American Idol: 15 Facts You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

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American Idol took the U.S. by storm when the reality competition show premiered in 2002 to rave reviews. Over the course of the show’s 13-year run, it has produced several successful artists, including season one winner Kelly Clarkson and season three winner Carrie Underwood, and raked in millions of viewers each and every week. Looking to go out on top, it was announced that the show’s 15th season would be its last. Read on to find out more about the show that has been consistently ranked number one season after season, and watch for part two of our list, coming soon.

Number Fifteen: The Show is Based on a British Show. It’s not rare for a show to be based on a show from another country and American Idol is no exception. The short-lived British series Pop Idol was the inspiration for the show. The two shows are practically the same, as Simon Fuller and Simon Cowell, who created Pop Idol, were behind pitching the show to the United States.

Number Fourteen: The First Season Had Two Hosts. Way back in 2002, Ryan Seacrest had a sidekick to host the show with. Brian Dunkleman only lasted one season on the show, after which he quit. Dunkleman turned up on Celebrity Fit Club: Boot Camp in 2008, and currently performs stand-up on a regular basis, as well as host Family Feud Live in Las Vegas.

Number Thirteen: The Show Experimented with Having Four Judges Early On. Seasons one and two of American Idol were each supposed to have four judges. On season one, the fourth judge was supposed to be radio DJ Stryker, but he pulled out at the last minute, citing that he didn’t want to hurt his image. On season two, radio DJ Angie Martinez was supposed to be the fourth judge but pulled out after part of the audition round because she disliked critiquing the contestants. The show wouldn’t try having a fourth judge again until season eight.

Number Twelve: Not All Contestant Sing in Front of the Judges. In reality, only a few hundred contestants even get inside the audition venue. There are two pre-auditions that weed out most of the people who can’t sing or don’t have a good back story.

Number Eleven: There is a Gender Bias. For the first six seasons of American Idol, the list of winners was pretty evenly mixed. However, after season seven, a trend started to emerge. Over the course of five seasons, all the winners were good-looking white males, many of which played guitar on the show. At that point, American Idol seemed more like a popularity contest than an honest search for the next singing sensation. The streak may have ended when Candice Glover won season 12, but the trend doesn’t seem to have gone away entirely either. White males with guitars won seasons 13 and 14.

Number Ten: The Show Has a Very Strict Contract. Contestants who were offered a contract from the show weren’t necessarily getting the best deal. There is a lot of controversy over how much control the artist actually has over their own music, career and likeness.

Number Nine: It Doesn’t Always Pay to Win. Often, the second, third and fourth runners-up on American Idol have done better than the crowned winner. This was true for Chris Daughtry (fourth place in season five), Katharine McPhee (second place in season five), Clay Aiken (second place in season two), Adam Lambert (second place on season eight) and Jennifer Hudson (seventh place in season three). Keep an eye out for part two of our 15 interesting facts about American Idol, coming soon.

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