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American Idol 

American Idol: The Search for a Superstar (original title)
0:30 | Trailer


Airs Sun. May. 19, 8:00 PM on ABC

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


Simon Fuller
1,119 ( 170)


Next Episode

Tonight at 8:00 PM on ABC

The winner is announced; special performances from music legends, among other surprises.

Most Recent Episode

Sunday, May 12

Each contestant performs three songs, including a pick from mentor Bobby Bones, a song dedicated to their heroes in honor of Mother's Day and a selection from Elton John's catalog.

Previous Episode

Sunday, May 5



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Won 8 Primetime Emmys. Another 46 wins & 145 nominations. See more awards »



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Series cast summary:
Ryan Seacrest ...  Himself - Host / ... 557 episodes, 2002-2019
Mark Thompson ...  Announcer / ... 493 episodes, 2002-2015
Randy Jackson ...  Himself - Judge / ... 474 episodes, 2002-2016
Simon Cowell ...  Himself - Judge / ... 358 episodes, 2002-2016
Paula Abdul ...  Herself - Judge / ... 318 episodes, 2002-2016


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


Who's Next? See more »


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

ABC [United States]





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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Constantine Maroulis, lead singer for the hard rock band Pray For The Soul Of Betty, auditioned for Season 4 in Washington, D.C. without telling his bandmates. When he qualified for the Hollywood rounds, Ryan Seacrest took the show's cameras to a Betty practice session to break the news to the band. Though Maroulis' bandmates were generally supportive of him, drummer Hamboussi expressed visible disdain towards the show and finally left the practice room in a huff. See more »


If a contestant has a bad audition the judges shouldn't advise the contestant not to enter the music industry. It's not their business. 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 The Apprentice: I'm Going to Mop the Floor with You (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Greatest (and most addicting) TV Talent Show Ever!
4 May 2004 | by FentonMeiksSee all my reviews

I have been watching American Idol religiously since the end of Season 1. I really got into the show when Season 2 started, and in the midst of Season 3 I am still hooked. I love the show because amidst all the William Hungs and other bad singers, there are some great singers out there. And every year there seems to be a few awesome ones. Last year : Clay, Ruben, Kimberly L, and Kimberly C. This season we have Fantasia, Jennifer, George, and LaToya. Every season there is one contestant for everyone to love - they are usually all so varied (although this season there are not many male singers). The show has the power to produce big superstars (Kelly and Clay) and whether they last, they're hot right now! I love Simon Cowell - he really is honest and doesn't hold anything back. Someone has to tell these crappy people that they are crappy - and Simon's the guy to do it. American Idol is my favorite show on TV right now, which reminds me - I have to go set my VCR for tonight's show!

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