Reality singing competition American Idol premiered on Fox in 2002 and quickly became one of the most-watched shows in America. After a two-year break from airing, the show returned on ABC in March 2018.
The American Idol format was based on the United Kingdom show Pop Idol, where judges travel throughout the country in search of talented singers. On American Idol, contestants are narrowed down from nationwide auditions to compete against each other on a studio set in Hollywood. The winner is chosen by viewers and awarded $250,000 and a recording contract with Hollywood Records/19 Recordings.
The original panel of judges included Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, who appeared on season 1 through 8. Since the show’s revival in 2018, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie have served as judges, with guest judges occasionally introduced.
American Idol launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson — the first-ever Idol champion — Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken, Adam Lambert, Jordin Sparks and more.