Paula Abdul

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Posted by bender 04/01/2009 @ 21:13

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News headlines
Paula Abdul's post-performance parting words - Los Angeles Times
Green satin-clad "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul was told to "work it girl, work it" by someone in the press room. She laughed and gave the order right back. After all, Abdul's used to banter sitting between Randy, Kara and Simon at the judges' table...
Janice Thibodeaux: Paula Abdul's Guardian Angel - BlackBook Magazine
For her first act, she'll offer a defense with such lilting prose as, “I wasn't cool with Simon Cowell choking Paula Abdul on the show last week and with her crying-out 'help' as he did so,” as Cowell frequently does in (mock?) frustration....
Paula Abdul refutes 'Ladies' Home Journal' story - Entertainment Weekly
Clearly Paula is off the wagon again (if she was ever on it). Watch Adam Lambert and his buddy bigmouth sing whole lotta love. I hope for her the best . she rocks . Paula Abdul is not the only person in the world who has taken pain killers at work,...
American Idol's fundamental flaws -
Paula Abdul would have complained that he's playing it safe by hiding behind a piano. Some of the types of music this year's in which contestants were expected to do well – Idol at the Movies, Disco and Rat Pack Standards. Interesting, perhaps, but the...
Paula Abdul Sells, David Archuleta Sings On 'Idol' Finale Red Carpet -
Plus: 'American Idol' alumni Jason Castro and Diana DeGarmo talk about working with new judge Kara DioGuardi. By Katie Byrne, with additional reporting by Jim Cantiello LOS ANGELES — The "American Idol" red carpet has to be especially surreal for all...
Paula Abdul Gives 'Idol' Contestant Guide Dog - Dog Channel
Scott MacIntyre may have been kicked off “American Idol” five weeks ago, but the visually impaired singer still has a huge fan in judge Paula Abdul. Abdul surprised MacIntyre with a guide dog Friday, when Abdul lured MacIntyre to a National Guide Dog...
What We Learned from Season Eight of American Idol - All About Jazz
There would be a new judge in Kara DioGuardi, a new arbitrary rule with the Judges Save, a new set featuring a giant white staircase for gallant entrances and a newly articulate Paula Abdul. But the seasons biggest surprise was breakout star Adam...
Paula Abdul denies painkiller addiction story in Ladies' Home Journal - The Star-Ledger -
by Vicki Hyman/The Star-Ledger Paula Abdul denies that she was addicted to prescription painkillers and that she checked into a spa late last year during her withdrawal, claims made in Ladies' Home Journal's June cover story. Yes, Ladies' Home Journal,...
GaYbor Karaoke Idol: We were all Paula Abdul - Creative Loafing Tampa
The “nice” American Idol judge (AKA the “nutso” American Idol judge) gets lots of flak for being overly kind to even the most unlistenable contestants. But as one of three judges last night for GaYbor Karaoke Idol II, the entertaining weekly...
Simon Cowell Gags Paula Abdul, American Idol Judge's Promise - National Ledger
Now Simon Cowell finally made good on his promise when he gagged fellow judge Paula Abdul on American Idol. Cowell had disagreed with Abdul's decision to let the hit television show's finalist Danny Gokey sing Terrence Trent D'Arby hit Dance Little...

Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul, 1990

Paula Julie Abdul (pronounced /ˈæbduːl/, born June 19, 1962) is an American pop singer, dancer, choreographer, actress and television personality.

After her initial period of success, she suffered a series of setbacks in her professional and personal life, until she found renewed fame and success in the 2000s as a judge on the television series, American Idol. Abdul was most recently featured in the eighth season of American Idol. Abdul has been working on a new album, and hopes to have the album released by the end of 2009. Abdul has a mezzo-soprano vocal range.

Paula Abdul was born in the San Fernando Valley, to Harry Abdul, a former livestock trader and owner of a sand and gravel business, and Lorraine Rykiss, a concert pianist who once worked as film director Billy Wilder's assistant. Her father is a Syrian Jew who was born in Syria, raised in Brazil, and subsequently immigrated to the U.S. Abdul's mother is also Jewish and originally from Saint Boniface (now part of Winnipeg), Manitoba, Canada. Her maternal grandfather was named William Rykiss and was a proprietor of the general store in Minnedosa, Manitoba.

She and her sister, Wendy, grew up with their mother in the San Fernando Valley. An avid dancer and fan of music, Abdul was inspired towards a show business career by Gene Kelly in the classic film Singin' in the Rain as well as Debbie Allen, Fred Astaire, and Bob Fosse .

Abdul began taking dance lessons around the age of eight and showed a natural talent. She attended Van Nuys High School where she was a cheerleader and an honor student. At 15, she received a scholarship to a dance camp near Palm Springs, and in 1978 appeared in a low-budget Independent musical film, Junior High School.

Abdul studied broadcasting at California State University, Northridge. During her first year, she was selected from a pool of 700 candidates for the cheerleading squad of the Los Angeles Lakers — the famed Laker Girls. Within three months, she became head choreographer. Six months later, she left school to focus on her choreography career.

Abdul choreographed videos for several singers throughout the 1980s, including many videos for Janet Jackson during her Control era. In 1995, Abdul released a dance workout video entitled Paula Abdul's Get Up and Dance! (re-released on DVD in 2003), a fast-paced, hip-hop style workout. In 1998 she released a second video called Cardio Dance (re-released on DVD in 2000). In December 2005, Abdul launched a cheerleading/fitness/dance DVD series called Cardio Cheer, which is marketed to children and teenage girls involved with cheerleading and dance.

In film, Abdul choreographed sequences for the giant keyboard scene involving Tom Hanks’s character in Big. Further credits include Coming to America, Action Jackson, Jerry McGuire, The Running Man, American Beauty (1999 film), and Oliver Stone's, The Doors. Television credits include The Tracey Ullman Show, American Music Awards, the Academy Awards, and several commercials, such as The King's touchdown celebration, as seen in a string of popular Burger King television commercials that aired during the 2005-2006 NFL season.

In 1987, Abdul used her savings to make a singing demo. Although her voice was relatively untrained, her exceptional dancing proved marketable to the visually-oriented, MTV-driven, pop music industry.

In 1988, Abdul released her pop debut album, Forever Your Girl. The album took 62 weeks to hit #1 on the Billboard 200 album sales chart — the longest an album has been on the market before hitting #1 — and spent 10 weeks there. The album eventually became multi-platinum in the spring and summer of 1989, and it spawned five American Top Three singles, four of them #1s (three in 1989 and one in 1990): "Straight Up", "Forever Your Girl", "Cold Hearted", "(It's Just) The Way That You Love Me", and "Opposites Attract". A remix album, Shut Up and Dance, was also released and reached #7 on Billboard's album chart, becoming one of the most successful remix albums to date. The Grammy award-winning video for "Opposites Attract" featured an animated cat named MC Skat Kat. Abdul also went on a Club MTV tour where she performed songs from her album. Several other acts were also on the tour.

In the early 1990s, Yvette Marine, backing vocalist on Forever Your Girl, claimed that she sang lead vocals on the album and sued Paula and Virgin Records for compensation. After one month of court proceedings, Abdul and Virgin won the case.

Abdul's follow-up album, 1991's Spellbound, contained another string of hits, and sold 13 million copies worldwide. The first single from Spellbound was the ballad, "Rush, Rush", which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five consecutive weeks, and was noted for its music video and Rebel Without a Cause motif featuring Keanu Reeves in the James Dean role. "Promise of a New Day," the second release from the album, also hit No. 1, and it was followed by the Top 10 hit "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" and two Top 20 hits: "Vibeology" and "Will You Marry Me?." The album, Spellbound, retained much of the dance-oriented formula heard on her debut album. The track "U" was written for Paula by Prince. "U" was supposed to be the final single from the album, but was never actually released.

Abdul promoted the album through the "Under My Spell Tour", which was named by an MTV contest for fans. This tour was nearly cancelled due to an accident during rehearsals. The tour began on schedule and ran from October 1991 to the summer of 1992. In 1991, Abdul embraced advertising and starred in a popular Diet Coke commercial in which she danced with a digital image of her idol, a young Gene Kelly.

By 1995 Paula Abdul had recovered from her battle with the eating disorder bulimia nervosa and prepared to return to the spotlight with her new album Head Over Heels. The album received mixed reviews, and its singles became modest radio hits. The first single off the album, "My Love Is for Real" featured a fusion of R&B and traditional Middle Eastern instruments, and was performed with Yemeni-Israeli singer Ofra Haza. Its accompanying Lawrence of Arabia-inspired music video was played in theaters across the world as a preface to the film Clueless. It was a hit in the clubs (peaking at #1 on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart), but the single stalled at #28 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Despite the lack of mainstream chart success, the single was nominated for several MTV Video Music Awards.

The second single, "Crazy Cool" became a minor hit in the U.S. yet managed to peak at #13 on the dance charts. "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" served as the third and final single but failed to chart in the Hot 100. To date Head Over Heels has sold 3 million copies worldwide, Abdul's lowest selling studio album.

After the low sales of Head Over Heels and conquering her personal problems, Abdul took a hiatus from the music industry. In 2000, Abdul’s Paula Abdul: Greatest Hits CD was released by Virgin Records (with whom Abdul was already no longer affiliated). It featured all of her hit singles as well as other noteworthy tracks. The song "Bend Time Back 'Round" had previously been heard only on the 1992 soundtrack for the hit television series Beverly Hills 90210. The album was not a commercial success; however, it managed to sell more than one million copies worldwide.

In 1997, Abdul co-wrote "Spinning Around", a dance-pop track intended to be the lead single off her new album. The album never materialized and "Spinning Around" was given to Kylie Minogue as a single. The song became highly successful and re-launched Minogue's career, as it was intended to do for Abdul, and reached #1 in numerous countries.

In 2002, Abdul appeared as one of three judges for the reality television music competition show American Idol. Abdul, along with fellow judges Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson (joined by Kara DioGuardi in 2009) were to evaluate the talent of a large group of young amateur singers, eliminate most of them in various audition rounds, and then judge the finalists as American television viewers voted on which finalists would continue to each successive round, until all but the winner were eliminated. Abdul won praise as a sympathetic and compassionate judge. She seemed especially kind compared to fellow judge Simon Cowell, who was often very blunt in his appraisals of the contestants' performances. When she realized that Cowell's over-the-top judging style was heartbreaking for many young contestants, Abdul was so horrified, she considered leaving the show. Although their differences often resulted in extremely heated on-air exchanges and confrontations, Cowell says he played a major role in convincing Abdul not to leave the show.

Now a bona fide television celebrity, Abdul accepted a second assignment as reporter for Entertainment Tonight. Her knack for finding something positive in almost every performance, her emotion-laden praise for contestants whose style she really likes, and her unique fingers-bent-outwards handclapping style have fueled the belief among some that she is drunk during auditions. This rumor has been the subject of satire, especially by Amy Poehler during Saturday Night Live sketches and Nicole Parker on MADtv. This ability to give positive feedback to every performance has also led some people to say she is a poor judge incapable of constructive criticism.

Abdul has been criticized for falling back on the same cliches and pat phrases when praising or critiquing Idol contestants with comments like "America loves you!", "You're authentic!" or "It wasn't your best performance." Several American comedy shows, including Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and Mad TV, have capitalized on these catch-phrases when doing sketches involving an Abdul impersonator. They also imitate Abdul's unusual "arm-flapping" style of clapping her hands.

Paula was referenced in an episode of the hit animated series Family Guy, titled "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz". During a routine 'cutaway gag', a clip from Paula's video for her earlier hit Opposites Attract is shown, with Peter Griffin replacing MC Skat Kat in both image and voice. According to the Family Guy: Volume 4 DVD commentary, the vocals of Skat Kat on the track could not be separated from Paula's, so she came in and re-recorded the chorus of the song for the show. This would be her first Family Guy guest star credit.

In May 2005, ABC's news magazine Primetime Live reported claims by Season 2 Idol contestant Corey Clark that he and Abdul had an affair during that season, and that she had coached him on how to succeed in the competition. The fact that Clark came forward at a time when he was marketing a CD and trying to get a book deal was seen as suspicious by some, but Clark maintains that his career was being prejudiced because of his relationship with Abdul and that is why he came forward with the information to clear his name. For the most part, Abdul refused to comment on Clark's allegations. At the height of the debacle, Abdul appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit, making light of the situation. While Fox launched an investigation, Abdul received numerous calls of support from celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey; Barbara Walters even addressed the camera during an episode of ABC's The View to say she was ashamed to be part of an operation that would report Clark's flimsy tabloid claims under the guise of a news story. In August 2005 the Fox network confirmed that she would be returning to the show, as the investigation had found "insufficient evidence that the communications between Mr. Clark and Ms. Abdul in any way aided his performance".

On March 28, 2006 FOX announced that Abdul had signed to stay on American Idol as a judge for at least three more years. Later that year, fellow American Idol judge Simon Cowell invited her to be a guest judge at some of the early auditions for the third series of his similar UK talent show The X Factor. Abdul was present at the initial audition of the eventual winner, Leona Lewis.

The week of May 14 to May 18, 2007 (the week before the season 6 finale), Abdul broke her nose when she tried to "avoid tripping over her pet chihuahua". She was present at the May 22 performance and the May 23 finale.

Her second greatest-hits CD, entitled Greatest Hits: Straight Up!, was released by Virgin on May 8, 2007. This album was put together by Virgin Records who no longer employs Abdul. At this time, they also released the music videos to all her six #1 singles to iTunes.

Bravo announced a reality television series following Abdul through her day-to-day life, called Hey Paula. The series was produced by Scott Sternberg Productions and debuted on June 28, 2007 . Paula's behavior as depicted on the show has been described as 'erratic' by comedian Rosie O'Donnell. and decried by numerous fans and critics.

In January 2008, Paula returned to the music charts for the first time in nearly 13 years with the single "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow", which is the first track on the album Randy Jackson's Music Club Vol 1. The song debuted on On Air with Ryan Seacrest. The song was a modest comeback hit for Paula, peaking at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Paula's MTV show "RAH!" premiered in January 2009. The 90-minute special featured eight collegiate cheerleading squads, which competed in a series of challenges in order to be crowned the winner by Paula. A snippet of Paula's latest single "Boombox", a cover of a Kylie Minogue song, also premiered on the show.

Paula Goodspeed, whose Idol audition aired during season 5, was found dead outside Abdul's home on November 11, 2008. Police say she appeared to have died of a drug overdose. Abdul told Entertainment Tonight through her representative that she is "shocked and saddened" by the incident, adding that she had been aware of the woman for "several years" who "has issues." American Idol producer Ken Warwick says that Goodspeed made it through to audition because it was not known that she was a threat."I knew she was a fan -- I knew she was an ardent fan, but that was the only thing that came in front of me, so it's just a really awful unfortunate situation," she said. Abdul countered FOX claims, however, in an interview with Barbara Walters in which she stated she "begged" producers not to let Goodspeed audition, but that for entertainment purposes the audition went forward as planned.

Abdul was married to Emilio Estevez from April 29, 1992 to May 1994. In a June 19, 2005 interview with People magazine Abdul stated that they broke up over the issue of children; she wanted them to have a child together, while Estevez (who already had two children from a prior relationship) did not. She later married sportswear designer Brad Beckerman in 1996. They divorced in 1998. Having recovered from her eating disorder after treatment in 1994, she later became a spokeswoman for NEDA, and was presented with the Profiles In Living Award in late 2005. She then continued her work by recording Public Service Announcements in 2006.

In April 2005, she revealed that she suffers from a rare neurological disorder called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (CRPS) that causes chronic pain.

On Valentine's Day 2006, Abdul appeared on Dr. Phil as part of a prime time special on love and relationships. She was set up on two dates and Phil McGraw gave her advice.

In mid July 2007, Abdul announced that she had begun dating J.T. Torregiani, a restaurant owner 12 years her junior . She told Access Hollywood: "He is a good guy. Things are looking upwards. It's looking good right now. I wasn't even looking for someone and that's what usually happens." Paula and JT broke up in June 2008, citing their hectic work schedules.

On December 20, 2004, Abdul was driving her Mercedes on an L.A.-area freeway when she changed lanes and hit another vehicle. The driver and passenger snapped a photograph with a cell phone camera and wrote down the license plate number of the car, which was traced to Abdul. On March 24, 2005, Abdul was fined USD $900 and given 24 months of informal probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor hit-and-run driving in Los Angeles. In addition to the fines she was ordered to pay USD $775 for damage to the other car .

On April 4, 2006, Abdul filed a report at a Hollywood police station claiming she had been a victim of battery at a private party at about 1 a.m. April 2, according to L.A.P.D. spokesman police Lt. Paul Vernon. "According to Abdul, the man at the party argued with her, grabbed her by the arm and threw her against a wall", Vernon said. "She said she had sustained a concussion and spinal injuries" .

Substance abuse allegations arose as the result of what some described as "erratic behavior" by Abdul during episodes of American Idol. After reading these allegations on message boards, Abdul told People magazine in April 2005 that she suffered from chronic pain for years following a "cheerleading accident" at age 17 and was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy in November 2004. Abdul says she is now pain-free following treatment, including the anti-inflammatory medication Enbrel.

Allegations arose again in January 2007 when videos circulated on the Internet of Abdul appearing to sway in her chair and slur her speech during a set of interviews. Abdul's publicist attributed this to fatigue and technical difficulties during the recording of the interviews. It was revealed on the Bravo show Hey Paula, which had followed Abdul with a video camera prior to the interviews, that Abdul had not been sleeping, perhaps suffering from some mild form of insomnia.

In February 2007, Abdul told Us Weekly that she had never been drunk or used illegal drugs and called the allegations "lies". In a March 2007 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Abdul joked that her scrutinized behavior was caused by her being "abducted by aliens". Abdul appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to "clear the air" on that situation.

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Head over Heels (Paula Abdul album)

Head over Heels cover

Head over Heels is the third studio album (fourth overall) released by American pop singer Paula Abdul on June 13, 1995 under Virgin Records. The album featured the singles "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up", "Crazy Cool", and "My Love is for Real".

The album was released after Abdul's four-year hiatus while battling bulimia. The album was hoped to bring Abdul back into the limelight and was considered Abdul's comeback album. However, this would be the last album Abdul would release in her career before she took a second hiatus from music.

The album didn't do as well as Abdul's previous albums in terms of chart performance and sales. The album was Abdul's weakest selling album to date, only going gold; the album was Abdul's lowest peaking album on the Billboard 200 to date, peaking at #18 and it quickly fell off the charts soon after. Despite the fact that it went gold, it was considered a flop for Abdul. The album had managed to sell just under 3 million copies worldwide, her lowest selling studio album (in terms of international sales) in her career. After the relative failure of the album, Abdul left the music scene since it was seen by many that her singing career was on the rocks and ventured into acting.

Three singles were released from the album. The first single,"My Love is For Real" was a moderate hit peaking at #28 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Abdul's first single to not reach the Top 20 and was considered her last hit in her career. However, the song went to #1 on the U.S. dance charts (her only song to do so). The following single, "Crazy Cool" peaked at #58 and was considered a flop, probably due to bad publicity about the song and its video. The last single from the album "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up" failed to chart and was considered another flop for her, due to lack of promotion. However, it did peak at #12 on Bubbling Under Hot 100 (which is equivalent to #112 if the Billboard Hot 100 went beyond 100 positions.) A fourth single, "If I Were Your Girl" was to be released, but was cancelled after terrible album sales and the failure of "Ain't Never Gonna Give You Up".

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Spellbound (Paula Abdul album)

Spellbound cover

Spellbound is the second studio album released by Paula Abdul in May 1991. The album was an international success and spawned major radio hits with the singles "Rush Rush", "The Promise of a New Day", "Blowing Kisses in the Wind", "Vibeology" and "Will You Marry Me?". Though it was not as successful as Abdul's previous studio album, Forever Your Girl, the album was very successful in the United States, achieving Triple Platinum sales there (and 8.5 million worldwide) and peaking at #1 on the Billboard 200. It became Abdul's second and last album to hit #1 on the chart.

Music videos were produced for each of the singles, and all received heavy airplay on MTV. "Rush, Rush", featuring Keanu Reeves — at that time a superstar — paid homage to the classic film Rebel Without A Cause. Choreography for the ballad "Blowing Kisses in the Wind" included mid-air ballet. "Will You Marry Me?" featured a digital composite of various versions of Abdul dancing in different styles - jazz, ballet, ballroom - with different outfits on.

A special limited edition version of the album was released in the USA. It came in an outer cardboard box and inside was a giant oversized gold colored plastic compact, emulative of the one Abdul is seen looking into in the album's artwork. Inside is a giant powder puff and an alternate version of the CD booklet shaped in a circle.

Some tracks are mixed using Q-Sound.

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American Idol

American Idol logo.svg

American Idol (American Idol: The Search for a Superstar in season 1) is an American singing competition airing on FOX. It debuted on June 11, 2002, and has since become one of the most popular shows on American television. Part of the Idol franchise, it is a spinoff from the reality program Pop Idol, which was created by British entertainment executive Simon Fuller and first aired in 2001 in the United Kingdom.

The program seeks to discover the best singer in the country through a series of nationwide auditions. The American public decides the outcomes of the later stages through phone voting. The judges give critiques of the contestants' performances: Grammy award-winning record producer and music manager Randy Jackson; Grammy award-winning pop singer and Emmy award-winning choreographer Paula Abdul; music executive and music manager Simon Cowell; and Grammy award-nominated singer-songwriter and record producer Kara DioGuardi. The format originally featured three judges, with Kara DioGuardi added in the eighth season.

The show is hosted by television personality Ryan Seacrest. Comedian Brian Dunkleman co-hosted with Seacrest during the first season. The American Idol band is led by Rickey Minor.

The show usually airs on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the United States and Canada, Wednesday and Thursday nights in Australia & Asia, Thursday and Friday nights in the United Kingdom and Friday and Saturday nights in Israel.

Before contestants get the chance to see the show's judges, they go through two rigorous sets of cuts. The first is a brief audition with three other contestants in front of one or two of the show's producers. Contestants are then either sent through to the next round of producers or asked to leave. Out of the thousands of people who show up to audition, only about 100–200 contestants in each city make it past this round.

Once in Hollywood, the contestants perform on different days, with eliminations by the judges on each day. During the first six seasons, contestants selected a song from a list to sing for the first round. For the next round, the contestants split themselves into small groups and performed a song together. In the final round, the contestants performed a song of their choice a cappella.

In the seventh season, the structure of the Hollywood auditions was revamped and the musical group round was eliminated. Instead, contestants sang alone on the first day. If the judges felt the performance was adequate, the contestant moved on to the final Hollywood round; otherwise, the contestant had one more chance to impress the judges before the final round. For the first time, contestants were able to perform with a musical instrument if they had the ability.

In the first three seasons, the semifinalists were randomly split into different groups. Each contestant would then sing in their respective group's night. In season one, there were three separate groups and the top three contestants from each group made it to the finals. In seasons two and three, there were four groups of eight and the top two contestants moved on to the finals.

The first three seasons each featured a wildcard show. Contestants who failed to make it to the finals were invited back to perform for another chance at a spot in the finals. In season one, only one wildcard contestant was chosen by the judges. However, in seasons two and three, each judge championed one contestant and the public advanced a fourth into the finals. In the second season, a few hopefuls who had failed to make the semifinals were selected by the judges to compete. In the third season, the judges eliminated four contestants from the wildcard round before they had the opportunity to sing.

From seasons four to seven, the semifinals were cut down to twenty-four contestants who were divided by gender in order to ensure an equal division in the top twelve. The men and women sang on sequential nights and the bottom two in both groups were eliminated each week until only twelve finalists were left.

In season eight, there were thirty-six semifinalists. For three consecutive Tuesdays, twelve different semifinalists performed each night in the hopes of moving on to the finals. The three semifinalists with the highest number of votes—one male, one female, and the next top vote getter—advanced to the finals. The wild card round also returned, with the judges choosing three previously eliminated contestants to advance to the finals. Notably, this year they chose 4 people in the wild card instead of three, making it a final 13 instead of a final 12.

The finals are broadcast live in prime time from CBS Television City in Los Angeles, in front of a live studio audience. The finals lasted for eight weeks in season one and eleven weeks in subsequent seasons. Each finalist performs a song or songs selected from a weekly theme. During the first few weeks, contestants sing one song each. The top five contestants must sing two songs apiece. The top three perform three songs each week.

Themes are based on a musical genre, songs recorded by particular artists, or Billboard #1 hits. In the past, themes have included Motown, disco, and big band music, as well as music by such artists as The Beatles, Billy Joel, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley. Contestants usually work with a celebrity mentor during each week.

Following each performance episode, a results show airs that reveals the breakdown of the voting public's decision. The most popular contestants are not typically revealed, though they have been on occasion. The three contestants (two in later rounds) who received the lowest number of votes are typically called to the center of the stage. From the bottom three, the bottom two are revealed, until finally the contestant who received the lowest amount of votes is eliminated from the competition. A montage of the contestant's experience is played and they give their final performance.

In the finale, the two remaining contestants perform and one remaining contestant is declared the winner. For the first six seasons, the finale was broadcast from the Kodak Theatre, which holds an audience of approximately 3,400. For season seven, the venue was changed to the Nokia Theatre, which holds an audience of over 7,000. The winner is announced at the end of the following results show.

The winner receives a one million (US) dollar record deal with a major label, and is managed by American Idol-related 19 Management. In some cases, other finalists have also been signed by the show's management company (who has first option to sign contestants) and received record deals with its major label partner.

Fox, along with other networks, initially rejected American Idol. However, Rupert Murdoch, head of Fox's parent company, was persuaded to buy the show by his daughter Elisabeth who was a fan of the British version. Through word-of-mouth generated by the appeal of its contestants and the presence of acid-tongued British judge Simon Cowell, the show grew into a phenomenon.

The first season of American Idol debuted without hype as a summer replacement show in June 2002 on the Fox network. It was co-hosted by Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman. The show ran for 13 weeks from June–September. An estimated 50 million people watched the finale in September 2002.

The winner, Kelly Clarkson, signed with RCA Records, the label in partnership with American Idol's 19 Management. Immediately post-finale, Clarkson released two singles, including the coronation song, "A Moment Like This". Clarkson has since released three successful albums—Thankful, Breakaway, and My December. Her fourth album All I Ever Wanted was released on March 10, 2009. Clarkson was the first contestant ever to win a Grammy and has gone on to receive several awards and sell over 20 million records worldwide. She is the only contestant to have two number one albums, have two number one singles on The Billboard Hot 100, and the first contestant to have a non-related Idol single to peak at number one.

Runner-up Justin Guarini also signed with RCA Records, eventually debuting an album in 2003 after the conclusion of season 2. RCA dropped him shortly after its debut. Guarini went on to form his own entertainment company and independently produced a jazz album in 2005, and is a host/commentator for the TV Guide Network.

In addition to Clarkson and Guarini, also signed were Nikki McKibbin (3rd), Tamyra Gray (4th), R. J. Helton (5th), and Christina Christian (6th). Tamyra Gray was signed, but was dropped before releasing an album. She then signed with Idol creator Simon Fuller's new label 19 Entertainment, released her debut album in 2004, and was dropped from that label in 2005.

The show inspired a 2003 musical film, From Justin to Kelly, featuring Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. The musical love story, produced by Idol's Simon Fuller, was filmed in Miami, Florida over a period of six weeks shortly after the season ended. Released several months later in June 2003, the film failed to make back its budget during its short run in theaters, and is often ranked among the worst movies ever made.

Starting September 30, 2006, the first season of American Idol was repackaged as "American Idol Rewind" and syndicated directly to stations in the US.

Following the success of season 1, 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, and Seacrest surfaced as the lone host. Kristin Holt was originally announced to be added as a co-host, but upon airing, her role was reduced to special correspondent.

This time, Ruben Studdard emerged as the winner, with Clay Aiken as runner-up. Out of 24 million votes recorded, Studdard finished 130,000 votes ahead of Aiken. There was discussion in the communication industry about the phone system being overloaded, and that more than 150 million votes were dropped, making the voting suspect. Since then, the voting methods have been modified to avoid this problem.

In an interview prior to season 5, a statement by executive producer Nigel Lythgoe suggested that Aiken had led the fan voting from the wildcard week onward until the finale. Aiken became the first non-winning contestant to have a U.S. Hot 100 number-one with "This Is the Night".

In addition to Studdard and Aiken, Kimberley Locke (3rd), Josh Gracin (4th), and Carmen Rasmusen (6th) have signed with various record labels.

The show caused controversy when contestant Frenchie Davis was disqualified from the competition when topless photos of her surfaced on the Internet. Shortly afterwards, she landed a role in the Broadway musical Rent, and continues to work on Broadway.

Also, after the end of the contest, Studdard sued 205 Flava, Inc. for $2 million for using his image for promotional purposes. Flava responded by alleging that Studdard had accepted over $10,000 in return for wearing 205 shirts, and produced eight cashed checks to validate their claim. The case was settled out of court.

In 2005, contestant Corey Clark (whom producers disqualified because he had not disclosed a police record) alleged that he and judge Paula Abdul had an affair while he was on the show and that this contributed to his removal. Clark also alleged that Abdul gave him preferential treatment on the show due to this affair. A subsequent investigation by an independent counsel hired by Fox "could not corroborate the evidence or allegations provided by Mr. Clark or any witnesses".

American Idol Rewind started re-airing this season in the fall of 2007.

1 Neither of the bottom 2 were eliminated on the April 1 results show due to the disqualification of Corey Clark.

The third season premiered on January 19, 2004. By the end of its third season, the network profited more than $260,000,000. The winner was Fantasia Barrino, later known simply as "Fantasia," and the runner-up was Diana DeGarmo. The third season was also shown in Australia on Network Ten about half a week after episodes were shown in the U.S. In May 2005, Telescope announced that the third season had a total of approximately 360 million votes.

The early part of the season introduced William Hung, a UC Berkeley student, who received widespread attention following his off-key rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs." His performance, as well as his positive attitude facing Cowell's criticisms, landed him a record deal with Koch Entertainment and made him over $500,000 in record sales.

During the season, controversy over the legitimacy of the contest increased as rocker Jon Peter Lewis and young crooner John Stevens stayed afloat while others, such as Jennifer Hudson, were unexpectedly eliminated. Jasmine Trias, despite negative comments from Simon Cowell over her later performances, survived elimination and took the third spot over LaToya London.

Over 65 million votes were cast on the night of the finale, more than the first two seasons combined. Fantasia was crowned the winner over runner-up Diana DeGarmo and released her first single in June 2004 on the RCA record label. The single entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #1, making Fantasia the first artist in the history of Billboard to debut at number one with their first single, and remained there for one week. Fantasia's debut album I Believe has been certified double platinum by the CRIA and received 3 Billboard Music Awards.

DeGarmo was also signed to RCA. However, the sales of her debut album Blue Skies suffered partly from a lack of promotion and she eventually asked to be released from her contract. Since then, she has played different roles on Broadway. She also appeared as a contestant on the first season of CMT's reality show Gone Country.

In addition to Fantasia and DeGarmo, Jasmine Trias, LaToya London, George Huff, Jennifer Hudson, and Camile Velasco have released albums since the season ended. Hudson has also received praise for her acting in Dreamgirls (for which she won an Academy Award) and Sex and the City.

The fourth season premiered on January 18, 2005. The age limit was raised to 28 in this season to increase the variety of contestants. Among those who benefited from this new rule were Constantine Maroulis and Bo Bice, considered to be the eldest and most experienced of the season's contestants. They were also constantly mentioned by Seacrest and in the media as "the two rockers", since their long hair and choice of rock songs made them stand out from conventional Idol standards. The presence of more rock-oriented contestants continued with Chris Daughtry in Season 5, who was inspired to audition for the show by Bice. In May 2005, Telescope announced that the fourth season had a total of approximately 500 million votes.

This season also implemented new rules for the final portion of the contest. Instead of competing in semi-final heats in which the top vote-getters are promoted to the final round, 24 semi-finalists were named; 12 men and 12 women, who competed separately, with two of each gender being voted off each week until 12 finalists were left. This was in response to season 3 results, which produced a Top 12 of eight women and just four men.

The winner was Carrie Underwood, a country singer. Underwood's first single, "Inside Your Heaven", debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 14, 2005 and had first-week sales of 170,000 copies. One week later, runner-up Bo Bice released his version of the song, which debuted at #2. On November 15, 2005, Underwood released her debut album, Some Hearts, which both debuted and peaked at #2 on Billboard. On February 11, 2007, Underwood became the first winner of American Idol to sweep all three major music awards (American Music, Billboard, and Grammy Awards) in a single season (for 2006-07).

Other contestants have also seen success in their post-Idol careers. Third-place contestant Vonzell Solomon landed a role in a film, Still Green, and a single on a Christmas album. Fourth-place contestant Anthony Fedorov has appeared in television shows such as Fear Factor and has finished taping several episodes for a new MTV show to air in the fall; he also performed in the off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks in 2007. Sixth-place contestant Constantine Maroulis released his first solo album in 2007. Maroulis has also appeared in the Broadway musical The Wedding Singer and the now closed off-Broadway play Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Seventh-place contestant Anwar Robinson released a self-titled EP on an independent label. Twelfth-place contestant Lindsey Cardinale's first single, "Nothing Like A Dream", was released in March 2006.

1 None of the bottom 3 on the April 20 results show were sent back to safety before the elimination announcement.

The fifth season of American Idol began on January 17, 2006; this was the first season of the series to be aired in high definition. It remains highest-rated season in the shows run so far. Auditions were in Austin, Boston, Chicago, Denver and San Francisco, with Greensboro, North Carolina and Las Vegas, Nevada included after the cancellation of the Memphis auditions due to Hurricane Katrina. The season used the same rules as season 4.

Taylor Hicks was named American Idol on May 24, 2006; he was the fourth contestant to never fall into any week's "bottom three". His first post-Idol single, "Do I Make You Proud", would debut at #1 and be certified gold. Hicks' album, Taylor Hicks, has sold 702,000 copies to date. His follow-up album, "The Distance," was released March 10, 2009.

On May 30, 2006, Telescope announced that a total of 63.5 million votes were cast in the finale round. A total of 580 million votes were cast in the entire season. Taylor Hicks is the second American Idol winner from the city of Birmingham, Alabama (the first being Ruben Studdard), and the fourth finalist with close ties to the city.

The fifth-season contestant with the most commercial success is fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry, now lead singer of the band Daughtry. Their eponymous debut album has sold over 5 million copies to date - surpassing former winners Studdard and Fantasia's respective two-album totals - and produced two top-ten singles. The album, which spent two weeks at #1 in the US, is also the fastest-selling debut rock album in Soundscan history.

As of November 2008: Runner-up Katharine McPhee's debut album has sold 374,000 copies; she has two Top 40 Billboard hits. Also notable: sixth-place finisher Kellie Pickler, whose Small Town Girl reached #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and has sold over 795,000 copies. Third-place finisher Elliott Yamin's eponymous debut album was certified gold and produced a platinum-selling single. Eighth-place finisher Bucky Covington's self-titled debut album has sold 384,000 copies and generated a top 20 and two top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. Ninth-place finisher Mandisa's True Beauty album earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album in 2007.

1 None of the bottom 3 on the April 12 results show were sent back to safety before the elimination announcement.

The sixth season began on Tuesday, January 16, 2007. The premiere episode of the season drew a massive audience of 37.7 million viewers, peaking in the last half hour with more than 41 million viewers. Jordin Sparks was declared the winner on May 23, 2007, at 10:05 EST, with a new record of 74 million votes in the finale against runner-up Blake Lewis.

Teenager Sanjaya Malakar was the season's most polarizing and talked-about American Idol contestant, as he continued to survive elimination for several weeks. The weblog Vote for the Worst and satellite radio personality Howard Stern both encouraged fans to vote for Sanjaya. However, on April 18, after over 38 million votes, Sanjaya was voted off.

The Top 6 singers performed inspirational music as a part of the first ever "Idol Gives Back" telethon-inspired event which raised more than $60 million in corporate and viewer donations. None of the singers were eliminated, and the votes from that week were added to the votes from the following week to eliminate two singers. Both weeks saw a two-hour extension of the regular two-hour voting window, and in the end, the two-week combined voting totaled 135 million votes.

In April 2007, the show had launched the American Idol Songwriter contest which enabled fans to select the "coronation song" to be performed by the final two contestants on the top two performance show and by the winner on the finale. Amateur songwriters were able to submit recordings of original songs. A selection committee headed by Idol creator Simon Fuller then narrowed thousands of submissions down to twenty finalists. With "one online vote per fan," fans were able to listen to snippets from each song and rate them. The winning song was the ballad "This Is My Now" co-written by Scott Krippayne and Jeff Peabody. "This Is My Now" was recorded by Jordin Sparks and released on May 24, 2007. The song peaked at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Sparks' first non American Idol single was the top hit (peaking at #8) "Tattoo", which received platinum certification. Her second single was the Billboard Hot 100 #3 hit "No Air" with Chris Brown. The song went to #1 in several countries, and also topped Billboard's Pop Airplay chart. "No Air" had been certified platinum in April but recently passed the 2.5 million copies mark. Sparks released a third single off her album, "One Step at a Time", which peaked at #17. This makes Jordin Sparks the only American Idol contestant to have their first 4 singles become a Top 20 Hit. "One Step at a Time" has so far sold 1 million copies and is certified platinum.

Blake Lewis's first single was "Break Anotha!", which failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. His second single, "How Many Words", also failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #25 in the Bubbling Under chart (Hot 100 equivalent = 125). Shortly afterward, Lewis confirmed that he had been dropped by Arista records. His album sales are just over 300,000. The drop also canceled his apparent plans for a third single release.

Phil Stacey, tied for fifth place with Chris Richardson, is now signed to Lyric Street and has released his first single "If You Didn't Love Me". Tenth place finalist Chris Sligh recently released a Christian album after signing with Brash Music.

This season of American Idol produced two Top 3 contestants that were never in bottom 2 or 3, Jordin Sparks (the season 6 winner) and Melinda Doolittle (third place). They are joined by Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks as Top 3 contestants never to have been in the bottom 2 or 3.

1 On the March 21 results show, only the bottom two were announced. 2 From the Final 6 onward, only the names of the eliminated contestants were announced, with no mention of a bottom three or two.

American Idol returned for its seventh season on January 15, 2008 for a two-day, four-hour premiere. David Cook was announced the winner of American Idol season 7 on May 21, 2008, with a record breaking 56% of the 97.5 million votes. Known for his rock-oriented cover versions, most of which he arranged himself, Cook was the first 'rocker' to win the show.

Prior to the start of season 7, Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe admitted that season 6 had placed more focus on the guest mentors than the contestants. Changes were planned for season 7 designed to return attention to the contestants by providing more information on their backgrounds and families. In addition, starting with the Hollywood rounds, contestants were allowed to accompany themselves on musical instruments.

On March 11, 2008, American Idol debuted a new state-of-the-art set and stage, along with a new on-air look. The two-night season finale, as announced by Seacrest, was broadcasted live from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on May 20 and 21, 2008.

Idol Gives Back, which raised more than $75 million in 2007 for various charitable organizations, returned on April 9, 2008. It is said that the revenue earned from the April 9, 2008 event is comparable to the amount raised in 2007 and will be distributed by the Idol Gives Back Foundation.

The media noted that several of the season 7 semi-finalists had previously had record deals, including Kristy Lee Cook, Brooke White, Michael Johns, and Carly Smithson. (Eventual winner David Cook released an independent solo album and had finished recording a follow-up prior to his audition for the show, but he was never involved with a record label or contract.) Idol rules state that contestants may have had a record deal in the past, but are still eligible as long as they are no longer under contract when Idol begins. Former season 2 contestant Clay Aiken commented during an interview on The View in May 2008 about the general innocence of the contestants, that has increasingly been lost over the years. Aiken stated that the contestants are "increasingly more experienced than ever before".

The American Idol Songwriter contest, launched during season 6, was continued for this season. During the top two performance show, each contestant performed a song he had selected from the top ten vote getters, but 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. The song was certified platinum by the RIAA on December 12, 2008.

This season David Archuleta and David Cook joined Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, and Melinda Doolittle as the Top 3 contestants to never have been in the bottom 3 or 2. David Archuleta and Clay Aiken are the only runner-ups to have never been in the bottom 2 or 3. This season's finale was also the first time in the show's history where neither one of the Top 2 were ever in the bottom 3.

David Archuleta signed with Jive Records and his self-titled debut album was released on November 11, 2008. Archuleta's first single, "Crush", debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart, giving it the highest single debut of 2008. The song has sold 1.5 million copies as of January 2009, making it one of the most successful singles ever from an Idol contestant. A second single from the album, "A Little Too Not Over You" has been released.

David Cook's debut album was released on November 18, 2008, on 19 Recordings / RCA Records and was certified platinum by the RIAA on January 22, 2009. Cook teamed with Grammy winning producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Kid Rock) on the album. A single from the album, "Light On", was released in September 2008.

1 None of the bottom 3 on the April 10 results show was sent back to safety before the elimination announcement. 2 From the Final 5 onward, only the names of the eliminated contestants were announced, with no mention of a bottom three or two.

The eighth season of American Idol began on January 13, 2009. Auditions began July 17. This season featured fewer drawn-out audition episodes and more half-hour result shows. Mike Darnell, the president of alternative programming for Fox, stated that this season would focus more on the contestants' reality and emotional state. Also, this season introduced a fourth judge on the panel: record producer, singer and songwriter Kara DioGuardi.

After Fox and producers promised changes to the show, on August 4 showrunner and executive producer Nigel Lythgoe announced he was leaving "Idol" to focus on international versions of his other show So You Think You Can Dance. It was also announced that Idol Gives Back would not return during the season due to the ongoing economic crisis and recession. In addition, the Hollywood round was moved to the Kodak Theatre for 2009 and was also extended to two weeks.

This season featured for the first time 36 semifinalists with 12 different semifinalists performing every Tuesday. The male, female, and the next top vote getter with the highest number of America's votes made it into the top 13. This season also featured the return of the Wild Card round, last used in season 3. The judges selected eight eliminated contestants. The plan was for them to select three of those to advance to the finals based on their singing on March 5. When the time came, they put through four instead of three. Another change in the Idol format, which was revealed on March 11, 2009, is that the judges are able to exercise a veto power on one eliminated contestant at any given point of the competition and spare them from elimination. This is called the Judge's Save. Executive producer Ken Warwick stated they tested it with the sixth season of Nouvelle Star.

Semi-Final #1 consisted of Jackie Tohn, Ricky Braddy, Alexis Grace, Brent Keith, Stevie Wright, Anoop Desai, Casey Carlson, Michael Sarver, Anne Marie Boskovich, Stephen Fowler, Tatiana Del Toro, and Danny Gokey. Gokey (top male vote getter), Grace (top female vote getter), and Sarver (next highest vote getter) advanced to the final 13.

Semi-Final #2 consisted of Jasmine Murray, Matt Giraud, Jeanine Vailes, Nick Mitchell, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen, Megan Joy, Matt Breitzke, Jesse Langseth, Kai Kalama, Mishavonna Henson, and Adam Lambert. Lambert (top male vote getter), Iraheta (top female vote getter) and Allen (next highest vote getter) advanced to the final 13.

Semi-Final #3 consisted of Kendall Beard, Taylor Vaifanua, Ju'Not Joyner, Scott MacIntyre, Nathaniel Marshall, Kristen McNamara, Jorge Núñez, Felicia Barton, Lil Rounds, Von Smith, Arianna Afsar, and Alex Wagner-Trugman. MacIntyre (top male vote getter), Rounds (top female vote getter) and Nuñez (next highest vote getter) advanced to the final 13.

The Wild Card consisted of Von Smith, Jasmine Murray, Ricky Braddy, Megan Joy, Tatiana Del Toro, Matt Giraud, Jesse Langseth and Anoop Desai. Murray, Joy, Giraud, and Desai advanced to the final 13.

In the first week of the top 13, contestants had to sing songs from Michael Jackson. On the results show, two people were being sent home. Ryan announced Jorge Nunez and Jasmine Murray were the lowest vote-getters. The judges did not save either. In week 2, contestants had to sing Grand Ole Opry songs. Michael Sarver, Alexis Grace, and Allison Iraheta were the bottom three and stated Alexis was lowest vote-getter. She sang again, but the judges did not save her. In the third week, contestants sang Motown music. Scott MacIntyre, Matt Giraud, and Michael Sarver were the bottom three. When Michael was eliminated, the judges chose not to save him.

1 In Week One of the finals, even though Anoop Desai and Megan Joy were brought to center-stage as is traditionally done with bottom 3 contestants, Ryan never actually stated that they were low vote-getters.

American Idol is often noted for advertising its sponsors during the show's runtime. Idol showed 4,151 product placements in its first 38 episodes during season 7, according to Nielsen Media Research. Being the number-one-rated show in the United States, it costs around $700,000 for a 30-second commercial.

Coca-Cola is a major sponsor in the U.S., and all the judges, hosts, and contestants are seen consuming beverages out of cups bearing the Coca-Cola logo although video evidence suggests there is no liquid in the cups. Contestants and host are shown gathering for a "Keeping it Real" segment between songs in the "Coca-Cola Red Room," the show's equivalent to the traditional green room. (During rebroadcast on ITV in the UK, the Coca-Cola logo is obscured in the shots.) In seasons 1 through 4, after every Wednesday results show, the host and remaining contestants meet in the Coca-Cola Red Room to discuss next week's theme; the footage of this meeting is shown at the start of the following Tuesday's performance show. The red room was removed in season 7 at the beginning of the top 12 when American Idol switched to a new stage. Highlights of the show were also featured on the official American Idol web site with a Coca-Cola logo surrounding them.

Products from the Ford Motor Company also receive prominent product placement; contestants appear in Ford commercials on the results shows, and the final two of seasons 4, 5 and 6 each won free Mustangs; the final two of season 7 received Ford Escape Hybrids. Previous contestants Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Hicks have been tapped to do commercials for Ford. Also, in the top 24's studio, in the red room there is a glass table with a Ford wheel inside of it. The camera routinely captures the logo.

Text voting is made possible by AT&T Mobility, formerly Cingular Wireless. AT&T created an ad campaign that centered around an air-headed teenager going around telling people to vote. This kind of branding to American Idol enabled AT&T to become the favored system to vote for many Americans (Jenkins 87).

Apple iTunes joined as a season 7 major sponsor in the U.S., and Ryan Seacrest notes during the program that all performances are available via iTunes. Video is regularly shown of contestants learning their songs by rehearsing with iPods. During season 8 iTunes has been promoted as the official source to download contestant performances. iTunes is listed in the closing credits as a sponsor of the show.

Kellogg and Pop-Tarts are also two major sponsors, especially of the cast tour that follows the end of every season. Guitar Hero was added as a sponsor during the season 7 tour. Promotion included demonstrations during intermission as well as a music video featuring the top 10 Idols. In addition, David Cook and David Archuleta appeared in “Risky Business” inspired Guitar Hero commercials that aired during the season 7 finale.

Jordin Sparks, the winner of the sixth installment of 'Idol', filmed a commercial promoting the new "American Idol Experience" attraction of the Florida theme park, Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Contestants will occasionally don Old Navy clothing during performances, and celebrity stylist Steven Cojocaru appeared in two previous seasons to assist contestants with picking out wardrobe pieces from Old Navy. Clairol hair care products also sponsors the show, with contestants usually getting Clairol-guided hair makeovers after the first two or three episodes during the round of 12.

This is just a small sampling. See above link for full article.

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of American Idol on FOX. It is one of the highest-rated TV shows in the history of television.

American Idol's consistent dominance of an hour two or three nights a week exceeds the 30- or 60-minute reach of previous hits such as The Cosby Show. As a result, competing networks—whose personnel call the show "the Death Star"—have often rearranged their schedules in order to minimize losses. Conversely, FOX has used American Idol to help promote other programs on its schedule.

However, since Season Six, the show has shown a steady decline in viewership. On the season finale of the sixth season, the ratings of American Idol saw a drop of 19% from last year, when Taylor Hicks was crowned as the 2006 Idol. Ratings of the season finale peaked at 34.9 million viewers at 10 pm, just five minutes before Jordin Sparks was declared the winner of Idol.

Season Seven coincided with the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, which, according to early predictions would help the show's ratings by eliminating scripted competition (Idol, being unscripted, was unaffected by the strike). However, the ratings decline continued into season seven, starting with the premiere which was down 11% among total viewers and 13% among adults ages 18 to 49 from last year. The performance show featuring the top seven finalist was the lowest-rated Tuesday American Idol show in five years among adults ages 18 to 49. The subsequent results show, in which Kristy Lee Cook was eliminated, delivered American Idol's lowest-rated Wednesday among adults ages 18 to 34 since its first season back in 2002. Overall, ratings for the seventh season were down 10% from last season. General attrition of television audiences was the primary reason cited for this ratings decline.

Initial numbers for season 8 show further erosion, as numbers have fallen approximately 15% compared to similar episodes from season 7.

American Idol is broadcast to over 100 nations outside of the United States. In most nations these aren't live broadcasts and may be tape delayed by several days or weeks. Episodes are aired live in Canada, Australia & Israel (for most episodes), Malaysia, India, Indonesia, the Philippines and the Middle East on Star World. In the instances where the airing is delayed, the shows are usually combined into one episode to summarize the results. Australia airs episodes just 5 hours after their US showing, MBC4 another Middle East Channel broadcasts American Idol 19 hours after its showing in the US most people may watch it on MBC4 as it is a free channel unlike Starworld where you have to pay for a showtime package to watch it, and the UK airs episodes 2 days after their US showing on digital channel ITV2. It is also aired in Ireland on TV3 Ireland 2 days after the showing. In Brazil, the show airs 3 days after the showing in the United States.

Currently American Idol is televised on TVNZ in New Zealand, Fox in the United States, CTV in Canada, MNET Series in South Africa, FOX8 in Australia,Channel5 in Singapore, ITV2 in the UK, Fox Life in Italy and Portugal, Global TV in Indonesia, 8TV in Malaysia, TV3 Ireland in Ireland, Star World in several parts of Asia,MBC4 in the Middle East and some parts of Asia aTV World in Hong Kong, QTV11 in the Philippines, TV3 Viasat in Denmark, Sub in Finland, TV4 in Sweden and on TV2 in Hungary.

From season 7 onwards, American Idol is exclusively being broadcast direct to Australia via satellite on FOX8 just seven hours after it's US premiere.

It also airs in Matamoros, Mexico in English because that market has a Fox affiliate that serve a US market. The broadcast is live, as it is in the Central time zone on XHRIO, while in the rest of the country, as of the rest of Latin America, the show is broadcasted and subtitled by Sony Entertainment Television.

On a detailed note, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson are the only three Idols to win Grammy Awards, although many of these Idols have been nominated numerous times. Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson are the only Idols to win a Grammy for an album. Carrie Underwood is the only Idol to win the Best New Artist category. Jennifer Hudson is also the only Idol to be nominated for and to win an Academy Award. She won the Best Supporting Actress category in February 2007 for her performance as Effie White in the hit film Dreamgirls, based on the musical of the same name.

On February 7, 2008, The Walt Disney Company announced the development of "The American Idol Experience", a live attraction based on American Idol to be built at its Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. The show is co-produced by 19 Entertainment. The attraction opened on February 14, 2009, with many of the former Idol contestants present for the event. Park guests are able to audition and possibly perform in the live show. Winners are selected by a combination of audience vote and input from a panel of judges. Winners each day will have the chance to audition for the real TV series.

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Randy Jackson

Randall Darius "Randy" Jackson (born June 23, 1956) is an American bassist, singer, record producer, music manager, and former A&R executive. He is best known as a judge on American Idol and Executive Producer for MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. He has won Grammy Awards as a producer.

Jackson was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the son of Julia, a homemaker, and Herman Jackson, a plant foreman. He has been married twice. His first marriage, to Elizabeth Jackson, ended in divorce in 1990; they had one child (Taylor) together. Since 1995, he has been married to Erika Riker, with whom he has two children Zoe (age 13) and his son Jordan (age 11). In 2003, Jackson lost 114 pounds following gastric bypass surgery. He stated in a February 2008 television commercial that he has Type 2 diabetes.

While in the Bay Area, Jackson played in bands with Carlos Santana and Jerry Garcia. From 1986 to 1987 he was a member of the rock group Journey. Jackson joined Journey for their 1986 album Raised on Radio and subsequent tour. He moved to Italy in the late 1980s and played on a record by Italian pop star Zucchero. The record, Zucchero and the Randy Jackson Band, was produced by Corrado Rustici who played guitar with Randy on many albums in the early 80's.

In 1985, Keith Richards was asked to provide music for the Whoopi Goldberg comedy vehicle "Jumpin' Jack Flash". Richards assembled an all-star band which included Aretha Franklin on piano and lead vocals and Randy Jackson on bass guitar. This song was the fourth track on Aretha's 1986 album titled "Aretha." Randy can be seen in the song's video.

Jackson has recorded, produced, or toured with many well-known artists and bands, ranging from Mariah Carey (he has been her musical director for a number of her tours; he was in her band at Live 8 in London in 2005) to *NSYNC, Whitney Houston, (produced) Dionne Farris' (critically acclaimed debut CD, Wild-Seed Wild-Flower), Céline Dion, Fergie (dating back to her days in Wild Orchid), Stryper, Whitesnake (he took over when former bassist broke his arm for a couple shows in the late 80s), and Madonna (he played some bass on her album "Like a Prayer" although not on the single of the same name).

Jackson played numerous times in Jean-Luc Ponty's backing band. His credits as a session musician range from playing with Aretha Franklin, Roger Waters, Bruce Springsteen, Journey, George Michael, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Billy Cobham, Blue Öyster Cult, Herbie Hancock, Richard Marx, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Michael Bolton, and Bob Dylan to playing at the Grand Ole Opry with The Charlie Daniels Band. His production/songwriting work in the San Francisco Bay Area with Narada Michael Walden and Walter Afanasieff led Jackson to be in demand as a producer as well.

On March 11, 2008, Jackson released an album produced entirely by himself, titled Randy Jackson's Music Club, Vol. 1. The album's release was preceded by the single "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" sung by Paula Abdul.

Jackson is the manager for the Charlotte, North Carolina based band Papertongues. The band, with the help of Jackson, signed with a major label, A&M's Octone.

He has also worked as an executive, spending eight years as vice president of artists and repertoire (A&R) at Columbia Records and four years heading A&R at MCA Records.

Since 2002, Jackson has been one of the three panel judges on the Fox Network reality television series American Idol, along with Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, and on Season 8 with the addition of Kara DioGuardi.

Jackson also hosts a radio top 40 countdown known as "Randy Jackson's Hit List," which is syndicated by Westwood One. Every week Jackson counts down his top 30 Urban AC and Mainstream AC hits. He also gives behind-the-scenes information on American Idol on the internet radio station Artist Underground.

America's Best Dance Crew is a group dance contest produced by Jackson, premiering on February 7, 2008. Season 1 ended on March 27, 2008; season 2 started on June 7, 2008, and ended on August 19, 2008. Season 3 began on January 15, 2009, and ended on March 5, 2009.

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Source : Wikipedia