Searching for Superstars
by Beth Rowen
Millions of loyal fans, billions perhaps, tune in to American Idol every week. Since its debut in 2002, American Idol has created a new crop of pop stars, from Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood. Kelly Clarkson's sophomore album Breakaway was certified six times platinum by the RIAA. Country singer Underwood proved her star power at the 2006 Grammy Awards, when she took home trophies for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal Performance. Country singer Underwood proved her star power at the 2006 Grammy Awards, when she took home trophies for Best New Artist and Best Female Vocal Performance. Her success continued at the 2007 Grammy Awards, where she won Best Female Country Vocal. In addition, Jennifer Hudson met stunning success as she crossed over into acting. She earned an Oscar for her performance in Dreamgirls (2006). Hudson returned to music in 2008 with her self-titled debut album, Jennifer Hudson, which sold more than 500,000 copies within five weeks of its release. Season 10 winner Scotty McCreary continued his success with a Best New Artist nod at the Inaugural Taste of Country Awards.
American Idol often ranks as the most-watched show on television, and for the 2010–2011 season, the country's biggest coming-out party once again took the top two spots for broadcast primetime average viewership (the Wednesday timeslot was first; Thursday's second). In addition, American Idol just might take home its 6th People's Choice Award for Favorite Competition Show during the 37th People's Choice Awards on Jan. 11, 2012.
Season eleven, premiering Jan. 18 and 19, 2012, will witness the return of veteran judges to the table. Again joining Randy Jackson will be actress, singer, and producer Jennifer Lopez along with Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith.
Who will be America's 11th idol? Past winners went from bartending, waitressing, and working in a paint store to singing in front of millions and achieving their greatest dream. America's modern, televised version of the Cinderella story will have many of us watching and voting for our next star.
American Idol Quiz:
Who are the American Idol judges?
Career Success and Awards for American Idol Contestants
- Ryan Seacrest, host
- Kara DioGuardi, judge
- Simon Cowell, judge
- Randy Jackson, judge
- Paula Abdul, judge
- Kelly Clarkson, winner, season 1
- Ruben Studdard, winner, season 2
- Clay Aiken, runner-up, season 2
- Fantasia, winner, season 3
- Jennifer Hudson, finalist, season 3
- William Hung, lovable loser, season 3
- Carrie Underwood, winner, season 4
- Mario Vazquez, dropout, season 4
- Taylor Hicks, winner, season 5
- Katharine McPhee, runner-up, season 5
- Jordin Sparks, winner, season 6
- Blake Lewis, runner-up, season 6
- David Cook, winner, season 7
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