ABOUT SEASONS / Season 8

American Idol Season 8

SEASON 8 - 2009

The eighth season of American Idol premiered on January 13, 2009, and concluded on May 20, 2009. Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson continued to judge the show's contestants, along with Ryan Seacrest as host. The season introduced Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge on the Idol panel. It was also Abdul's final season as a judge. Kris Allen, a native of Conway, Arkansas, was announced the winner of the competition on May 20, 2009, defeating runner-up Adam Lambert after nearly 100 million votes. Kris Allen is the only married winner of the competition at the time of his victory. This was the second season where both of the final 2 contestants had been in the bottom 3 or 2 at least once before the finale.

The eighth season saw numerous changes to the format of the show. There were 36 semi-finalists instead of 24, and thirteen finalists instead of twelve, nine contestants chosen by the public and four by the judges in a wild card round. Another addition was the "save" which was used on the top seven results show to veto Matt Giraud's elimination.

The winner Kris Allen was then signed to 19 Entertainment/Jive Records. In addition to Allen, Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds and Michael Sarver all signed record deals. Anoop Desai signed an independent record deal.

Auditions

Auditions began July 17 the previous year, and were held in eight cities.

Contestants were required to be between the ages 16 and 28 on July 15, 2008 and eligible to work in the United States. Contestants were ineligible if they had previously reached the semifinal in Season 1-3 and 7, or the top 44 from season 4 and 5, or top 40 from season 6. They were also ineligible if they held then current recording or management contracts or if they were not U.S. citizens or landed immigrants.

Hollywood Round

For this season, the Hollywood round moved from the Orpheum Theatre to the Kodak Theatre, which was previously used for the finale in seasons 1 and 3–6. In addition, the Hollywood round was extended to two weeks. In the first round, the 147 contestants each sang a short solo a cappella performance of any song. The next round had the remaining 107 contestants performing in groups of three or four. Group rounds had returned since season 6. The 72 contestants that passed group day performed one more solo song, this time accompanied by a band, before being narrowed down to 54. The final 54 then went to the "judges' mansion" in Los Angeles for the final results and the Top 36 were announced. Some contestants had a sing-off to determine who would enter the top 36.

Semi-Finals

The 36 contestants performed in three groups of twelve and sang songs that were Billboard Hot 100 Hits. In each group, three people advanced to the next round, based on votes by the viewers. The top male and female recipient advanced, along with the next highest vote recipient of the remaining ten contestants in each group. Each week two males advanced however it was never revealed who was the highest voted and which advanced through the non-gender specific slot. Following those nine singers advancing, eight of the remaining 27 semi-finalists were selected by the judges to compete in the Wild Card round. Following another performance by each Wild Card contender, the judges selected four contestants to advance to the final group of 13.

Finals

The Top 13 Finals was re-aired on June 29, 2009, in a tribute to the death of Michael Jackson on June 25. This makes it the only episode of the show to be re-aired by Fox.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org