Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Based on the British series Idol, this twice-weekly Fox Network reality series followed aspiring young singers from first audition to their ultimate brush with superstardom. Out of 100 auditioners, ten finalists were selected per 90-minute episode by a panel of judges including singer Paula Abdul and music executives Simon Cowell (a carryover from the British version) and Randy Jackson). Of these ten, two winners per episode were deemed worthy to appear in a live half-hour telecast the following evening. At the end of the series, the two "final" finalists competed for a top-dollar record deal. The series' "entertainment" value was manifested in the audition process, with the three judges being as cruel and devastating as possible to the rejects (one girl, protesting that she'd been taking singing lessons for three years, was coldly advised by one of the judges to sue her teacher). American Idol debuted on June 11, 2002.