Simon Cowell

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Posted by pompos 03/01/2009 @ 18:38

Tags : simon cowell, record producer, music, entertainment

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Payoff Over a Web Sensation Is Elusive - New York Times
An image from a YouTube video of Simon Cowell during a performance by Susan Boyle. After a six-week absence, she returned on Sunday night to sing “Memory” from the musical “Cats,” wowing the crowd and advancing to Saturday's finale....
Simon Cowell blames relationship rules for his split - Press Trust of India
London, May 25 (PTI) 'American Idol' judge Simon Cowell has blamed the rules of relationship for his break-up with longtime girlfriend Teri Seymour. The celebrity reality TV judge and his presenter girlfriend decided to split after six years of...
Stargazing | Gene Simmons and Adam Lambert, Simon Cowell and ... - Kansas City Star
After Tuesday night's taping, a woman attacked and tried to choke Simon Cowell's ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour. “It was all so sudden. Very scary. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before,” Seymour told “Extra.” She was there covering the show...
Simon Cowell's Ex Gets Attacked -
After attending the American Idol finale last week, Simon Cowell's ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour was attacked outside the Nokia Theatre. The suspect, Janice Thibodeaux, asked Terri if she was Simon's girlfriend and allegedly began to choke her....
Simon Cowell tells of his 'tortured moods' that mean he might ... -
By Louisa Pilbeam 24/05/2009 BGT boss Simon Cowell told yesterday how he is "tortured" and suffers dark moods that make him want to spend days alone. Cowell, 49, fears that he will never be happy, despite his £120 million fortune....
Woman Who Choked Cowell's Ex Was Getting Revenge For Abdul - Rolling Stone
As Rock Daily reported yesterday, American Idol judge Simon Cowell's ex-girlfriend Terri Seymour was assaulted following Tuesday night's performance show. Now the 33-year-old woman who choked Seymour is speaking to Radar Online from jail — and reveals...
Nick Hell is binned by Simon Cowell - Sunderland Echo
Not for the faint-hearted, his act had won round judges Amanda Holden and Piers Morgan in previous rounds, although Simon Cowell was not a fan. And last night's performance saw him drilling through his nose. Meanwhile his girlfriend hung a bucket from...
A star is Shaun - The Sun
Jubilant Shaun, 17, was put through by judges Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden after dance troupe Flawless made it automatically by winning the public vote. The rugby-playing teenager was immediately hailed as a dark horse who could upset “Hairy Angel”...
Simon Cowell headed for No. 10? X Factor judge and Joanna Lumley ... - Daily Mail
By Daily Mail Reporter Simon Cowell has been voted the celebrity voters would most like to see as Prime Minister in a new poll. The X Factor judge, known for his high-waisted trousers and acerbic put-downs, came top in a survey by MSN Entertainment to...
Will Simon Cowell sign Natalie Okri? -
Natalie Okri didn't make it through to the final of Britain's Got Talent 2009 but Simon Cowell seemed very impressed with the ten year old singer. Could he make her a star? Dinky diva Natalie Okri made it into the top three on tonight's Britain's Got...

Simon Cowell

Simon Phillip Cowell (born October 7, 1959) is an English artist-and-repertoire ("A&R") executive, television personality/producer and entrepreneur, best known as a judge on such TV shows as Pop Idol, American Idol, The X Factor, and Britain's Got Talent. He is also the owner of the television production and music publishing house Syco.

Cowell is notorious as a judge for his unsparingly blunt and often controversial criticisms, insults and wisecracks about contestants and their singing abilities, or lack thereof. He is often parodied in pop culture. He is known for combining activities in the television and music industries, having promoted singles and records for various artists, including television personalities. Having most recently featured in the eighth season of American Idol and the third series of Britain's Got Talent, Cowell has just finished working on the fifth series of The X Factor.

Cowell was born in Brighton, East Sussex, England and brought up in Elstree, Hertfordshire. His father, Eric Philip Cowell, was an estate agent developer and music industry executive, and his mother, Julie Brett (née Josie Dalglish), is a former ballet dancer and socialite. Cowell's paternal grandparents, Joseph Cowell and Esther Malinsky, were English Jews, and his maternal grandfather was Scottish. He has 1 brother and 2 half-brothers; younger brother Nicholas Cowell, half-brother Tony Cowell, and half-brother Michael Cowell. Michael is the oldest, followed by Tony, Simon and Nicholas, (in that specific order).

Cowell attended Dover College as did his brother, but left early before sixth form. He took a few menial jobs, but did not get along well with co-workers and bosses, until his father who was executive at the recording giant at EMI Music Publishing, managed to get him a job in the mail room.

His father's connections originally got him rehired as the assistant to an A&R man. From there onwards, Simon worked his way up and eventually got promoted to a music publishing position but left during the early 1980s to form E&S Music with his boss at EMI, Ellis Rich (later Chairman of the Performing Right Society). The company had several hit records at one point with five singles in the UK top 40. The offices were in a converted gentleman's washroom in the NCP car park on Brewer Street in London's Soho district. Simon left by mutual agreement a few years later.

One year later, Cowell went to work for Iain Burton, manager of choreographer Arlene Phillips, co-founder of dance group Hot Gossip and of nascent independent record label Fanfare Records. Cowell worked with Burton for eight years at Fanfare where he achieved his first real success in the music industry, becoming a partner and building Fanfare into a highly successful 'indie' pop label. Fanfare had numerous top ten hits with various Pop artists and particularly Sinitta, selling more than half a million of her classic hit debut single 'So Macho' and more than half a million albums of 'Rondo Veneziano'.

In 1984, Cowell and Burton met up with Pete Waterman for the first time. Mike Stock, Matt Aitken and Pete Waterman together formed the songwriting and record producing trio known as Stock Aitken Waterman. Stock Aitken Waterman helped Fanfare during the second half of the 1980s producing several smash hit singles for Sinitta and licensing The Hit Factory SAW Compilation Albums to Fanfare.

In 1989, Fanfare's parent-company, Public Company, got into difficulties, forcing Fanfare into the hands of BMG, and Cowell, in debt, to move back in with his parents. Later that year, he became an A&R consultant for BMG.

Subsequently, Cowell signed up a number of acts to S-Records that made a mark in the pop music world, including Curiosity Killed the Cat, Sonia Evans, Five, Westlife, Robson & Jerome, and Ultimate Kaos. He also released several novelty recordings featuring the likes of wrestlers of the World Wrestling Federation, Teletubbies, Zig and Zag and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, that were huge successes. Cowell set up another label, Syco Records, in 2002 which later became part of Columbia Records and Sony BMG Music Entertainment. Artists such as Leona Lewis, Il Divo and contestants from The X Factor and America's Got Talent are released on Syco.

In 2006, Cowell signed to two more record-breaking deals. In the USA, he agreed to remain as a judge on American Idol, earning £20 million ($40 million) per season for another five years. He also has a deal with FOX which allows his production company to broadcast Got Talent and American Inventor on other networks, but he may not appear on them. In the UK, he signed a "golden handcuffs" deal with ITV, worth approximately £6.5 million a year for three years, which gave ITV rights to his hit talent show The X Factor, a British singing talent show, and Grease Is The Word, a musical talent show to find the stars of a Grease production in London's West End. In late 2005, he signed a new contract to remain working for Sony BMG.

Cowell became a judge on the first series of Pop Idol in 2001, and on the first season of American Idol in 2002. Many viewers of American Idol know Cowell best for his bitingly critical comments and attitude. He is so prominently identified with being blunt and harsh in commentary that audiences on American Idol can make it difficult for him to speak, sometimes booing him even before he makes his opinions known. Ryan Seacrest, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson tend to cut him off very quickly as well. With his notoriously critical reputation, Cowell is likened to TV personalities, such as Judge Judy (aka Justice with an Attitude), and Weakest Link's Anne Robinson (aka Queen of Mean). Though comparable to Anne Robinson, Cowell has expressed his dislike for her and has commented in an interview, "I hate her and I hate her show because it's just an act". Cowell's fame grew, fed by his signature phrase, "I don't mean to be rude, but …", inevitably followed by an unsparingly blunt appraisal of the contestant's talents, personality, or even physical appearance. A lot of these one-liners were the product of coaching that Cowell received from noted publicist Max Clifford. Cowell also appeared on the one-off World Idol programme in 2003, where it became clear that each country's version of the Idol had attempted to come up with its own "Simon Cowell" type personality. In 2003, Cowell placed No 33 on Channel 4's list of the all-time 100 Worst Britons. Cowell's S Records signed the top two finishers of the first season of Pop Idol, Will Young and Gareth Gates, both of whom went on to have No 1 UK hits. Efforts begun in 2001 materialised in 2004, when Cowell returned to his group manufacturing roots with his latest brainchild, the internationally successful operatic pop group Il Divo, consisting of three opera singers and one pop singer of four different nationalities. Inspired by the success of Il Divo, Simon created a child version, Angelis, beating competition from many similar groups emerging at Christmas 2006.

In 2004, with Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh, Cowell was a judge on the first series of the British talent show The X Factor, which he created using his production company, Syco. The X Factor was an instant success with the viewers and has returned four more times to its fifth series in 2008. In 2006, he was voted the tenth most terrifying celebrity on television in a Radio Times poll consisting of 3,000 people.

The winner of The X Factor third series, Leona Lewis, is signed to Cowell's label Syco and has gone on to become an international star, with number one singles and album sales around the world.

Cowell returned for a fourth series on August 18, 2007, alongside Osbourne, Walsh and new judge, Dannii Minogue. Walsh had previously been sacked from the judging panel by Cowell for the fourth series, and was subsequently replaced by Brian Friedman who was a judge on Grease Is The Word. Walsh was later brought back a week into the auditions by Cowell when he and Sharon Osbourne realised they missed Walsh and that without him, there was no chemistry between the judges.

Cowell returned for the fifth series in 2008, with Walsh, Minogue and new judge Cheryl Cole, as Sharon Osbourne decided to quit before the show begun.

On March 16, 2006, Simon Cowell's next competition show, American Inventor, debuted on ABC. Fledgling entrepreneurs from across the United States compete to see who can come up with the best new product concept. The 2006 winner, Janusz Liberkowski, received $1 million and the opportunity to develop his idea into a business. The show returned in 2007.

Cowell is the executive producer of America's Got Talent, along with Fremantle producers of the Idol series. The show was a huge success for NBC, drawing around 12 million viewers a week, and beating So You Think You Can Dance on FOX (produced by rival and Idol creator Simon Fuller).

A British version aired in 2007, and was screened from June 9, 2007 until June 17, 2007, with ITV screening nine episodes. Fellow judges are Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden.

The Australian version aired in 2007 and was screened on February 18, 2007. Judged by Tom Burlinson, Dannii Minogue and Red Symons and hosted by Grant Denyer on Channel Seven.

Cowell also executive-produces Celebrity Duets, which can be described as "an Idol show for Hollywood superstars." The show is hosted by Wayne Brady, and its judges are Marie Osmond, Little Richard and David Foster.

Cowell collaborated with UK production company Shed Media to produce 2008 ITV drama series Rock Rivals, which is based on an X Factor type show.

Cowell has been involved in charity work for many years. He supports children from The Association Of Children’s Hospices and invites them backstage to the screenings of The X Factor. When he can, he stops by some of the hospices to visit the children. He also supports animal rights and has appeared in a video for PETA in which he reminds drivers of the cruelty to animals that can occur when their pets are locked in cars in the summer.

In December 2003, Cowell published his autobiography titled "I Don't Mean to be Rude, But...". In it, he told the whole story of his childhood, his years working in music and experiences on Pop Idol, Pop Stars Rivals, and American Idol, and finally, his tips for being successful as a pop star.

Cowell has appeared as a guest voice in an episode of The Simpsons ("Smart and Smarter"), in which he gets beaten up by Homer Simpson (while criticising Homer's punches). His voice was also heard on an episode of Family Guy ("Lois Kills Stewie"), in which he told Stewie that his singing was so awful that he should be dead. He made an MTV Movie Award-winning cameo appearance as himself in Scary Movie 3, where he sits in judgment during a battle rap (and subsequently gets killed by gunfire for criticising the rappers). He also appears in Shrek 2 as a judge in Far Far Away Idol, and also provided the voice.

He appeared on an episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (the original British version) and Saturday Night Live in 2004. Cowell has also guest-starred (filling in for Regis Philbin) in the popular talk show Live with Regis and Kelly during American Idol's finalist week in early 2006. Cowell was once the fastest "Star in a Reasonably Priced Car" on BBC's motoring show Top Gear, driving a Suzuki Liana around the show's test track in a time of 1:47.1. When Top Gear retired the Liana along with its rankings after the eighth series, Cowell was the eighth fastest overall and the third fastest non-professional driver. On November 11, 2007 Cowell yet again appeared on Top Gear, achieving a time of 1:45.9 thus putting him ahead of Gordon Ramsay and back at the top of the table. Cowell introduced entertainer Dick Clark at the 2006 Primetime Emmy Awards. He was seen on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice where he donated £25,000 for a fun fair ticket. Cowell has also appeared on the MTV shows Cribs and Punk'd. On Punk'd, Ryan Seacrest and Randy Jackson set him up to believe his $400,000 Rolls Royce was stolen and had caused an accident by using a nearly-identical car.

Cowell was chosen as the first 'victim' of the re-launched This Is Your Life in an episode broadcast on June 2, 2007. He was presented with the Red Book by Sir Trevor McDonald while presenting American Idol.

On July 1, 2007 Cowell appeared alongside Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest as a speaker at the Concert For Diana, held at Wembley Stadium.

On August 13, 2006, Cowell featured on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in which he had to pick eight records he would take with him if he were to be stranded on a desert island. His choices can be seen here. He was also allowed to take a book and a luxury item. For his book, he elected Hollywood Wives, by Jackie Collins, and for his luxury, a mirror.

Simon Cowell was a partner in the Royal Ascot Racing Club, a Thoroughbred horse racing syndicate which owned the 2005 Epsom Derby winner, Motivator.

In late 2002, Cowell started dating longtime friend Terri Seymour. In 2006, British newspaper News of the World reported that he had cheated on Seymour with model and socialite Jasmine Lennard, and printed photos of her leaving his home. Photos of an irate Seymour (who was in the US when the story broke) being met at the airport by Cowell were later published in Heat Magazine. In November 2008, TV Guide reported that Cowell and Seymour had broken up.

Upon his appearance on Top Gear, it was revealed that Cowell pays more than £21.7m per year in income tax, suggesting that his taxable income is over £54.25m per year with income tax at the time approximately 40%. (NB: UK Income Tax 40% for earnings over £34,600).

He appeared on the gameshow Sale of the Century in 1990, as reported in The Sun Newspaper.

He is the godfather of pop singer Sinitta's adopted children.

He owns and drives a Bugatti Veyron.

He admits to using Botox (a brand name for botulinum toxin), but denies any rumours that he is homosexual.

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Simon Cowell (presenter)

Simon Cowell (MBE) is a British television presenter and author who hosts the Animal Planet documentary series Wildlife SOS. He co-founded the Wildlife Aid animal rescue and rehabilitation centre, the organisation whose activities are the subject of the television series. Simon lives in Leatherhead, Surrey.

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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 legitimate 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 TV producer Simon Cowell; and grammy award-nominated singer-songwriter and record producer Kara DioGuardi. The format originally featured three judges, with Kara DioGuardi added in season 8.

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, and Thursday and Friday nights in the United Kingdom.

Singers are not permitted to have any current record deals or talent management agreements (though they may have had one at some point in the past). They must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents eligible to work full-time and, for the first three seasons, had to be 16 to 24 years of age on October 19 of the year of audition. Since the fourth season, the upper age limit was raised to 28 with an earlier cutoff date, August 4.

Others who are ineligible to compete include those who have made it into the top 40 contestants in past seasons (or the top 50 of season 7), and people employed by affiliates of Fox, FremantleMedia or 19 Entertainment (including sponsors, subsidiaries and parent companies). Even if a person is eligible, he or she may not have a chance to audition or be seen because the show can see only a limited number of people in each city.

Auditioning contestants must bring with them to the audition a valid proof of age and work eligibility, such as a birth certificate and driver's license, a passport, or a green card, and those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All auditioning contestants are required to print out a copy of the release form (available on the show's web site) to fill out and turn in at the audition in order to grant permission to be seen and heard by the producers' cameras. Contestants who are found to have given false information are disqualified. After auditioning - regardless of the outcome (even if eliminated on the very first cut) - contestants are under contract with the show until three months after the final episode.

In an interview with Anderson Cooper on the CBS TV current affairs show 60 Minutes on March 17, 2007 (repeated in extended format on CNN's AC 360 program on March 27, 2007), judge Simon Cowell openly declared that the underlying primary purpose of the Idol franchise (including American Idol) was for 19 Entertainment (the parent corporation that produces the Idol TV shows) to discover new singing talent that can be signed to recording agreements that the corporation maintains with a major record company (Sony/BMG), and benefit from the record sales of contestants and winners who are exposed to the worldwide marketplace through the TV shows. Cowell indicated that revenue from recordings by performers associated with the Idol franchise has already exceeded US $100 million. 19 Entertainment also retains exclusive right of refusal for management and merchandising of any contestant. Exercising management rights is at the sole discretion of 19 Entertainment; in the alternative the contestant performer is free to pursue his or her own career.

Once in Hollywood, the contestants perform on different days, with eliminations by the judges on each day. The first day typically has each hopeful sing a song that they had selected from a list. In the next round, the contestants split themselves into small groups and perform a song together. In the final round, the contestants perform a song of their choice a cappella.

Starting in the 2008 season, the structure of the Hollywood round was revamped. There were no longer musical group rounds (the group round was reintroduced in the 2009 season); rather, the contestants would sing on the first day and if the judges felt the performance was adequate, the contestant moved onto the final Hollywood round. If the performance was not up to par, the contestant would have one more chance to impress the judges before the final round. For the first time, contestants were allowed to perform with a musical instrument if they so desired.

In the first three seasons, the semifinalists were randomly split into different groups. Each contestant would then sing in their respective group's night and the top two or three, depending on season, who received the most votes from America in each group would advance to the finals. 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 would move onto the finals.

The first three seasons each featured a Wildcard show in that contestants who failed to make it to the finals would be allowed to perform once more for a chance at a spot. In season one, only one Wildcard contestant would be chosen by the judges. However, in seasons two and three, each judge would champion one contestant and the public would advance the fourth Wildcard contestant 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 Wildcard round. In the third season, the judges eliminated four contestants from the Wildcard round before they had the opportunity to sing.

From season 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 would sing on sequential nights and the bottom two would be eliminated from each group on the results show until the top twelve finalists were left.

In season eight, the semifinals will go back to the basic form of the first three seasons. There will be thirty-six semifinalists who are then divided into three semifinal groups. The three finalists with the highest number of America's votes, one male, one female and the next top vote getter, will advance to the finals. The Wildcard round will also return with the judges choosing three previously eliminated contestants to advance to the finals.

In the finals, which last eleven weeks, each finalist out of all of the contestants performed a song live in prime time from a weekly theme (two songs in later rounds) at CBS Television City in Los Angeles in front of a live studio audience. Themes have included Motown, disco, big band music, and Billboard #1 hits. Some themes are based on music recorded by a particular artist, and the finalists have a chance to work with that artist in preparing their performances. Artists around whom themes have been based include The Beatles, Billy Joel, Neil Sedaka, Mariah Carey, The Bee Gees, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Gloria Estefan, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Neil Diamond, Queen, Bon Jovi, Dolly Parton, and Elvis Presley. Once in the top four and five, the contestants sing two songs each; once in the top three and finale, the contestants sing three songs each.

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 (although they have been in very rare cases), but the bottom three least popular contestants 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, one remaining contestant is declared the winner. Until the 2008 season, the stage was moved to the Kodak Theatre for the finale showdown, where the two remaining contestants perform for an audience of at least 3,400. In 2008, the venue was changed to the Nokia Theatre, which holds an audience of over 7,000. The winner is announced at 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 thirteen 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 will be 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.

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.

Besides 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 theatres 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.

The third season of American Idol premiered on January 19, 2004. American idol was ranked by Forbes as the most successful show of all reality Television shows. By the end of its third season, the network profited more than $260,000,000. The winner of this season of American Idol was Fantasia Barrino, later known professionally as simply "Fantasia," and the runner-up was Diana DeGarmo. This was also the season that Golden Globe Award-, Grammy Award, and Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson was discovered.

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 Simon's criticisms (a stark contrast to other hopeful contestants' confrontational, angry reactions), landed him a record deal with Koch Entertainment and made him over $500,000 in record sales. He also starred in a Cingular Wireless commercial with host Ryan Seacrest.

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, who had become a favorite to win, were unexpectedly eliminated. Jasmine Trias, despite negative comments from Simon Cowell over her later performances, survived elimination and took the third spot over La Toya London. Trias later released a CD and attracted fans in her home state of Hawaii, the Philippines, Singapore, Guam and other South East Asian countries. The third season was also shown in Australia on Network Ten about half a week after episodes were shown in the U.S.

After a nationwide vote of more than 65 million votes in total - more than the first two seasons combined - Fantasia Barrino won the American Idol title over runner-up Diana DeGarmo. She released her first single in June 2004 on the RCA record label. The single included "I Believe" – cowritten by former Idol contestant Tamyra Gray (who also sang backup) – which Fantasia performed on the finale of Idol, the Aretha Franklin hit "Chain of Fools" (released before on an American Idol compilation), and her signature version of "Summertime". 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. The song remained at the number one for one week (it topped the sales chart for 11 weeks in the US and 10 weeks in Canada). Fantasia's CD, I Believe, went on to become the top selling single of 2004 in the U.S. and has since been certified double platinum by the CRIA and received 3 Billboard Music Awards. In 2006, she received 4 Grammy nominations for her double platinum debut album Free Yourself.

Sales of Diana DeGarmo's first CD, Blue Skies, suffered partly from a lack of promotion by RCA. DeGarmo eventually asked to be released from her RCA record contract. She received a role in the Broadway production of Hairspray, where she played the part of Penny Pingleton from February 7 May 21 to positive reviews. DeGarmo then starred with Melba Moore in the national tour of Brooklyn the Musical through mid-August. On September 8, she returned to the Broadway production of Hairspray to once again assume the role of Penny Pingleton for a six month period. DeGarmo is also working independently on a second album while performing in the musicals. She recently appeared on the CMT reality show Gone Country.

Jasmine Trias signed with an independent label. Although she has failed to achieve commercial success in the mainland USA, she has become a major celebrity in other countries, such as the Philippines and Japan, where she is signed with Universal Records.

La Toya London signed with Peak Records and released an R&B/soul album, "Love & Life," selling 55,000 copies. Her single, "Appreciate/Every Part of Me/All by Myself," charted at number 8 on the Billboard Singles Sales Chart, and her songs, "Appreciate," "Every Part of Me," and "State of My Heart," all received moderate success on urban and adult contemporary radio. She starred in the Los Angeles revival of the retro-musical, "Beehive," and also starred with Angie Stone and Kim Fields in the tour of the play, "Issues: We All Got 'Em." London played the role of Nettie in the touring production of the Broadway musical, The Color Purple, which began with an extended run in Chicago, Illinois in April, 2007. The musical also starred Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child.

George Huff signed with Word Records to release a gospel album and has since had mild success in that genre. John Stevens landed a deal with Maverick Records but was dropped due to low album sales.

Jennifer Hudson starred alongside Beyoncé Knowles and Jamie Foxx in the 2006 feature film Dreamgirls and won several honors and awards, including a Golden Globe for her performance and an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film, which also won the Golden Globe for Best Picture (Comedy or Musical), sold 8.8 million dollars worth of tickets to claim the top spot at the box office on its first day in wide theatrical release, which was the single highest daily gross for a musical in motion picture history. The soundtrack to Dreamgirls, featuring Hudson's acclaimed version of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," reached Number One on the Billboard Top 200 album chart on January 10, 2007, after five weeks in release. Her latest picture, the hit movie Sex and the City, based on the television series, went on to the number one spot at the box office grossing more than 57 million dollars its first weekend. Hudson played a secretary for Sarah Jessica Parker's character, looking for love. Hudson, who signed a recording contract with Clive Davis' Arista label in late 2006, released her debut album in September 2008. In 2009 she received 4 Grammy Award nominations and won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. She has also won 4 NAACP Image Awards, 2 BET Awards, 2 Black Reel Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and a BAFTA.

Camile Velasco returned to the Philippines in December 2004 after 17 years for a whirlwind tour of television appearances and a concert with Martin Nievera. In 2005, she signed to Motown Records, but left the label after a lack of promotion for her first single. Camile performed at several concerts in Hawaii, California and Illinois, maintaining her ambition to become an artist. In 2006, she appeared in a Black Eyed Peas video and performed in Hawaii, California, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and the Philippines. Camile is now writing and producing her own songs on Up Above Records.

In May 2005, Telescope announced that the third season had a total of approximately 360 million votes.

The fourth season of American Idol premiered on January 18, 2005. It was the first season in which the age limit was raised to 28, in order to increase variety. All Season 4 contestants had to be between the ages of 16 and 28 on August 4, 2004, born on or between August 5, 1975 and August 4, 1988. Among those who benefited from this new rule were Constantine Maroulis (born September 17, 1975) and Bo Bice (born November 1, 1975), considered to be the eldest and somewhat most experienced of the season's Idol 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.

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 2 of each gender being voted off each week until 12 finalists were left.

Mario Vazquez, who was originally one of the top 12, dropped out of the competition on March 11, just days before the top 12's first performance, citing "personal issues", opening a spot in the final 12 for Nikko Smith (son of Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith), who had been voted off in the semi-finals the previous week.

The winner was Carrie Underwood, a country singer. Carrie Underwood's first single, "Inside Your Heaven", was released on June 14, 2005. The single debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, with first-week sales of 170,000 copies, and briefly stopped Mariah Carey's run at #1 with "We Belong Together". One week later, runner-up Bo Bice released his version of the song, which debuted at #2. The B-side of Underwood's CD was "Independence Day", a cover of the Martina McBride hit. On November 15, 2005, Carrie released her debut album, Some Hearts, which both debuted and peaked at #2 on Billboard. Underwood's first single, "Jesus, Take the Wheel" was made available for radio airplay on October 18, 2005. The single also debuted at #48 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it peaked at #20.

Bo Bice's first single "The Real Thing" has appeared on American Top 40 radio. Although Bice's sales did not match that of Underwood, he stands as the third-most successful recording artist to not win the American Idol title with RIAA platinum status. 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, where he competed with Season 2 contestant Carmen Rasmusen, winning second place, and has finished taping several episodes for a new MTV show to air in the fall. Federov will be performing in The Fantasticks on off-Broadway May through July 2007. Sixth-place contestant Constantine Maroulis has redone his rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" for a Queen tribute album, and released his first full-length solo album in 2007. Since August 2006, Maroulis has 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 and has appeared on CBS' The Bold & the Beautiful. Seventh-place contestant Anwar Robinson has released his self-titled EP on an independent label. Twelfth-place contestant Lindsey Cardinale's first single, "Nothing Like A Dream", was released in March 2006.

In May 2005, Telescope announced that the fourth season had a total of approximately 500 million votes.

On February 11, 2007, Carrie 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 2006-2007),(2007-2008) & (2008-2009).

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 show's 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.

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.

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.

A little over a month earlier, the show had launched the American Idol Songwriter contest which enabled fans to select the "coronation song" to be performed by whichever two contestants made it to the finale. In the songwriting contest, amateur songwriters were able to submit original songs they had written and recorded. 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. When the ratings were tallied, the winning song was the ballad "This is My Now" co-written by Scott Krippayne and Jeff Peabody.

In the finale, both Jordin and Blake started the night off strong. However, the final song of the night was "This is My Now," the winner of the American Idol Songwriter contest. At the end of the episode, Ryan confirmed both Randy's and Simon's predictions announcing Jordin Sparks the Season 6 winner of American Idol, after approximately 74 million votes.

Jordin Sparks first non American Idol single was the top hit (peaking at #8) Tattoo, which received platinum certification. Blake Lewis's single was Break Anotha!, which failed to chart the Billboard Hot 100.

Jordin's second single is 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. The song had been certified platinum in April but recently passed the 2.5 million copies mark. The song peaked at #2 on Billboard's Pop chart, and became the biggest #2 ever (in terms of bullet). Jordin recently released a third single off her album, One Step At A Time, which has peaked at #17. Making Jordin the only American Idol contestant ever 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's second single "How Many Words" also failed to chart the Billboard hot 100, peaking only at 25 in the Bubbling Under chart (hot 100 equivalent = 125). Shortly afterward, Blake confirmed that he had been dropped by Arista records. His album sales are just over 300,000. The drop also canceled Blake's 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.

Jordin recently signed a deal for a clothing line with Wet Seal. Wet Seal has stated in an interview that Jordin is the perfect teenage role model that kids look up to. The clothing line was released on November 19, 2008 and has sold astonishingly over 5 million dollars of merchandise.

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. It has been revealed that this season will feature fewer drawn-out audition episodes and more half-hour result shows. Mike Darnell, the president of alternative programming for Fox, stated that this season the contestants will be more emotional and viewers will see more of their reality and emotional state. Also this season will have a fourth judge on the panel: record producer 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 will not return this 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 will feature 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 will make it into the top 12. This season will also feature the return of the Wildcard round last used in Season 3 with the judges choosing three eliminated contestants to advance to the finals.

Semi-Final #1 consisted of Jackie Tohn, Ricky Braddy, Alexis Grace, Brent Keith, Stevie Wright, Anoop Desai, Casey Carlson, Michael Sarver, Ann Marie Boskovich, Stephen Fowler, Tatiana Del Toro, and Danny Gokey. Danny Gokey (top male vote getter), Alexis Grace (top female vote getter), and Michael Sarver (next highest vote getter) advanced to the final 12.

Semi-Final #2 consisted of Jasmine Murray, Matt Giraud, Jeanine Vailes, Nick Mitchell, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen, Megan Joy Corkrey, Matt Breitzke, Jesse Langseth, Kai Kalama, Mishavonna Henson, and Adam Lambert. Adam Lambert (top male vote getter), Allison Iraheta (top female vote getter) and Kris Allen (next highest vote getter) advanced to the final 12.

Semi-Final #3 consists of Kendall Beard, Taylor Vaifanua, Ju'Not Joyner, Scott McIntyre, Nathaniel Marshall, Kristen McNamara, Jorge Nunez, Felicia Barton, Lil Rounds, Von Smith, Arianna Afsar, and Alex Wagner-Trugman.

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 Seacrest 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 tire 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 Eight show further erosion, as numbers have fallen approximately 15% compared to similar episodes from Season Seven.

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 United Arab Emirates. 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 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 8 days after the showing in the United States.

Currently American Idol is televised on TVNZ in New Zealand, Fox in the United States and 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, aTV World in Hong Kong, QTV11 in the Philippines, TV3 Viasat in Denmark, Sub in Finland, TV4 in Sweden and on TV2 in Hungary.

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. 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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Pop Idol

Pop Idol logo

Pop Idol was a British television series which debuted on ITV on October 5, 2001; the show was a talent contest to decide the best new young pop singer, or 'pop idol', in the United Kingdom, based on viewer voting and participation. A second series was broadcast in 2003.

The Idol series has become an international franchise, although a legal dispute with the makers of Popstars meant that the word "Pop" had to be excluded from the title. As such, spin offs have included American Idol, Australian Idol, Latin American Idol, Idols (Denmark, Netherlands, Finland, South Africa, Serbia-Montenegro & Macedonia), Canadian Idol, Idols West Africa, Indian Idol, Indonesian Idol, New Zealand Idol, Hay Superstar (Armenia), "Idol stjörnuleit" (Iceland), Nouvelle Star (France) , American Juniors, Pinoy Idol (Philippines), Idol (Norway), Idol (Poland), Deutschland sucht den Superstar, Singapore Idol, Malaysian Idol, Vietnam Idol, Music Idol (Bulgaria), Ídolos (Brazil & Portugal), Super Idol (Greece), Solo Idol (Solomon Islands), Super Star (Arab World Megasztár (Hungary), Looking For You (Bangladesh .

Unusually, the format was created not by TV producers but by music impresario Simon Fuller, in 1998. Having initially seen the project as web-based, the reality TV boom of the late '90s led him to take his format and inject elements of the variety talent shows of the 1970s and Popstars.

One of the UK's top-earning TV format exports, Pop Idol made extensive use of premium-priced viewer interactivity, with viewers voting by telephone, mobile telephone texting (not used on series one), through the "red button" on digital television sets, or via the official website. The final of the first series of Pop Idol in February 2002 received the highest-ever one-night vote for a UK TV show, making the show one of ITV1's most profitable. The sister show on ITV2, Pop Idol Extra, also made extensive use of mobile phone text messages to raise additional revenue. The first Pop Idol received very high voting figures despite allowing only telephone and Internet voting and not making use of texting or the "red button".

The Saturday night primetime show initially followed the audition process, as hopefuls sang before four judges (record producer and music executive Pete Waterman, music executive and music manager Simon Cowell, pop mogul and television personality Nicki Chapman and famous Radio DJ and television personality Neil "Dr" Fox) at various locations around the UK. Besides the successful auditionees, the poorest "singers" were often aired due to their obvious lack of talent or presence. Poor singers often faced harsh criticisms from the judges, especially from Simon Cowell (whose controversial rantings also made him famous on American Idol). The judges' reactions to such performances often ranged from disgust to nearly open laughter, their style of judgement and attitude towards pop-star wannabes having resulted in the controversial opinions of others about the show's set up, including that of Take That manager, Nigel Martin Smith.

Once auditions wrapped up, the series moved to the Criterion Theatre, where further auditions saw the judges decide on a group of 50. Unusually, this was the final point at which the judges had direct control over the contestants' fates, as the remainder of the results would be driven solely from viewer voting.

Stage 3 of the series moved to a conventional TV studio. The 50 contestants were split into five groups of ten, each of whom sang one song for the judges, accompanied only by a piano. Each judge offered their opinion, and at the end of the pre-recorded show phone lines opened for votes. Later the same evening a live show followed in which the voting results were revealed, the top two earning a place in the final ten. In series 2, a wildcard round (an innovation that originated on American Idol) was added, in which the judges selected ten rejected contestants and gave them a second chance. In this special edition, one contestant (Susanne Manning) was selected by the viewer vote, and one (Sam Nixon), chosen by the judges. This meant that the next stage began with twelve contestants, rather than the ten in series 1.

The final stage moved to a more lavish TV set, where all remaining contestants sang on live television, accompanied by either a backing track or live band. Most editions had a theme, with contestants singing songs from a particular genre or artist (no original songs were performed at any stage in the competition). Again, the judges offered comments, but the results were decided by viewer voting. Again, a live results show was broadcast later in the evening, but this time the singer with the lowest votes was eliminated, the rest continuing to the following week, until only the winner remained.

Exceptions to the usual format were limited. In series 1, Darius Danesh was promoted to the live shows when Rik Waller dropped out. Danesh was third in the results for the group where Waller had won his place. Also, the first two live shows of series 2 saw two contestants leave, in order to rebalance the numbers after the addition of the two extra performers from the wildcard show.

The first series was won by Will Young, with Gareth Gates coming in second. Michelle McManus won the second series. However, after the second series Simon Cowell was contracted to produce the first series of The X Factor for ITV (Cowell's Syco TV owns the rights to The X Factor) and the channel decided to focus on this new show, placing Pop Idol on indefinite hiatus. However, its impact was immense and led 19 Entertainment and Fremantle Media to roll the format out globally; currently there are over 50 versions in 110 countries. ITV's licence to produce Pop Idol has since expired, meaning that other channels could theoretically acquire the series. Despite rumours (see below), no broadcaster has since acquired the rights to the format in the UK.

All of the top three contestants from series 1 had number 1 singles in the UK. Will Young continues to be a credible recording artist. Darius Danesh had two hit albums and has appeared in the West End musicals Chicago, playing the role of Billy Flynn, and Gone With The Wind, originating the role of Rhett Butler, he also appeared in the touring version of Guys and Dolls as Sky Masterson. Gareth Gates initially had great success, which later dried up. However, he released his third album in June 2007 which charted at No. 23. Series 2 contestants enjoyed significantly less chart success, which many believe damaged the credibility of the show, and helped hasten its demise in its home country.

It has been common to suggest that the UK is actually the nation where the alumni of such shows are least successful, as between Popstars, Pop Idol, The X Factor, and the BBC's Fame Academy, only Will Young, Gareth Gates, Fame Academy's Lemar, Popstars' Girls Aloud, and The X Factor's G4 and Leona Lewis have gone on to achieve notable success, whereas other nations' contests, most notably American Idol, produced singers who have generally gone on to much greater success than their UK counterparts.

Immediately after the second series of Pop Idol, the same set was used to host World Idol, in which winners of various Idol series around the world, including original Pop Idol winner Will Young, American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson and Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian, competed in a one-off competition, complete with a large judging panel featuring one judge from each country (Simon Cowell officially representing American Idol, with Pete Waterman the "official" UK judge). Surprise winner was Norway's Kurt Nilsen, who proceeded to minor UK chart success. Cowell was strongly critical of World Idol, and it is highly unlikely to be staged again.

Despite running for only two series, the show's legacy is huge, having spawned Cowell's own similar series The X Factor, and the many adaptions of Pop Idol around the world , notably American Idol, again featuring Cowell as a judge.

After the second series of Pop Idol in 2003, ITV put the show on indefinite hiatus. This was because judge music executive Simon Cowell wished to produce his show (The X Factor) which he and his record label (Syco) owned the rights to. Another reason why Pop Idol was put on indefinite hiatus was because of Pop Idol's second series winner, Michelle McManus achieving little UK chart success, and ITV wanted a much more refreshed series (with more famous and experienced judges) of a similar format to take over, thus The X Factor being chosen as its replacement. The X Factor judge line-up was originally Simon Cowell, music manager Sharon Osbourne and Popstars: The Rivals judge and music manager Louis Walsh. This line-up was joined by pop singer Dannii Minogue in series 4. Osbourne departed The X Factor at the end of series 4, leaving Cowell, Walsh, Minogue and new judge Cheryl Cole (Osbourne's replacement), who is part of the successful girls group Girls Aloud, created by Popstars: The Rivals. The X Factor has gone on to be one of the most successful reality TV series in UK, with international spin-offs in countries including Spain, Australia, Denmark and Italy.

Pink indicates eliminated contestant. The winner is highlighted in green. Numbers in brackets indicate number of times in the bottom two/three.

Note: Following the completion of the series, the official Pop Idol companion book published percentages of votes for each contestant every week. In some circumstances, the book suggested that the bottom 2 or 3 contestants were not the same as announced by the show hosts. It is not known if the incorrect result was announced, or if the book merely made a typo. However, the contestant deemed to have had the lowest percentage was always eliminated on that week, meaning the overall result of the show was not changed.

On 1 October 2006, ITV's licence to produce Pop Idol in the UK ran out and its creator Simon Fuller, with co-producers FremantleMedia and 19 Television, began talking to UK broadcasters about reviving the show in a revamped format on a different channel. While Sky1 and Five initially expressed interest in buying the show, no revival has been announced.

Pop Idol was released as a video game, where the player creates his/her own singer, then they must sing their way through the auditions, theatre stages, heats, and then the finals. The game increases in difficulty as the player progresses through the competition. With each stage of the finals, one or two players with the least public vote tally are eliminated. The gameplay mainly consists of lining up a moving symbol with a fixed object in the centre of the screen and pressing the corresponding symbol on the game's controller. If the player presses it when the symbol is in the middle of the circle, their singer sings a good note. If he or she presses it when it is not in the circle, or mistimes their press, the singer sings a bad note.

The Idol format has been launched in dozens of nations worldwide, and there have been many imitations of the programme.

A World Idol international television special was held in December 2003, featuring national first series Idol contest winners competing against each other; viewers worldwide voted Norwegian Idol's Kurt Nilsen "World Idol".

The similar Popstars format preceded Pop Idol, and was succeeded in Britain by one series of Popstars: The Rivals and five series so far of The X Factor. After Popstars producers threatened legal action, a deal was struck that, among other clauses, does not allow the use of the word "pop" in the title of Pop Idol editions outside of the UK.

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Sinitta (born Sinitta Renet Malone, 19 October 1968, in Seattle, Washington) is an American actress and singer who has lived in the United Kingdom most of her career. She is famed for her hit records in the 1980s including "So Macho", "Toy Boy", "Cross My Broken Heart" and a 1989 cover of "Right Back Where We Started From", and her close relationship with Simon Cowell. She is the daughter of singer Miquel Brown and Anthony Blackett, and is also the niece of disco singer Amii Stewart. She is married to financial director and international business banker Andy Willner. The couple have two adopted children.

Sinitta began in show business by appearing in the musical The Wiz and the movie Shock Treatment in 1981, followed by starring in the West End musicals Cats, Little shop of Horrors, Masquerade and Mutiny!.

At the end of 1982, Sinitta appeared on the TV program The Tube as a dancer with Imagination. She did not sing during this appearance.

Sinitta began recording in 1983, releasing her first single, "Break Me Into Little Pieces" with dance troupe, Hot Gossip. In the same year she also appeared in the video of "Rock the Boat" sung by Forrest. She continued to release singles throughout 1984 and 1985, including participating in 1984's A Song for Europe, the UK heat of the Eurovision Song Contest, with the song "Imagination". None of these singles were successes and with all failing to chart. Everything changed though, in 1986, following a chance meeting with a then unknown junior music publisher turned A&R man, Simon Cowell.

According to his official autobiography, I Don't Mean To Be Rude But... Simon Cowell had been a post room boy at EMI Records in the late 1970s, and had left that job for a year and returned to EMI Publishing. Unsatisfied with his prospects, he quit EMI Publishing after one year and formed his own publishing company called E&S Music. By Cowell's own admission the venture was a mistake and after a rather unsuccessful trip to L.A he pulled the plug on the company. He then met up with Iain Burton who was looking to form a record label and together they formed Fanfare Records.

Sinitta was both Cowell's and Fanfare's first ever signing. Cowell had contacted record producer and song writer, George Hargreaves who in turn provided the song, "So Macho". Armed with a highly infectious pop record, Sinitta looked poised for success, however Iain Burton changed his mind and called Cowell to advise that he was pulling the plug on Fanfare Records. Convinced that "So Macho" was destined to be a hit, Cowell persuaded Burton to give him £5,000 to release the record. Which he did.

The single was released in March 1986 but stalled around the lower reaches of the UK Top 40 singles chart. Determined to make Sinitta a hit, Simon Cowell released the single a second time and a third time, where it finally broke into the Top 10, selling in excess of 900,000 copies and hitting the Number 2 position. Iain Burton's initial £5,000 investment became a profit of £1,000,000 and paved the way for Fanfare's future.

In 1987 Simon Cowell became closely associated with Pete Waterman and would spend time with Waterman at his PWL studios complex, being mentored by him and learning about the effective running of a successful music business.

Around this time Cowell was desperate for Stock Aitken Waterman (SAW) to write and produce for Sinitta. "Feels Like The First Time" Sinitta's subsequent single following "So Macho" had charted low (number 45 UK Oct 1986) and only spent 5 weeks on the chart, where as, in contrast, "So Macho" had been on the UK chart for 28 weeks in 1986, where it had peaked at number 2. Initially Waterman declined to work with Sinitta, claiming that SAW were too busy. In the end though, SAW did work with Sinitta and her first single with the Hit Factory was "Toy Boy".

In his book, Simon Cowell claims to have come up with the song idea for "Toy Boy", coining the phrase 'toy boy' which described older women dating considerably younger guys. However, this is contradicted by writer/producer Mike Stock in his book "The Hit Factory- The Stock Aitken Waterman Story" as he claims that his inspiration came from the fact that Sinitta herself at the time was dating a guy junior to her age. Whichever way the story goes, "Toy Boy" was a massive hit reaching number 4 in the UK in July 1987, staying on the charts for 14 weeks. The song was the 26th best-selling single of 1987 in the UK, selling more than some number ones from that year, including Michael Jackson & Siedah Garrett with "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" and Steve 'Silk' Hurley with "Jack Your Body".

Sinitta went on to have a further 5 hit singles with PWL including "G.T.O." (Number 15 - December 1987), "Cross My Broken Heart" (Number 6 - March 1988), "I Don't Believe In Miracles" (Number 22 - September 1988), "Right Back Where We Started From" (Number 4 - June 1989) and "Love On A Mountain Top" (Number 20 - October 1989).

Following the release of her debut album "Sinitta!" in 1987 Sinitta moved away from working directly with Stock Aitken Waterman although she continued to record at PWL under the direction of mixmasters Pete Hammond, Phil Harding and Ian Curnow. Her second album, "Wicked!" released in 1988 contained only one SAW track- "I Don't Believe In Miracles"- the others being produced by the aforementioned Hammond, Harding & Curnow in addition to Nigel Wright and German producer Ralf Rene Maue. In October 2008, during the compiling of Sinitta's forthcoming hits album, two previously unreleased SAW written and produced tracks, entitled "How Can This Be Real Love" and "Do You Wanna Find Out" were discovered in the PWL Studios vaults. As the 1990s decade opened, Sinitta chose to record in a different style, however this proved less popular with all her single releases between 1990 and 1993 failing to chart in the Top 20 of the UK chart:- "Hitchin' A Ride" (Number 24 - April 1990), "Love And Affection" (Number 62 - September 1990), "Shame Shame Shame" (Number 28 - July 1992) and "The Supremes EP" (Number 49 - April 1993). "The Supremes EP" was the last certified single released by Sinitta in the UK. Sinitta's only studio album release of this period, "Naughty Naughty" (1995), was an album of pop covers and received a limited release in Asia. She also appeared on the cast recording album for What A Feeling which was a live recording taken from the Apollo Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh in May 1997.

Sinitta had replaced Irene Cara to tour with Sonia Evans (also a former SAW artist) and Luke Goss (former Bros) in the rock and pop musical's concert, What A Feeling in 1997.

Also in 1997 Sinitta's vocals were used for the single, "You Can Do Magic" by the fictitious group The Mojams. The single produced by her former hitmakers, Mike Stock & Matt Aitken was created for the ITV TV investigation programme, The Cook Report with journalist Roger Cook in an endeavour to expose underhanded business practices in the music industry, known as 'hyping' where record labels buy their own music into the charts. Debbie Currie, daughter of the controversial former British Government health minister, Edwina Currie was used as the face for the singer and single. Sinitta was not credited on the single.

With her music career in decline, Sinitta returned to the stage. However, in 2004 she re-invented herself as a TV personality, having briefly appeared in the 2003 documentary about Simon Cowell, Being Simon Cowell. She then appeared as a stylist and mentor support on the debut series of The X Factor and has been associated with ratings winning show ever since.

In 2006, almost 11 years following her last album release and despite not having had a Top 20 UK single since 1989, Sinitta was approached by British song writer and music producer, Carl M Cox with a view to re-launching and re-establishing her pop music career. She accepted the request and began working with PMG (Prolific Media Group) Productions in 2007. She's recorded several tracks with PMG including "Toy Boy (Reloaded)" and a brand new song entitled, "The Day You Said Goodbye". The latter of the two being specially remixed by Sinitta's former producer/mixer, Pete Hammond.

As a result of the renewed interest in her music, in early 2008 Sinitta began working with other producers and writers, including her aunt Amii Stewart and Nate & Sangoon on new material for a future studio album, her first since 1995. Sinitta's first UK hits compilation featuring her official singles from 1986 onwards is also planned. A hits album featuring re-recorded versions of her popular recordings was released in 1999 and again under the name "Toy Boy" in 2007, however this particular release was never endorsed by Sinitta.

In June 2008, the inclusion of a circa 97/98 Almighty Records remix of Sinitta's swan song hit, "So Macho" on their compilation album "NRG Anthems" (Cat No. ALMY062) caused minor controversy given that the majority of Almighty Records fans are gay and that the now Rev George Hargreaves leader of the Christian Party (UK) and co-writer and producer of "So Macho" and several of Sinitta's earlier music recordings, such as "Cruising", "I Won't Be Lonely This Christmas" and "Feels Like The First Time" has openly expressed his anti-gay views. Certain gay fans objected to the support of "So Macho" as the royalties generated had by his own admission made Hargreaves a millionaire and that he was now using his money to tout anti-gay rhetoric and political policies.

Sinitta acted in the 1986 film Foreign Body, and later appeared in Heaven's A Drag/To Die For (1994) and There's Only One Madonna (2001).

In May 2005 Sinitta performed on Hit Me Baby One More Time on ITV1.

In 2006 Sinitta competed on Sky TV's Cirque de Celebrité and returned for the third series of The X Factor, as part of Simon Cowell's mentoring team.

In spring 2007, Sinitta teamed, as a judge, with theatre veteran David Ian, producer and media pundit, David Gest and choreographer Brian Friedman on ITV's musical talent search series, Grease Is The Word. Co-produced by Simon Cowell's Syco TV - the same people behind The X Factor and ...Got Talent - the show sought to cast Sandy Dumbrowski and Danny Zuko for a new West End production of Grease.

Sinitta has also had a cameo appearance on popular day time soap, Neighbours, appeared as a panellist on Never Mind The Buzzcocks and was even parodied on the comedy show, Star Stories.

In March 2008 Sinitta appeared on Celebrity Wife Swap, swapping partners with ex-Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones.

On 10 April 2008, it was announced that Sinitta had joined a long list of panellists on ITV1 daytime television show, Loose Women.

Sinitta is married to Andy Willner. She is a former girlfriend and fiancee of Simon Cowell. She also had a two-year relationship with Hollywood actor Brad Pitt during the late 1980s.

In November 2005, Sinitta announced that a woman named Kerry West was to be a surrogate mother for her baby with her husband. She made the announcement on the British programme This Morning. At eight weeks into the surrogacy, however, West suffered a miscarriage. She had been carrying twins. In 2008 Sinitta and Willner adopted two children.

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Source : Wikipedia