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American Idol (2002– )
"American Idol: The Search for a Superstar" (original title)

TV Series  |  TV-PG  |   |  Game-Show, Music, Reality-TV

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Twelve finalists and/or future singers (six men and six women) who were selected from America, compete in a talent contest in which they were asked to sing any song they like on this "Star ... See full summary »


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Won 8 Primetime Emmys. Another 40 wins & 124 nominations. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
Mark Thompson ...
 Announcer (492 episodes, 2002-2015)
 Himself - Host (471 episodes, 2002-2015)
 Himself - Judge / ... (433 episodes, 2002-2015)
 Himself - Judge / ... (317 episodes, 2002-2010)
 Herself - Judge / ... (277 episodes, 2002-2015)


Twelve finalists and/or future singers (six men and six women) who were selected from America, compete in a talent contest in which they were asked to sing any song they like on this "Star Search" clone. After each song that was sung, the judges, Abdul, Jackson and Cowell, then critique that finalist's chosen song. After each show's ending, America must vote for a finalist to whom they really think their performance is good using this AT&T (now Cingular Wireless) or any other cellular phone to cast votes with. Once the votes are locked in, the judges and America decides who has the most and the least amount of votes, and the contestant with the least amount of votes is eliminated, and it goes on each week's show until the winner is crowned as "American Idol," where he/she wins a recording contract worth up to $1,000,000. The rest of the other finalists to whom they have been voted off before (the runner-up) also get recording contracts, too. Written by Gary Richard Collins II (gcollinsii@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Everyone dreams. Idol delivers. See more »


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 June 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Idol  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Two brothers from Denver named Jimmy and Scott Osterman were among the hopefuls at the "American Idol 2" tryouts in Austin, Texas. Their audition, which included a cringe-making version of Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract", had judge Simon Cowell about to deliver a scathing putdown when the pair revealed themselves to be Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly in disguise and that Cowell was the victim of a practical joke for their show Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway (2002). McPartlin and Donnelly are also the hosts of Pop Idol (2001) the original British show from which "American Idol" is adapted, and for which Cowell also serves as a judge. See more »


[on announcing the results]
Ryan Seacrest: Dim the lights... and here we go.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Production will have in place weekly monitoring procedures designed to prevent individuals from unfairly influencing the outcome of the voting by generating significant blocks of votes using technical enhancements. The producers reserve the right to remove any identified "power dialing" votes. See more »


Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #7.24 (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Optimistic to the Point of Foolishness
1 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There comes a time in every reasonable man's life when he must sit down in his living room and watch an episode of American Idol. Truth is I'm not a reasonable man. Or even a reasonable woman, now that I think about it. I have, however, watched an episode of American Idol and will go so far as to say that I have religiously watched three seasons of it. First season was great. Second season was good. During third season, I got wiser and realized that the show wasn't as good anymore, but still I watched. It had lost its magic, its X-Factor, you could say. During fourth season, I watched four or five episodes. By then, I had rediscovered sitcom television. Now comes fifth season, and the inevitable disappointment that lurks around the show reappears again. Yet, people still watch the show because they are too brainwashed not to.

Then again, what else is there to watch on Tuesdays? Or Wednesdays. Or Thursdays. Or any other night of the week, for that matter. I mean, why watch anything else when I can watch the new season or reruns of past performances made readily available via my Handy-Dandy DVD player? (Yes, we bought the Best of Season One. So sue me.) I must say that American Idol has become predictable. A "dude, man, dawg" from Randy Jackson. An "I just want to eat you up and make all our viewers sick to their stomachs with my infinite well of gaga comments" from Paula Abdul. And "Enter sarcastic, British remark here" from Simon Cowell. Cue Ryan Seacrest's idiotic retort and make-the-girls-swoon smile. The contestants are the same: air-headed bimbos, wannabe rockers, real rockers, melt-the-camera-with-a-stare heartthrobs, belters, and the like. For goodness sake, give us something good to watch again! Every now and then we get fantastic singers like Kelly Clarkson, Tamira Grey, and Clay Aiken. The rest are a little more or less than mediocre. Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I heard Ruben, Fantasia, or Diana on the radio. Don't even mention Justin Guarini. What a waste of his perfectly good talent. The only thing Idol can do for you is give you a year, if that, of fame, then send you on back home to the karaoke bars in Oneida, Tennessee. Tough break, kids.

It is just unfair to see what they do to these contestants. They get the same amount of men as they do women to avoid any legal problems about gender bias. Completely bogus! Sometimes, there are better men than some of the women on that show (and vice versa), so why should they be cut just so the Idol producers won't be accused of discrimination on the cover of tabloids. The real crime is letting a bunch of less-than-worthy singers get on just to balance things out. And then some of the singers get scolded for song choices. Oh, no, Heaven forbid someone does a Mariah or a Whitney! No, no! Those are untouchable. I just have my fingers crossed that one contestant will finally lash out at Randy, saying, "Well, Mr. Jackson, you give me a list of songs I'm not supposed to do, and I'll make sure I sing them all just for you." Even if they are really good, nothing is as good as the original, so just give up.

The producers of Idol need to take a step back from the show they've created and look at what it has become: a rigged popularity contest. The only thing Idol is good for is delaying House episodes for weeks at a time. What a waste of an Emmy and Golden Globe winning show. Producers, you need some variety in this show. Just keep your fingers crossed that you choose the correct Idol this time, as you seem to think that America is too intellectually inept to do so themselves. Greenlighting this overstayed-it's-welcomed show for another season and thinking that the same people are still going to love it would be optimistic to the point of foolishness. But then again, what do I know? I'm just a kid with a television and a telephone.

65 of 94 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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