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American Idol is an annual American televised singing competition, which began its first season on June 11, 2002. Part of the Idol franchise, it originated from the British reality program Pop Idol, which was created by British entertainment executive Simon Fuller.
The program seeks to discover the best young singer in the country, through a series of nationwide auditions. The outcomes of the latter stages of this competition are determined by public voting by phone. The format features three judges who critique the contestants' performances in order to facilitate the voting: record producer and bass player Randy Jackson; former pop star Paula Abdul; and music executive Simon Cowell. The show is hosted by former children's game show emcee and television personality Ryan Seacrest; comedian Brian Dunkleman cohosted with Seacrest in season one.
The show usually airs on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. In its six seasons, its six winners have been, in order of their season, Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, and Jordin Sparks. The first five American Idols are from the Southern United States of America (U.S) and the sixth, Jordin Sparks, is from the Southwest. Hicks was the oldest winner at 29, Sparks the youngest at just 17.
American Idol is televised on Fox in the United States and on Q11 for the 7th season, in Philippines, and CTV in Canada. The Idol series was first created by Simon Fuller (manager of the Spice Girls and S Club 7) and developed by Simon Jones of FremantleMedia. The director is Bruce Gowers (director of Queen's original "Bohemian Rhapsody" video) and executive producers are Nigel Lythgoe (a judge on So You Think You Can Dance) and Ken Warwick (Gladiators and Grudge Match). With the exception of the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, American Idol is the highest rated (viewed) program on U.S. national television.
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