Welcome back! AMERICAN IDOL, TV's No. 1 hit series, returns for its highly anticipated 11th season. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the series offers contestants a chance to become America's next singing superstar, and empowers viewers to share their voices by voting for their favorite performer. Whose dream will come true next? Who will America choose as its next superstar?
Over the course of 11 seasons, nearly one million hopefuls from across the nation have auditioned for their shot at stardom. Once again, the show's host, Ryan Seacrest, and judges – Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler – have traveled across the country in search of the next AMERICAN IDOL. Now, they will narrow down the competitors to a select group of semifinalists who will sing their hearts out each week in front of a studio audience and television viewers.
Each week, the finalists will work with an in-house coach to prepare for their performances. Although the judges have their say after every performance, it's the viewing public that determines who will advance to the next round of competition and who will go home. Telephone, text message and online voting begin immediately after each performance show, and the results are announced during the following night's broadcast.
Eventually the competition is whittled down to two finalists who compete for a major recording contract with 19 Recordings and the AMERICAN IDOL title. Past winners Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze as well as fan-favorites Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, have all become household names and made their marks on the recording industry. To date, IDOL alums have produced 314 No. 1 Billboard hits and garnered nearly 250 million iTunes downloads. Scotty McCreery, last year's winner, recently released his debut album "Clear As Day," which is dominating the Billboard Country Albums chart and already has gone gold, selling nearly 800,000 copies. In October, AMERICAN IDOL was inducted into Broadcasting & Cable's prestigious 2011 "Hall of Fame."