Watch American Idol

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.

Wednesday & Thursday 8:00 PM et/pt on FOX
16 Seasons, 606 Episodes - Currently Airing
June 11, 2002
Music, Reality
Watch Episodes
Clips & Extras

American Idol Full Episode Guide

  • As the show is about to come to an end, Ryan Seacrest hosts this 90-minute retrospective of American Idol - the cultural phenomenon - with former judges and contestants. Plus, some of the best Idol memories.

  • In the second part of the series finale, the final winner is crowned.

  • In the first part of the series finale, the final three contestants perform in front of a live audience and hope to impress America and the judges.

  • Find out who must say goodbye and who has advanced to the Top 3.

American Idol News

Kelly Clarkson Announces Pregnancy

Kelly Clarkson isn't crazy. She's just pregnant. That's what she told an audience at her LA concert on Wednesday night.

Mariah Carey Says 'American Idol' was the Worst Experience of her Life

Carey calls the "boring" experience of judging "American Idol" the worst of her life.

Fox Cancels 'American Idol' and Hell Probably Just Froze Over Too

The once mega-hit will finally end its run.

Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo Split

The musical couple have reportedly called it quits.

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.

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. 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 was probably going to be the third judge. We were wrong.

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