52nd Post: American Idol – 40 Singers

American Idol is an American singing competition television series created by Simon Fuller, produced by Fremantle North America and 19 Entertainment, and distributed by Fremantle North America. It initially aired on Fox from June 11, 2002, to April 7, 2016, for 15 seasons. It was on hiatus for two years until March 11, 2018, when a revival of the series began airing on ABC.

It started as an addition to the Idols format that was based on Pop Idol from British television, and became one of the most successful shows in the history of American television. The concept of the series involves discovering recording stars from unsigned singing talents, with the winner determined by American viewers using phones, Internet, and SMS text voting.

We Ani (McDonald)
Photo credit: TV Shows Ace

In 2023, I thought the final three (Megan Danielle, Colin Stough and Iam Tongi) were popularity favorites rather than having the best vocals. Tongi ended up winning. I thought We Ani had by far the best voice. The Jersey “Idol” contestant is no stranger to national TV, having competed on “The Voice” in 2016, making it all the way to second runner-up. At the time, she competed as Wé McDonald. Both “Idol” and “The Voice” have highlighted the sizable difference between Ani’s high-pitched speaking voice and deeper singing voice. An example of hers is a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” (https://youtu.be/zbD2NRR5XL4).

The winners of the first nineteen seasons, as chosen by viewers, are:

Kelly Clarkson
Photo Credit: Today (20th Anniversary)

Kelly Clarkson (2002) “Greatest Hits” (https://youtu.be/sB1YL6qzD5c) (RQ 10). Most successful with 15 Grammy nominations and 25M records sold.

Ruben Studdard
Photo Credit: Pop Sugar

Ruben Studdard (2003) “Sorry” (https://youtu.be/fRuzeZKYN-I) (RC 10). Clay Aiken was second but more successful including one platinum album.

Fantasia Barrino
Photo Credit: The Boston Globe

Fantasia Barrino (2004) “Greatest Hits” (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLC5BFB0A96759A167). She also has been successful with three Grammy nominations. Also, Jennifer Hudson has won two Grammys but was eliminated from the competition.

Carrie Underwood
Photo Credit: SHEfinds

Carrie Underwood (2005) “Best of” (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8Azn9c5KxlZR7mU0aY4NZI-j1iQQshtd). She is second to Kelly with 7 Grammy nominations and 9 CMAs. She also has sold 23M records.

Taylor Hicks
Photo Credit: The University of Alabama

Taylor Hicks (2006) “Idol Performance Compilation” (https://youtu.be/8gKLrXZNQu0)

Jordin Sparks
Photo Credit: InStyle

Jordin Sparks (2007) “Greatest Hits” (https://youtu.be/g8lFXzcZJ7Y).

David Cook
Photo Credit: MediaMass

David Cook (2008) “Best Love Songs” (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLPbtdpukiW_FrI8ARSwXShjG2k70X7Qk)

Kris Allen
Photo Credit: SecondHandSongs

Kris Allen (2009) “Nonstop Songs” (https://youtu.be/MTnE6YvDOHs)

Scotty McCreery
Photo Credit: Billboard

Scotty McCreery (2011) “Hits Collection” (https://youtu.be/lUVigaiu768).

Lee DeWyze
Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Lee DeWyze (2010) “Winning Song” (https://youtu.be/E-BHypuw_2w).

Phillip Phillips
Photo Credit: Brittanica Kids

Phillip Phillips (2012) “Greatest Hits” (https://youtu.be/9wSZ5OhEZRo).

Candice Glover
Photo Credit: Discogs

Candice Glover (2013) “Greatest Hits” (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLKo3PnTgZu1NLce6shTa7d8tQpCss8Q5D).

Caleb Johnson
Photo Credit: Famous Birthdays

Caleb Johnson (2014) “Fighting Gravity” (https://youtu.be/kxDyjZ1aFEI).

Nick Fradiani
Photo Credit: A Taste of Country

Nick Fradiani (2015) “Mix Playlist” (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=RDEMH1WHLu4yDaLwgZ_ed6bw3w&playnext=1).

Trent Harmon
Photo Credit: Famous People Today

Trent Harmon (2016) “Mix Playlist” (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=RDEMqrw7Koe2yaNEin3w1FeT5Q&playnext=1).

Maddie Poppe
Photo Credit: Just Jared Jr.

Maddie Poppe (2018) “Greatest Hits” (https://youtu.be/w8BZ3eD0Z8U).

Laine Hardy
Photo Credit: The Advocate

Laine Hardy (2019) “Full Idol Performances and Judges Comments” (https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvmgxIqmMRxshZtcSqYSE5vesN9u9ACoE).

Just Sam (Samantha Diaz)
Photo Credit: TV Insider

Just Sam (Samantha Diaz) (2020) “All Idol Performances” (https://youtu.be/ef1Gh4SVga8).

Chayce Beckham
Photo Credit: Hollywood Life

Chayce Beckham (2021) “Official Video Summary” (https://youtu.be/hwRSxthuP-I).

Noah Thompson
Photo Credit: MEAWW

Noah Thompson (2022) “Talent Recap” (https://youtu.be/O2EG26X2EdQ).

American Idol employs a panel of vocal judges who critique the contestants’ performances. The original judges, for the first through eighth seasons, were record producer and music manager Randy Jackson, singer and choreographer Paula Abdul, and music executive and manager Simon Cowell. The judging panel for the last three seasons on Fox consisted of singers Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr. The sixteenth season brought three new judges: singers Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan. The first season was hosted by radio personality Ryan Seacrest and comedian Brian Dunkleman, but Seacrest has been the sole master of ceremonies since the second season.

The success of American Idol has been described as “unparalleled in broadcasting history”. A rival TV executive said the series was “the most impactful show in the history of television”. It became a recognized springboard for launching the career of many artists as bona fide stars. According to Billboard magazine, in its first ten years, “Idol has spawned 345 Billboard chart-toppers and a platoon of pop idols, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert, Gabby Barrett and Jordin Sparks while remaining a TV ratings juggernaut.”

For an unprecedented eight consecutive years, from the 2003–04 television season through the 2010–11 season, either its performance show or result show was ranked number one in U.S. television ratings.

2022: Singers given tickets to Hollywood that look like possible winners:

Betty Maxwell
“A Moment Like This”
Betty was Miss America in 2016
She also does impersonations well…
hopes for a Disney career
Photo Credit: neaww.com
Mike Parker
“Strawberry Wine”
Audition: https://youtu.be/dQKzNH3utus
Photo Credit: countrynow.com
Leah Marlene
Audition: https://youtu.be/UViB0lEj-dE
Very cool “quirky” style
Photo Credit: showbizcorner.com
Christian Guardino
Full Audition: https://youtu.be/3YFjKx7XVa0
Christian tried out in 2017
Photo Credit: mobile.twitter.com
Kenedi Anderson
Lady Gaga cover: https://youtu.be/7h28guGJ82I
Given a Platinum ticket (one free advancement)
Photo Credit: goadnews.com

2021: Chayce Beckham WINS!!

Chayce Beckham (24)
“Everything I Do (I Do It for You)”
“You Should Probably Leave”
“Baby Mine”
“Mamma” an original
“23” an original
Status: The Winner!
Willie Spence (21)
“Stand Up” https://youtu.be/0X67riLY0k4
“I Will Was Here”
“Circle of Life”
“Never Be Alone”
“Stand Up”
Status: Made Top Three
Grace Kinstler (20)
“Into the Unknown”
“When We Were Young”
“A Moment Like This”
Duet with Alessia Cara “Scars to Your Beautiful”
Status: Made Top Three
Casey Bishop (16)
“Over the Rainbow”
“She Talks to Angels”
“When She Loved Me”
“Live Wire”
Duet with Luke Bryan “Living on a Prayer”
Status: Made Top Four
Caleb Kennedy (16)
“On the Road Again”
“Real Gone”
“Mamma Said” an original
Status: Made Top Five
Backed Out of Competition

Hunter Metts (22)
“Falling Slowly”
“You’ll Be in My Heart”
“The River”
Duet with Katy Perry “Thinking of You”
Status: Made Top Seven, then eliminated
Arthur Gunn
“Remember Me”
“Simple Man”
Special guest appearance “Am I Still Mine?”
Status: Brought back to make 10 finalists,
Made Top Seven, then eliminated.
Deshawn Goncalves (20)
“The Way We Were”
“Over the Rainbow”
“When You Wish Upon a Star”
Special guest appearance, medley with Chaka Kahn:
Status: Top 9 – Eliminated
Alyssa Wray (18)
“This Is Me”
“I’m Here”
“A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes”
Special guest appearance, duet with Mickey Guyton:
“Black Like Me”
Status: Top 9 – Eliminated
Cassandra Coleman (24)
“Writing on the Wall”
“Running with Wolves”
“Go the Distance”
Special guest appearance,
duet with Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac)
“Go Your Own Way”
Status: Top 9 – Eliminated
Beane (23)
“The Time of My Life”
“What’s Goin On”
Status: Top 12 (Saved), Eliminated
Madison Watkins (25)
“Run to You” https://youtu.be/TmkzIKrBIe8
“Its a Man’s World” https://youtu.be/feQaoaqGmKM
Status: Top 12 (Saved), Eliminated
Ava August (15)
“City of Stars”
“Ghost of You”
Status: Top 12, eliminated
Alanis Sophie (19)
Status: Top 16 – Eliminated
Wyatt Pike (19)
“Blame It on Me” https://youtu.be/2UucrGoKJpE
Status: Out of Competition (Health Issues)
Colin Jamieson (22)
“Sugar We’re Goin Down”
Status: Top 16 – Eliminated
Graham DeFranco (27)
“Beautiful War”
Status: Top 16 – Eliminated
Mary Jo Young (19)
“Us” https://youtu.be/NIDr2SDDYA8
Status: Eliminated from Top 24
Anilee List (20)
“Blue” https://youtu.be/gd8fYsnYJGc
Status: Eliminated from Top 24
Liahona Olayan (16)
“Me Too” https://youtu.be/ukpEPHmI2B0
Status: Eliminated from Top 24
Jason Warrior (25)
Status: Eliminated from Top 24
Alana Sherman (22)
“Blow Your Mind”
Status: Eliminated from Top 24
Hanna Everhart (17)
“Wrecking Ball”
Status: Eliminated from Top 24
Andrea Valles (23)
“Blinding Lights” https://youtu.be/w2YnuV2DNS0
Status: Eliminated from Top 24
Cecil Ray (20)
Status: Eliminated from Top 24


Laila Mach (15)
“If I Ain’t Got You”
Status: Failed to make Top 24