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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
14 Seasons, 552 Episodes - Returning Series
Music, Reality
6.9/10
American Idol
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American Idol Full Episode Guide

  • The Season 13 winner is crowned.

  • Live from the Nokia Theatre L.A., the final two contestants compete for America's vote.

  • America has voted and only two contestants will advance to the finals.

  • The final three contestants compete to become the next American Idol.

American Idol News

Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo Split

The musical couple have reportedly called it quits.

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

This is a pretty cute way to tell the world you're pregnant!

'American Idol' Former Contestant Michael John Dies

Sad news today about Michael Johns, who has passed away at only 35 years old.

Nicki Minaj Takes on Rumors of Iggy Azaela Feud

Nicki Minaj is stepping forward to clarify a few things - like, no, she was definitely not trying to single out rapper Iggy Azaela during her BET Awards acceptance speech for Best Female Hip-Hop Artist.

Jennifer Lopez is Back on the Market!

Self-confessed love addict Jennifer Lopez parts ways from her boyfriend of 2 1/2 years, dancer Casper Smart.

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.

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'

Just when it looked as if no one wanted to be the third judge on "American Idol" next season, Harry Connick Jr. has stepped up to take the job. After a long list of candidates chose not to sign on to the show, Connick is set to become the final judge on the panel.

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

We know that Keith Urban will be an "American Idol" judge next season. We're pretty sure that Jennifer Lopez will be, too. We thought that Will.i.am was probably going to be the third judge. We were wrong.

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

After last season's disappointing ratings, "American Idol" is in a rebuilding phase, and producers are reportedly looking to former judge Jennifer Lopez for help in returning the show to its old glory.

Mariah Carey Says Goodbye to 'American Idol'

It's official-- Carey will NOT be returning for season 13 of the singing competition!

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