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American Idol

As one of the top rated shows on television, Fox’s American Idol has set the standard of success for reality TV programming.  In just three seasons, American Idol has become one of the biggest phenomena in this country.  Originally a British reality TV show known as Pop Idol, once the show’s premise was taken to America, it became a certified worldwide hit, as seen by the number of American Idol type shows that have spread throughout the world: including Canadian Idol and Australian Idol.

When American Idol first hit the airwaves in the summer of 2002, it immediately was a news sensation.  While many reality TV shows have intricate premises, American Idol was incredibly straightforward: singers throughout the country must compete against each other to impress judges before they are able to move on.  Eventually, all but one of the contestants is eliminated and the remaining contestant is then crowned American Idol.  The winner is awarded a music recording contract with a major recording label and have the opportunity to take advantage of the fame awarded by being crowned American Idol and making a name for themselves in the music world.

One of the biggest appeals of American Idol is how the judges react to the contestants.  Featuring successful music producer, Randy Jackson, a man who underwent a massive weight loss regiment when confronted by the celebrity of being an American Idol judge, and also 1980s pop icon, Paula Abdul, best known as the singer of Opposites Attract, a duet with the cartoon MC Kat, American Idol has two judges that have a large amount of music savvy.  However, it is the third judge and creator of the show, Simon Cowell that brought all of the initial attention to American Idol.  A veteran of the music industry, Simon Cowell brought his trademark British sarcasm to American television.  Viewers enjoyed the way that Simon made many contestants cry when he went on tangents of brutal honesty.

Although, the judges are able to root out contestants in the early stages of the contest, eventually America is able to choose which contestants that they want to send home.  This democratic approach to who is going to be America’s next big pop singer is a major reason why American Idol has such a big fan base.  As the show has progressed over the last couple of years, guest judges have come on to lend their support.  Such judges included last year’s puzzling appearance of Kill Bill director, Quentin Tarantino, who is apparently a big fan of the show.

American Idol has successfully launched the careers of many aspiring musicians.  First year American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, has seen the most success and her debut album was a huge hit.  However, American Idol has also been instrumental in launching the careers of Ruben Studdard, the winner of the second edition of American Idol; Justin Guarini, first American Idol runner-up and owner of one of the best white man afros ever; Tamyra Gray, former American Idol contestant; Clay Aiken, second American Idol runner-up; William Hung, renowned for being one of the worst ever singers on American Idol; and Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol and now host of his own talk show.