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The reality television show American Idol chronicles an annual singing competition from the initial auditions to the final selection of each seasons chosen winner. The show premiered in 2002 on the Fox network and has remained popular ever since. Winners get a recording contract. Some winners, like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, have become major stars after their wins.

Each season of American Idol begins with three weeks of auditions in various cities across the United States. Thousands of hopeful contestants come to these initial casting calls. Talent scouts and producers select those who will audition onscreen before the program's three celebrity judges, producer Randy Jackson, rock and roll icon Steven Tyler and actress and singer Jennifer Lopez.

The judges award golden tickets to worthy contestants who then progress to the next stage of the competition in Hollywood. In Hollywood, the contestants must sing in groups as well as individually. Over the course of several weeks, the judges eliminate contestants until they whittle the number down to 24 semi-finalists.

From this point on, the celebrity judges do not choose which contestants to eliminate. The public votes by calling a toll-free number, texting or going online. Millions of viewers select their favorites each week, and the 24 semi-finalists get reduced to 12 finalists. The 12 finalists then get reduced to two finalists and, after that, a single winner is chosen.

Themed weekly shows require the contestants to sing songs from a certain era, or perform the tunes of a certain pop star or singing group. Previous winners and guest stars make appearances also.

From the amusing auditions of some of the less talented contestants at the beginning of the season to the inspiring performances of the finalists, American Idol provides endless entertainment. It has become an American tradition and has jumpstarted the careers of numerous talented performers.

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Wednesday & Thursday 8:00 PM et/pt on FOX
15 Seasons, 570 Episodes - Currently Airing
Music, Reality
6.6/10
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American Idol Full Episode Guide

  • The 12 girls in the Top 24 perform for the first time in front of a live audience.

  • Now that the Top 24 have been chosen, the Top 12 boys perform first in front of a live audience.

American Idol News

Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo Split

Looks like Jason Derulo is officially "Ridin' Solo" again. Derulo confirmed that he and his girlfriend of three years, singer and "American Idol" alum Jordin Sparks, have split. The two began their relationship in 2011 and recently recorded a duet together. Derulo revealed the news during a radio interview, but refused to elaborate much on the issue, saying that he would "rather not" go into it. "Everything is cool man," the 25-year-old singer reassured.

Carrie Underwood Developing TV Show Based On Her Song 'Two Black Cadillacs'
Carrie Underwood Announces Pregnancy With Help of...Dogs?

Congratulations to Carrie Underwood! The "American Idol" winner and country singer made a big announcement on Twitter today: She's pregnant! But Underwood decided to enlist the help of her other, more furry children to make the announcement as she dressed her two dogs, Ace and Penny, in T-shirts. The doggie T-shirts read, "I'm going to be a big brother," and "I'm going to be a big sister," and Underwood held the two dogs as they all posed for a photo.

'American Idol' Former Contestant Michael John Dies

Former contestant in American Idol Michael Johns has passed away. His death was due to a blood clot in his ankle. He was only 35 years old. The fan favorite appeared on season 7 of the singing competition. His surprising elimination was one of the reasons "Idol" introduced the "judges' save" the following season. Fox, FremantleMedia North America, 19 Entertatinment, and the team of American Idol released a joint statement: "Michael Johns was an incredible talent and we are deeply saddened by the news of his passing.

Nicki Minaj Takes on Rumors of Iggy Azaela Feud

Nicki Minaj is stepping forward to clarify things. The "American Idol" judge was accused of "throwing shade" at rapper Iggy Azalea during her acceptance speech at the BET Awards in June. Minaj won for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist for the fifth year in a row. During her speech she appreciates the opportunity to represent women in "a culture that is so male-driven," and adds, "What I want the world to know about Nicki Minaj is when you hear Nicki Minaj spit, Nicki Minaj wrote it.

Jennifer Lopez is Back on the Market!

"American Idol" judge Jennifer Lopez is free and single again! The singer and actor, 44, has officially split from backup dancer Casper Smart. The two dated for over two years. "The relationship has just run its course," says a source close to the singer. However, perhaps it had something to do with the recent news that Smart exchanged nude photos with a transgender woman on Instagram (a friend of the dancer calls the accusations "laughable")? "The relationship couldn't work with the distance," says another source.

Watch a Hilarious Bad Lip Reading of 'American Idol'

If you've ever taken the time to mute "American Idol" and just watch people's faces as they sing, it's actually pretty funny. So when Bad Lip Reading added some dubbing over that, it's extra hilarious. The latest video from the guys over at Bad Lip Reading takes moments from this season of "American Idol" and tries to read the contestants' and judges' lips. The results include some rambling about trains, a rock version of "Hickory Dickory Dock," and poor Caleb getting a bug stuck in his throat and no one stopping to help him.

Watch Ryan Seacrest Try to Sing on 'American Idol' Finale

Ryan Seacrest is an excellent host. Through his many years as the host of "American Idol," not to mention his work as the host of his own radio show, Seacrest has proven time and again that he has the poise, the charm, and the improvisational skills to lead any audience by the hand through a two-hour live television event. However, Ryan Seacrest is not a singer. He proved it on this week's "American Idol" finale, where he attempted to sing "Right Here Waiting For You" for a few bars, on his own, on stage, on live TV.

Fox Cancels 'X Factor'; Simon Cowell Goes Home
Harry Connick Jr. to Join 'American Idol'

It wasn't easy, but "American Idol" has finally chosen its third and final judge for the upcoming season. Harry Connick Jr. has signed on to the show, joining Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez on the judges' panel for the season that will begin next January. Connick takes the job after negotiations with a long line of potential candidates fell through. For some time, it appeared that the Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am was on the verge of accepting the gig, but when he bowed out of the running, choosing instead to return to the UK version of "The Voice," the frontrunner became producer Dr.

Will.i.am Isn't an 'American Idol' Judge

As "American Idol" tries to fill out the panel of judges for its upcoming season, the news about who won't be on the show is drowning out the news about who will be. Even though official word has yet to come down, all indications are that Jennifer Lopez will return to "Idol" this year. With Keith Urban already signed on to return, the third and final judge's seat remains unfilled. For awhile, it looked like the frontrunner for the judgeship was the Black Eyed Peas' Will.

Demi Lovato Joins 'Glee' Cast
Jennifer Lopez Likely to Return to 'American Idol'

The panel of judges for "American Idol"'s new season could include one familiar face. The buzz around the show suggests that Jennifer Lopez is likely to return to "Idol" in the fall of 2013 as a replacement on the panel, which is losing three of its four judges from last season. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "sources" say that Lopez is very close to signing a deal to join "Idol" for the new season; Lopez had been a judge in 2011 and 2012 but had left the show during the most recent season.

Mariah Carey Says Goodbye to 'American Idol'

Mariah Carey will not be returning to “American Idol!” The diva has announced, through her publicists at PMK BNC, that she will be leaving the show in favor of a world tour. The news came via Twitter, when PMK BNC tweeted: “W/ global success of “#Beautiful” (#1 in 30+ countries so far) @MariahCarey confirms world tour & says goodbye 2 Idol.” Fox and “Idol” producers released this statement following the news: “Mariah Carey is a true global icon - one of the most accomplished artists on the planet - and we feel extremely fortunate that she was able to bring her wisdom and experience to the 'American Idol' contestants this season.

What's New Tonight: Thursday, May 16th.
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