Twelve American finalists (six men and six women) compete in a singing contest.


Simon Fuller
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Won 8 Primetime Emmys. Another 46 wins & 156 nominations. See more awards »





Series cast summary:
Ryan Seacrest ...  Self - Host / ... 587 episodes, 2002-2021
Mark Thompson ...  Announcer / ... 493 episodes, 2002-2015
Randy Jackson ...  Self - Judge / ... 474 episodes, 2002-2016
Simon Cowell ...  Self - Judge / ... 358 episodes, 2002-2016
Paula Abdul ...  Self - Judge / ... 319 episodes, 2002-2021


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 (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Dare to Dream. See more »


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Kelly Clarkson holds the record for the most albums sold by an American Idol alumni with nearly 10 million records. Also, her songs have been downloaded nearly 10 million times. Carrie Underwood is second with album and digital download sales of 15.7 million. See more »


Simon Cowell - Judge: [Repeated line] And I'm not being rude.
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Crazy Credits

Portions of this program not affecting the outcome have been edited. See more »


Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #19.116 (2011) See more »

User Reviews

I enjoy it, for the most part.
24 February 2005 | by TLGeerSee all my reviews

This is the first year (2005)that I've watched American Idol. I surprised myself and enjoyed it. It provides a look into the process and reasons for signing a person to a contract. The only thing that I don't like is the final weeks and how they let people know who has not made the cut. I find it cruel and unnecessary. I also find that Simon Crowell's comments are pretty accurate about the contestants. I used to watch Star Search, with Ed McMahon, and thought that was great, but this is much more interesting. I would like to see the handling of cutting contestants changed. I don't find this to be a popularity contest at all. I also think that if these people cannot take the criticism that is handed to them they should not be in the entertainment business.

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Release Date:

11 June 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

American Idol See more »

Filming Locations:

Asheville, North Carolina, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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