of the show.

The top 12 finalists originally included Mario Vazquez, but he dropped out citing 'personal reasons'[72] and was replaced by Nikko Smith. Later, an employee of Fremantle Media, which produces the show, sued the company for wrongful termination, claiming that he was dismissed after complaining about lewd behavior by Vazquez toward him during the show.[73]

During the top 11 week, due to a mix-up with the contestants' telephone number, voting was repeated on what was normally the result night, with the result reveal postponed until the following night.

In May 2005, Carrie Underwood was announced the winner, with Bice the runner-up. Both Underwood and Bice released the coronation song "Inside Your Heaven", with Underwood's version of the song making her the first country artist ever to debut at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[74] As of 2015, Underwood has become the most successful Idol contestant in the U.S.,[59] selling 16 million albums in the country,[75] while selling a total of 65 million records worldwide.[76]

Season 5[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 5)

The fifth season began on January 17, 2006. It remains the highest-rated season in the show's run so far. Two of the more prominent contestants during the Hollywood round were the Brittenum twins who were later disqualified for identity theft.[77]

Chris Daughtry's performance of Fuel's "Hemorrhage (In My Hands)" on the show was widely praised and led to an invitation to join the band as Fuel's new lead singer, an invitation he declined.[78] His performance of Live's version of "I Walk the Line" was well received by the judges but later criticized in some quarters for not crediting the arrangement to Live.[79] He was eliminated at the top four in a shocking result.

On May 30, 2006, Taylor Hicks was named American Idol, with Katharine McPhee the runner-up. "Do I Make You Proud" was released as Hicks' first single and McPhee's was "My Destiny".

Despite being eliminated earlier in the season, Chris Daughtry (as lead of the band Daughtry) became the most successful recording artist from this season.[80] Other contestants, such as Hicks, McPhee, Bucky Covington, Mandisa, Kellie Pickler, and Elliott Yamin have had varying levels of success.

Season 6[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 6)

The sixth season began on Tuesday, January 16, 2007. The premiere drew a massive audience of 37.3 million viewers, peaking in the last half hour with more than 41 million viewers.[81]

Teenager Sanjaya Malakar was the season's most talked-about contestant for his unusual hairdo,[82] and for managing to survive elimination for many weeks due in part to the weblog Vote for the Worst and satellite radio personality Howard Stern, who both encouraged fans to vote for him. However, on the Top 7 results, Sanjaya was voted off.[83]

This season saw the first Idol Gives Back telethon-inspired event, which raised more than $76 million in corporate and viewer donations.[84] No contestant was eliminated that week, but two (Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson) were eliminated the next.

In the May 23 season finale, Jordin Sparks was declared the winner with the runner-up being Blake Lewis. Sparks has had some success as a recording artist post-Idol.

This season also saw the launch of the American Idol Songwriter contest which allows fans to vote for the "coronation song". Thousands of recordings of original songs were submitted by songwriters, and 20 entries selected for the public vote. The winning song, "This Is My Now", was performed by both finalists during the finale and released by Sparks on May 24, 2007.[85]

Season 7[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 7)

The seventh season premiered on January 15, 2008, for a two-day, four-hour premiere. The media focused on the professional status of the seventh season contestants, the so-called 'ringers',[86] many of whom, including Kristy Lee Cook, Brooke White, Michael Johns, and in particular Carly Smithson, had prior recording contracts.[87] Contestant David Hernandez also attracted some attention due to his past employment as a stripper.[88]

For the finals, American Idol debuted a new state-of-the-art set and stage on March 11, 2008, along with a new on-air look. David Cook's performance of "Billie Jean" on top-ten night was lauded by the judges, but provoked controversy when they apparently mistook the Chris Cornell arrangement to be David Cook's own even though the performance was introduced as Cornell's version. Cornell himself said he was 'flattered' and praised David Cook's performance.[89] David Cook was taken to the hospital after the top-nine performance show due to heart palpitations and high blood pressure.[90]

David Archuleta's performance of John Lennon's "Imagine" was considered by many as one of the best of the season. Jennifer Lopez, who was brought in as a judge in the tenth season, called it a beautiful song-moment that she will never forget.[91]Jason Castro's semi-final performance of "Hallelujah" also received considerable attention, and it propelled Jeff Buckley's version of the song to the top of the Billboarddigital song chart.[92] This was the first season in which contestants' recordings were released onto iTunes after their performances, and although sales information was not released so as not to prejudice the contest, leaked information indicated that contestants' songs frequently reached the top of iTunes sales charts.[93]

Idol Gives Back returned on April 9, 2008, and raised $64 million for charity.[84]

The finalists were Cook and Archuleta. David Cook was announced the winner on May 21, 2008, the first rocker to win the show. Both Cook and Archuleta had some success as recording artists with both selling over a million albums in the U.S.[80]

The American Idol Songwriter contest was also held this season. From ten of the most popular submissions, each of the final two contestants chose a song to perform, although neither of their selections was used as the "coronation song". The winning song, "The Time of My Life", was recorded by David Cook and released on May 22, 2008.

Season 8[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 8)

The eighth season premiered on January 13, 2009. Mike Darnell, the president of alternative programming for Fox, stated that the season would focus more on the contestants' personal life.[94]

In the first major change to the judging panel, a fourth judge, Kara DioGuardi, was introduced. This was also the first season without executive producer Nigel Lythgoe who left to focus on the international versions of his show So You Think You Can Dance.[95] The Hollywood round was moved to the Kodak Theatre for 2009 and was also extended to two weeks. Idol Gives Back was canceled for this season due to the global recession at the time.

There were 13 finalists this season, but two were eliminated in the first result show of the finals. A new feature introduced was the "Judges' Save", and Matt Giraud was saved from elimination at the top seven by the judges when he received the fewest votes. The next week, Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai were eliminated.

The two finalists were Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, both of whom had previously landed in the bottom three at the top five. Allen won the contest in the most controversial voting result since the second season. It was claimed,[96] and then later retracted,[97] that 38 million of the 100 million votes cast on the night came from Allen's home state of Arkansas alone, and that AT&T employees unfairly influenced the votes by giving lessons on power-texting at viewing parties in Arkansas.[98]

Both Allen and Lambert released the coronation song, "No Boundaries" which was co-written by DioGuardi. This is the first season in which the winner failed to achieve gold album status.[99]

Season 9[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 9)

The ninth season premiered on January 12, 2010. The upheaval at the judging panel continued. Ellen DeGeneres joined as a judge to replace Paula Abdul at the start of Hollywood Week.

One of the most prominent auditioners this season was General Larry Platt whose performance of "Pants on the Ground" became a viral hit song.[100]

Crystal Bowersox, who has Type-I diabetes, fell ill due to diabetic ketoacidosis on the morning of the girls performance night for the top 20 week and was hospitalized.[101] The schedule was rearranged so the boys performed first and she could perform the following night instead; she later revealed that Ken Warwick, the show producer, wanted to disqualify her but she begged to be allowed to stay on the show.[101]

Michael Lynche was the lowest vote getter at top nine and was given the Judges' Save. The next week Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia were eliminated. That week, Adam Lambert was invited back to be a mentor, the first Idol alum to do so. Idol Gives Back returned this season on April 21, 2010, and raised $45 million.[84]

A special tribute to Simon Cowell was presented in the finale for his final season with the show. Many figures from the show's past, including Paula Abdul, made an appearance.

The final two contestants were Lee DeWyze and Bowersox. DeWyze was declared the winner during the May 26 finale. No new song was used as coronation song this year; instead, the two finalists each released a cover song – DeWyze chose U2's "Beautiful Day", and Bowersox chose Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain". This is the first season where neither finalist achieved significant album sales.[102]

Season 10[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 10)

The tenth season premiered on January 19, 2011. Many changes were introduced this season, from the format to the personnel of the show. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined Randy Jackson as judges following the departures of Simon Cowell (who left to launch the American version of The X Factor), Kara DioGuardi (whose contract was not renewed) and Ellen DeGeneres,[27] while Nigel Lythgoe returned as executive producer. Jimmy Iovine, chairman of the Interscope Geffen A&M label group, the new partner of American Idol, acted as the in-house mentor in place of weekly guest mentors,[27] although in later episodes special guest mentors such as Beyoncé, and Lady Gaga were brought in.

The tenth season is the first to include online auditions where contestants could submit a 40-second video audition via Myspace.[103]Karen Rodriguez was one such auditioner and reached the final rounds.

One of the more prominent contestants this year was Chris Medina, whose story of caring for his brain-damaged fiancée received widespread coverage.[104] Medina was cut in the Top 40 round. Casey Abrams, who suffers from ulcerative colitis, was hospitalized twice and missed the Top 13 result show. The judges used their one save on Abrams on the Top 11, and as a result this was the first season that 11 finalists went on tour instead of 10. In the following week, Naima Adedapo and Thia Megia were both eliminated.

Pia Toscano, one of the presumed favorites to advance far in the season, was unexpectedly eliminated on April 7, 2011, finishing in ninth place. Her elimination drew criticisms from some former Idol contestants, as well as actor Tom Hanks.[105]

The two finalists in 2011 were Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery, both teenage country singers. McCreery won the competition on May 25, being the youngest male winner and the fourth male in a row to win American Idol. McCreery released his first single, "I Love You This Big", as his coronation song, and Alaina released "Like My Mother Does". McCreery's debut album, Clear as Day, became the first debut album by an Idol winner to reach No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 since Ruben Studdard's Soulful in 2003, and he became the youngest male artist to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200.[106]

Season 11[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 11)

The eleventh season premiered on January 18, 2012. One more finalist would join the Top 24 making it the Top 25, which was later revealed to be Jermaine Jones. However, on March 14, Jones was disqualified in 12th place for concealing arrests and outstanding warrants. Jones denied the accusation that he concealed his arrests.[107]

Finalist Phillip Phillips suffered from kidney pain and was taken to the hospital before the Top 13 results show, and later received medical procedure to alleviate a blockage caused by kidney stones.[108] He was reported to have eight surgeries during his Idol run, and had considered quitting the show due to the pain.[109] He underwent surgery to remove the stones and reconstruct his kidney soon after the season had finished.[110]

Jessica Sanchez received the fewest votes during the Top 7 week, and the judges decided to use their "save" option on her, making her the first female recipient of the save. The following week, unlike previous seasons, Colton Dixon was the only contestant sent home. Sanchez later made the final two, the first season where a recipient of the save reached the finale.

Phillips became the winner, beating Sanchez. During the finale, fifth season finalist Ace Young proposed marriage to third season runner-up Diana DeGarmo on stage – which she accepted.[111]

Phillips released "Home" as his coronation song, while Sanchez released "Change Nothing". Phillips' "Home" has since become the best selling of all coronation songs, with over 5 million copies sold.[112][113]

Season 12[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 12)

The twelfth season premiered on January 16, 2013. Judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler left the show after two seasons. This season's judging panel consisted of Randy Jackson, along with Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj. This was the first season since the ninth season to have four judges on the panel. The pre-season buzz and the early episodes of the show were dominated by the feud between the judges Minaj and Carey after a video of their dispute was leaked to TMZ.[114]

The top 10 contestants started with five males and five females, however, the males were eliminated consecutively in the first five weeks, with Lazaro Arbos the last male to be eliminated. For the first time in the show's history, the top 5 contestants were all female. It was also the first time that the judges' "save" was not used, the top four contestants were therefore given an extra week to perform again with their votes carried over with no elimination in the first week.

23-year-old Candice Glover won the season with Kree Harrison taking the runner-up spot. Glover is the first female to win American Idol since Jordin Sparks. Glover released "I Am Beautiful" as a single while Harrison released "All Cried Out" immediately after the show. Glover sold poorly with her debut album, and this is also the first season that the runner-up was not signed by a music label.[115]

Towards the end of the season, Randy Jackson, the last remaining of the original judges, would no longer serve as a judge to pursue other business ventures.[31] Both judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj also decided to leave after one season to focus on their music careers.[30]

Season 13[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 13)

The thirteenth season premiered on January 15, 2014. Randy Jackson and Keith Urban returned, though Jackson moved from the judging panel to the role of in-mentor. Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj left the panel after one season. Former judge Jennifer Lopez and former mentor Harry Connick, Jr. joined Urban on the panel. Also, Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were replaced as executive producers by Per Blankens, Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Pragger. Bill DeRonde replaced Warwick as a director of the audition episodes, while Louis J. Horvitz replaced Gregg Gelfand as a director of the show.[116]

This was the first season where the contestants were permitted to perform in the final rounds songs they wrote themselves. In the Top 8, Sam Woolf received the fewest votes, but he was saved from elimination by the judges. The 500th episode of the series was the Top 3 performance night.[117]

Caleb Johnson was named the winner of the season, with Jena Irene as the runner-up.[118] Johnson released "As Long as You Love Me" as his coronation single while Irene released "We Are One".[119]

Season 14[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 14)

The fourteenth season premiered on January 7, 2015. Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. returned for their respective fourth, third and second seasons as judges. Eighth season runner-up Adam Lambert filled in for Urban during the New York City auditions. Randy Jackson did not return as the in-house mentor for this season.[120]Scott Borchetta replaced Jackson as the mentor.

Changes this season include only airing one episode a week during the final ten.[121] Coca-Cola ended their longtime sponsorship of the show[122] and Ford Motor Company maintained a reduced role. The winner of the season also received a recording contract with Big Machine Records.

Nick Fradiani won the season, defeating Clark Beckham. By winning, Fradiani became the first winner from the Northeast region. Fradiani released "Beautiful Life" as his coronation single while Beckham released "Champion". Jax, the third place finalist, also released a single called "Forcefield".

Season 15[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 15)

Fox announced on May 11, 2015 that the fifteenth season would be the final season of American Idol; as such, the season was expected to have an additional focus on the program's alumni. Ryan Seacrest returned as host, with Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban, and Jennifer Lopez all returning as judges.[16] The fifteenth season premiered on January 6, 2016. The season was shortened by four weeks compared to previous years.[123] During the finale episode, President Barack Obama praised the millions of young people that voted for contestants and pitched that they vote in the upcoming election. The farewell season concluded on April 7, 2016. Seacrest signed off by saying: "And one more time—this is so tough—we say to you from Hollywood, goodnight America", and then he added, "for now."[124]

Trent Harmon won the season against runner-up La'Porsha Renae. Harmon released "Falling" co-written by Keith Urban as his coronation song.[125] Renae's "Battles", third-place finisher Dalton Rapattoni's "Strike A Match" and fourth-place finisher MacKenzie Bourg's "Roses" were also released as singles.[126][127]

2018–present: ABC revival[edit]

In early 2017, Variety reported that Fremantle Media was in talks to revive the show for NBC or for its original network, Fox.[128] A dispute between Fremantle and Core Media Group derailed these plans.[129] In May 2017, ABC was making a bid to revive the program.[130] ABC acquired the rights to the series, and American Idol returned for the 2017–18 television season.[131][132]

Season 16[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 16)

Katy Perry,[35]Luke Bryan[36] and Lionel Richie[37] were the three judges and Ryan Seacrest returned as host.[133] The sixteenth season premiered on March 11, 2018.[19] The season was again shortened compared to the previous season to twelve weeks, with multiple elimination in the final rounds. Unlike previous seasons where only two finalists remained in the final episode, three finalists performed in the finale. On May 21, 2018 the season concluded with Maddie Poppe crowned the winner, beating Caleb Lee Hutchinson as runner-up and Gabby Barrett in third place. Her winning song was "Going, Going, Gone". Caleb Lee Hutchinson released "Johnny Cash Heart" as a single, while Gabby Barrett's song was "Rivers Deep".[134]

Season 17[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 17)

ABC renewed the revival series for another season. Perry, Bryan and Richie returned as judges, while Seacrest returned as host.[135] The seventeenth season premiered on March 3, 2019. For the finale, the show no longer features separate performance and result shows. On May 19, 2019 the season concluded with three finalists, with Madison VanDenburg eliminated in third place after performing two songs, and the final two performing their last song. For the first time, there were no separate performance and grand finale shows this season. Laine Hardy was crowned the winner and Alejandro Aranda runner-up. Hardy released a single, "Flame", immediately after the win, but Aranda did not.[136][137] However, Aranda later released a song he performed in the finale, "Tonight", under the name Scarypoolparty on June 28, 2019.[138]

Season 18[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 18)

On May 13, 2019, the series was renewed for an eighteenth season and premiered on February 16, 2020.[139][140] Seacrest returned as the host.[141] For the first time, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, from the top 20 to the finale, the contestants performed in their own homes, while Ryan Seacrest hosted the show remotely in his own home in Los Angeles with the judges also in their respective homes.[49][142] The season was also further truncated, with the top 5 performing in the finale. Each finalist also performed only two songs for the finale.[143]Just Sam was crowned the winner, with Arthur Gunn finishing as the runner-up.[144] "Rise Up", the song Just Sam performed for her audition and reprised on the finale, was released as her debut song.[145][146]

Season 19[edit]

Main article: American Idol (season 19)

On May 15, 2020, ABC renewed the series for a nineteenth season.[147] In August, it was announced that Seacrest would be returning as host and that Perry, Bryan and Richie would again be judges.[148] Later in October, it was announced that Bones will return as mentor. On November 10, they announced the season will premiere on February 14, 2021.[149]Chayce Beckham was crowned the winner, with Willie Spence finishing as the runner-up. "23", the song Chayce Beckham wrote and performed for Top 4, was released as his debut song.[20]

Season 20[edit]

On May 13, 2021, ABC renewed the series for a twentieth season.[150] In August, it was announced that Seacrest would be returning as host and that Perry, Bryan and Richie would again be judges.[151]


U.S. television ratings[edit]

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of American Idol. It holds the distinction of having the longest winning streak in the Nielsen annual television ratings; it became the highest-rated of all television programs in the United States overall for an unprecedented seven consecutive years,[152] or eight consecutive (and total) years when either its performance or result show was ranked number one overall.[5]

Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.
Network Season Premiered Ended TV season Timeslot (ET) Season
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Date Viewers
(in millions)
Fox1[153][154][155]June 11, 2002 9.85 Final Performances: September 3, 2002 18.69 2001–02Tuesday 9:00 pm
12.07 N/A
Season Finale: September 4, 2002 23.02 Wednesday 9:30 pm
11.75 N/A
2[153][154][156]January 21, 2003 26.50 Final Performances: May 20, 2003 25.67 2002–03Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 21, 2003 38.06 Wednesday 8:30 pm
3[153][154][158]January 19, 2004 28.96 Final Performances: May 25, 2004 25.13 2003–04Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 26, 2004 28.84 Wednesday 8:30 pm
4[153][154][160]January 18, 2005 33.58 Final Performances: May 24, 2005 28.05 2004–05Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 25, 2005 30.27 Wednesday 8:00 pm
5[153][154][162]January 17, 2006 35.53 Final Performances: May 23, 2006 31.78 2005–06Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 24, 2006 36.38 Wednesday 8:00 pm
6[153][154][164]January 16, 2007 37.44 Final Performances: May 22, 2007 25.33 2006–07Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 23, 2007 30.76 Wednesday 8:00 pm
7[153][166][167]January 15, 2008 33.48 Final Performances: May 20, 2008 27.06 2007–08Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 21, 2008 31.66 Wednesday 8:00 pm
8[153][169][170]January 13, 2009 30.45 Final Performances: May 19, 2009 23.82 2008–09Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 20, 2009 28.84 Wednesday 8:00 pm
9[153][172][173]January 12, 2010 29.95 Final Performances: May 25, 2010 20.07 2009–10Tuesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 26, 2010 24.22 Wednesday 8:00 pm
10[175][176][177]January 19, 2011 26.23 Final Performances: May 24, 2011 (Tues) 20.57 2010–11Wednesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 25, 2011 (Wed) 29.29 Thursday 8:00 pm
11[179][180][181]January 18, 2012 21.93 Final Performances: May 22, 2012 (Tues) 14.85 2011–12Wednesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 23, 2012 (Wed) 21.49 Thursday 8:00 pm
12[183][184][185]January 16, 2013 17.93 Final Performances: May 15, 2013 12.11 2012–13Wednesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 16, 2013 14.31 Thursday 8:00 pm
13[187][188][189]January 15, 2014 15.19 Final Performances: May 20, 2014 (Tues) 6.76 2013–14Wednesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 21, 2014 (Wed) 10.53 Thursday 8:00 pm
14[191][192][193]January 7, 2015 11.20 Final Performances: May 12, 2015 (Tues) 5.55 2014–15Wednesday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 13, 2015 (Wed) 8.03 Thursday 8:00 pm
(until March 12)
15[195][196][197]January 6, 2016 10.96 Final Performances: April 6, 2016 9.70 2015–16Wednesday 8:00 pm
(until February 24)
Season Finale: April 7, 2016 13.30 Thursday 8:00 pm 11.13[198]23
ABC16[199][200][201]March 11, 2018 10.48 Final Performances: May 20, 2018 7.47 2017–18Sunday 8:00 pm
Season Finale: May 21, 2018 8.63 Monday 8:00 pm
(until April 23)
17[203][204]March 3, 2019 8.65 Final Performances/Season Finale: May 19, 2019 8.74 2018–19Sunday 8:00 pm 9.10[205]32
Monday 8:00 pm
(until April 22)
18[206][207]February 16, 2020 8.07 Final Performances/Season Finale: May 17, 2020 7.28 2019–20Sunday 8:00 pm 8.34[208]32
Monday 8:00 pm
(until March 23)
19[209][210]February 14, 2021 6.95 Final Performances/Season Finale: May 23, 2021 6.50 2020–21Sunday 8:00 pm 7.42[211]25
Monday 8:00 pm
(until April 19)

American Idol premiered in June 2002 and became the surprise summer hit show of 2002. The first show drew 9.9 million viewers, giving Fox the best viewing figure for the 8.30 pm spot in over a year.[212] The audience steadily grew, and by finale night, the audience had averaged 23 million, with more than 40 million watching some part of that show.[213] That episode was placed third amongst all age groups, but more importantly it led in the 18–49 demographic, the age group most valued by advertisers.[12]

The growth continued into the next season, starting with a season premiere of 26.5 million.[153] The season attracted an average of 21.7 million viewers, and was placed second overall amongst the 18–49 age group.[214] The finale night when Ruben Studdard won over Clay Aiken was also the highest-rated ever American Idol episode at 38.1 million for the final hour.[215] By the third season, the show had become the top show in the 18–49 demographic[215] a position it has held for all subsequent years up to and including the tenth season, and its competition stages ranked first in the nationwide overall ratings. By the fourth season, American Idol had become the most-watched series amongst all viewers on American TV for the first time, with an average viewership of 26.8 million.[216] The show reached its peak in the fifth season with numbers averaging 30.6 million per episode, and this season remains the highest-rated of the series.[216]

The sixth season premiered with the series' highest-rated debut episode and a few of its succeeding episodes rank among the most-watched episodes of American Idol. During this time, many television executives begun to regard the show as a programming force unlike any seen before,[3] as its consistent dominance of up to two hours two or three nights a week exceeded the 30- or 60-minute reach of previous hits such as NBC's The Cosby Show. The show was dubbed "the Death Star",[81] and competing networks often rearranged their schedules in order to minimize losses.[3] However, the sixth season also showed a steady decline in viewership over the course of the season. The season finale saw a drop in ratings of 16% from the previous year. The sixth season was the first season wherein the average results show rated higher than the competition stages (unlike in the previous seasons), and became the second-highest-rated of the series after the preceding season.[215]

The loss of viewers continued into the seventh season. The premiere was down 11% among total viewers,[153] and the results show in which Kristy Lee Cook was eliminated delivered its lowest-rated Wednesday show among the 18–34 demo since the first season in 2002.[217] However, the ratings rebounded for the seventh-season finale with the excitement over the battle of the Davids, and improved over the sixth season as the series' third most watched finale. The strong finish of season seven also helped Fox become the most watched TV network in the country for the first time since its inception, a first ever in American television history for a non-Big Three major broadcast network.[218] Overall ratings for the season were down 10% from the sixth season,[219] which is in line with the fall in viewership across all networks due in part to the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[220]

The declining trend however continued into the eighth season, as total viewers numbers fell by 5–10% for early episodes compared to the seventh season,[221] and by 9% for the finale.[154] In the ninth season, Idol's six-year extended streak of perfection in the ratings was broken, when NBC's coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics on February 17 beat Idol in the same time slot with 30.1 million viewers over Idol's 18.4 million.[222] Nevertheless, American Idol overall finished its ninth season as the most watched TV series for the sixth year running, breaking the previous record of five consecutive seasons achieved by CBS' All in the Family and NBC's The Cosby Show.[223]

In the tenth season, the total viewer numbers for the first week of shows fell 12–13%, and by up to 23% in the 18–49 demo compared to the ninth season.[175] Later episodes, however, retained viewers better, and the season ended on a high with a significant increase in viewership for the finale – up 12% for the adults 18–49 demographic and a 21% increase in total viewers from the ninth-season finale.[224] While the overall viewer number has increased this season, its viewer demographics have continued to age year on year – the median age this season was 47.2 compared to a median age of 32.1 in its first season.[225] The demographics also became "whiter" over time and less diverse.[226] Nevertheless, in the 2010–11 television season, Fox maintained its lead on over other networks with its seventh consecutive season of victory overall in the 18–49 demographic ratings in the United States.

The eleventh season, however, suffered a steep drop in ratings, a drop attributed by some to the arrival of new shows such as The Voice and The X Factor.[227] The ratings for the first two episodes of the eleventh season fell 16–21% in overall viewer numbers and 24–27% in the 18/49 demo,[179] while the season finale fell 27% in total viewer number and 30% in the 18–49 demo.[180] The average viewership for the season fell below 20 million viewers the first time since 2003, a drop of 23% in total viewers and 30% in the 18/49 demo. For the first time in eight years, American Idol lost the leading position in both the total viewers number and the 18/49 demo, coming in second to NBC Sunday Night Football, although the strengths of Idol

10 Best Variety shows to watch for kpop idols

The Weeknd Is Making an HBO Show With the Creator of Euphoria

The Weeknd is getting into series television with a project titled The Idol for HBO, and he’s recruited Euphoria creator Sam Levinson to help him. Which tracks. The man, also known as Abel Tesfaye, is famous for creating elaborate mythologies and storylines around his music. So much so that he recently convinced a good chunk of people that he really did get extensive plastic surgery (he did not, it was all just part of a story he was telling around his album After Hours).

He’s also spoken of trying his hand at screenwriting before but has refused to elaborate on any of the details. You can tell from his music videos alone, the man definitely watches a lot of movies.

According to Deadline, The Weeknd will co-create the project with Levinson and his own longtime creative producer Reza Fahim. And, as of September 29th, Lily-Rose Depp has signed on to co-star.

Here’s everything we know about the series so far.

Will The Weeknd star in The Idol?

In addition to his behind-the-scenes work, Tesfaye will also co-star in the series. He’s previously tried his hand at acting in Uncut Gems, and he certainly seems to give his dramatic all in his music videos. Mary Laws, a playwright who also penned the script for the film The Neon Demon and episodes of Succession, has joined as a writer and co-producer.

What is The Idol about?

Details are sparse, but according to Deadline, the project would center on a female pop singer who falls in love with a Los Angeles nightlife guru. As it turns out, the nightlife guru also leads a secretive cult in his spare time. This of course begs the question of which one is the titular “idol”: the actual famous pop star or the guy who has a cult devoted to him?

Who Will Lily-Rose Depp Play?

Officially, her character is unofficial. HBO isn’t saying a word. Though, Deadline reports that Depp will likely play the troubled pop star. Which tracks. At 22-years-old, she’s certainly around the right age to play a pop star in her prime. As for her singing ability, well, Depp had a memorable musical moment in one of her earliest films, Yoga Hosers. She took lead vocals on a rendition of Styx’s song “Babe.” Singing is also in her blood. Before her mother Vanessa Paradis became a Chanel model and actress, she actually first found fame at 14 as a teenage pop star in her native France. Paradis has kept up with her music career, most recently releasing a studio album in 2018.

Who is producer Reza Fahim?

Fahim is The Weeknd’s longtime creative producer, though the Iranian native first made his mark in Hollywood as a well-known nightlife guru himself. He’s best known for being the co-owner of former Silverlake hotspot Tenants of the Trees (a favorite among celebrities) but left nightlife with the ultimate goal of screenwriting.

Who is in the cast of The Idol?

The Weeknd and Depp are the only announced cast members at this moment.

When is the release date?

The show is currently only in development, so a release date is unknown.

What channel is it on?

HBO, which means it would also likely stream on HBO Max.

Is it anything like The Neon Demon?

Several commenters have noticed some parallels between The Weeknd’s cinematic music videos and Nicolas Winding Refn’s 2016 film The Neon Demon before. Elle Fanning plays a young model who finds fame in Los Angeles who gets entangled with something like a cult (or at least occult-ish). It’s maybe not a surprise that the film’s co-writer Mary Laws has been recruited as a writer and producer for The Idol. We doubt she wants to directly repeat herself, but the two projects are bound to be compared.

This article was originally published on


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