|Broadcast from||January 14, 2009 – May 20, 2009|
|Broadcaster||Fox Broadcasting Company|
|Finals venue||Nokia Theatre Los Angeles|
|Genre(s)||Pop, Alternative, pop rock|
|◄ 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 was announced the winner of the competition on May 20, 2009, defeating runner-up Adam Lambert after nearly 100 million votes, the highest recorded vote total in the history of the show. Kris Allen is the only married winner of the competition at the time of his victory.
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. Another addition was the "save," which was used on the top seven results show to veto Matt Giraud's elimination.
Several changes were planned for season 8. Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly stated that Idol would feature fewer "William Hung-like" contestants and "funny auditions," and would quickly move its focus to the potential singers during the earlier stages of the competition, thus moving the season at a faster pace. Mike Darnell, president of Fox's alternative programming, said the contestants would be more emotional and that viewers would learn more about them and their pasts than they had in the previous season. Songwriter and record producer Kara DioGuardi was added as a permanent fourth judge on the panel. She had previously collaborated with Celine Dion, Hilary Duff, Enrique Iglesias, Leona Lewis and Christina Aguilera, and produced several Top 40 hits. As a songwriter, she had already worked with several American Idol alumni and winners, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, David Archuleta and David Cook. Meanwhile, Ken Warwick became the new executive producer, as Nigel Lythgoe had left the show to focus on So You Think You Can Dance and his new show with Simon Fuller, Superstars of Dance. Idol Gives Back was canceled for season 8, as the ongoing economic crisis and recession, left Idol officials uncomfortable asking financially struggling viewers to donate. The semifinals saw the biggest change as the wild card round returned for the first time since the third season. After voters picked three finalists from each of three groups of 12 semi-finalists, the judges selected eight of the previously eliminated 27 semifinalists to return and perform a song on the March 5, 2009, show. They were judged by the panel, instead of a vote by the viewers, with four advancing to the finals. Although the finals had been billed from the beginning of the season as a set of 12 contestants, the judges announced at the last minute that they would be advancing a fourth wild card/thirteenth contestant, Anoop Desai, as well.
Another change in the Idol format, which was revealed on March 11, 2009, is that the judges are eligible to exercise a veto power on one eliminated contestant at any given point of the competition and spare them from elimination for that particular week. This can only be invoked up until the Final 5. The following week two contestants will be eliminated if the save is used because nobody is eliminated on the week that the save is used. The save can only be used once and it must be unanimous.
Auditions were held in the following cities:
|Episode Air Date||Audition City||Date||Audition Venue||Tickets to Hollywood|
|January 13, 2009||Glendale, Arizona||July 25, 2008||Jobing.com Arena||27|
|January 14, 2009||Kansas City, Missouri||August 8, 2008||Kemper Arena||27|
|January 20, 2009||San Francisco, California||July 17, 2008||Cow Palace||12|
|January 21, 2009||Louisville, Kentucky||July 21, 2008||Freedom Hall||19|
|January 27, 2009||Jacksonville, Florida||August 13, 2008||Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena||16|
|January 28, 2009||Salt Lake City, Utah||July 29, 2008||EnergySolutions Arena||13|
|January 29, 2009||East Rutherford, New Jersey||August 19, 2008||Izod Center||26|
|San Juan, Puerto Rico||August 2, 2008||Coliseo de Puerto Rico||9|
|Total Tickets to Hollywood||149|
Contestants are required to be between the ages 16 and 28 on July 15, 2008 and eligible to work in the United States. Contestants are ineligible if they were part of the top 40 from previous seasons (exception being for those who reached the top 50 from season 7), if they hold recording or management contracts or if they are not U.S. citizens or landed immigrants (i.e. temporary residents).
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.
Below are the three semi-final groups with contestants listed in their performance order. 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.
Advancing to the Top 13: Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver, and Danny Gokey
Wild Card Contenders: Ricky Braddy, Tatiana Del Toro, and Anoop Desai
Ryan Seacrest announced that there was a 20,000 vote gap between Michael Sarver and Anoop Desai.
Advancing to the Top 13: Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen, and Adam Lambert
Wild Card Contenders: Matt Giraud, Megan Joy, Jesse Langseth, and Jasmine Murray
Advancing to the Top 13: Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, and Jorge Núñez
Wild Card Contender: Von Smith
Advancing to the Top 13: Jasmine Murray, Megan Joy, Matt Giraud, and Anoop Desai
Eliminated: Jasmine Murray and Jorge Núñez
The judges chose not to save either Jasmine or Jorge. It was never revealed, out of Jasmine Murray and Jorge Núñez, who received the lowest amount of votes even though Jasmine was eliminated first. Megan Joy and Anoop Desai were said to be in danger although they were never said to be in the bottom 3. Jasmine Murray and Jorge Nunez were the only ones who were said to be in the bottom 2.
Mentor: Randy Travis
Bottom 3: Allison Iraheta, Michael Sarver, and Alexis Grace
Bottom 2: Michael Sarver and Alexis Grace
Eliminated: Alexis Grace
The judges chose not to use their save on Alexis.
Mentor: Smokey Robinson
Bottom 3: Matt Giraud, Michael Sarver, and Scott MacIntyre
Bottom 2: Matt Giraud and Michael Sarver
Eliminated: Michael Sarver
The judges chose not to save Michael.
Bottom 3: Megan Joy, Allison Iraheta, and Anoop Desai
Bottom 2: Megan Joy and Anoop Desai
Eliminated: Megan Joy
Simon made it clear that the judges would not even consider using the save on Megan.
Bottom 3: Anoop Desai, Scott MacIntyre, and Lil Rounds
Bottom 2: Anoop Desai and Scott MacIntyre
Eliminated: Scott MacIntyre
Paula and Kara wanted to save Scott, but Simon and Randy did not. Since the judges must be unanimous for the save to be used, the save was not used on Scott.
Mentor: Quentin Tarantino
Bottom 3: Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds, and Matt Giraud
Bottom 2: Matt Giraud and Lil Rounds
*Saved from elimination: Matt Giraud
*Matt received the lowest number of votes but the judges decided to use their save on him and was not eliminated.
Bottom 3: Anoop Desai, Allison Iraheta, and Lil Rounds
Eliminated: Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai
With no elimination the previous week, there was a second "Top 7" week and two people were eliminated. It was never revealed who, out of Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds, received the lowest amount of votes however Lil Rounds was announced as the first to be eliminated and Anoop Desai and Allison Iraheta were called to centre-stage to form the rest of the lowest three vote getters.
Mentor: Jamie Foxx
Top 2: Allison Iraheta, Danny Gokey
Bottom 3: Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, and Matt Giraud
Bottom 2: Adam Lambert and Matt Giraud
Eliminated: Matt Giraud
Each contestant sang one solo and one duet with a fellow contestant.
Eliminated: Allison Iraheta
Each contestant sang two songs.
Eliminated: Danny Gokey
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Each contestant sang three songs. Allen won a coin toss to decide who performed first and who performed last, and he chose to perform last.
Winner: Kris Allen
Runner-Up: Adam Lambert
In addition, songs are played during the elimination night to promote an artist, single, album, or the show itself. Included is a list of those songs with their Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Digital Songs reactions.
|Hot Digital Songs
|"The Letter"||Ineligible to chart
(No legal digital release)
|Brooke White||"Hold Up My Heart"||47 (debut)||27 (51,171 +999%)||live performance|
|Top 13||Kanye West||"Heartless"||7 (+1)||13 (95,223 +18%)||pre-recorded|
|Kelly Clarkson||"My Life Would Suck Without You"||5 (+4)||6 (141,167 +38%)||live performance|
|Top 11||Brad Paisley||"Then"||35 (debut)||18 (64,127 +999%)||live performance|
|"I Told You So"||9 (+48)||4 (125,806 +701%)||pre-recorded|
|Top 10||Ruben Studdard||"Together"||did not debut||N/A||pre-recorded|
|"You’re the One for Me"||did not debut||N/A||live performance|
|Stevie Wonder||"My Chérie Amour"/"Superstition"/
"Overjoyed"/"All About the Love Again"
|ineligible to re-enter||N/A||live performance|
|Top 9||David Cook||"Come Back to Me"||63 (debut)||40 (39,430 +498%)||pre-recorded|
|Lady GaGa||"Poker Face"||2 (−1)||2 (228,799 +11%)||live performance|
|Top 8||Frankie Avalon||"Venus"||N/A||N/A||live performance|
|"Right Round"||3 (=)||4 (179,913 +9%)||live performance|
|Kellie Pickler||"Best Days of Your Life"||50 (+53)||34 (46,825 +257%)||live performance|
|Jennifer Hudson||"If This Isn't Love"||63 (+23)||86 (19,112 +172%)||live performance|
|Miley Cyrus||"The Climb"||4 (+4)||2 (189,566 +0%)||pre-recorded|
|David Archuleta||"Touch My Hand"||did not debut||107 (12,875 +558%)||live performance|
"Band of Gold"
"Don't Leave Me This Way"
"Get Down Tonight."
|ineligible to re-enter||N/A||live performance|
|Top 5||Natalie Cole||"Something's Gotta Give"||did not debut||N/A||live performance|
|Taylor Hicks||Seven Mile Breakdown||did not debut||N/A||live performance|
|Jamie Foxx||"Blame It"||2 (+2)||4(+6)||live performance|
|Top 4||Paula Abdul||"I'm Just Here for the Music"||87 (debut)||61(24,615 +999%)||pre-recorded|
|No Doubt||"Just a Girl"||ineligible to re-enter||TBA||pre-recorded|
|Daughtry||"No Surprise"||15 (debut)||7 (103,593 +999%)||live performance|
|Top 3||Noah Mushimiyimana||"I'm the World's Greatest"||NA||NA||live performance|
|Jordin Sparks||"Battlefield"||32 (debut)||12 (75,007 +999%)||live performance|
|Katy Perry||"Waking Up in Vegas"||13 (+38)||5 (103,921) +180%||live performance|
|Top 2||Carrie Underwood||"Home Sweet Home"||79 (re-entry)||TBA||live performance on May 19, 2009|
|Did Not Perform||Female||Male||Top 36||Wild Card||Top 13||Winner|
|1||Kris Allen||Top 13||Btm 3||Winner|
|2||Adam Lambert||Top 13||Btm 2||Runner-Up|
|3||Danny Gokey||Top 13||Elim|
|4||Allison Iraheta||Top 13||Btm 3||Btm 3||Btm 3||Elim|
|5||Matt Giraud||Elim||Top 13||Btm 2||Saved||Elim|
|6 – 7||Anoop Desai||Elim||Top 13||Btm 2||Btm 2||Btm 3||Elim|
|Lil Rounds||Top 13||Btm 3||Btm 2|
|8||Scott MacIntyre||Top 13||Btm 3||Elim|
|9||Megan Joy||Elim||Top 13||Elim|
|10||Michael Sarver||Top 13||Btm 2||Elim|
|11||Alexis Grace||Top 13||Elim|
|12 – 13||Jorge Núñez||Top 13||Elim|
|Jasmine Murray||Elim||Top 13|
|Tatiana Del Toro||Elim|
|Ann Marie Boskovich||Elim|
1 Due to the 2009 Speech to the Joint Session of the United States Congress on Tuesday, February 24, 2009, the performance show was moved to Wednesday, February 25 and the results show was moved to Thursday, February 26.
2 Ryan never specifically said who the bottom three or four was, but Megan Joy was brought up with Jasmine Murray and Anoop Desai with Jorge Nuñez for dramatic effect. Jasmine Murray was announced as the first to leave, followed by Jorge Nuñez.
3 Due to the White House Press Conference on Tuesday, March 24, 2009, the performance show was moved to Wednesday, March 25 and the results show was moved to Thursday, March 26.
4 Due to the judges using their one save, in order to save Matt Giraud, the Top 7 remained intact for another week.
5 The bottom two were eliminated on April 22. It was never announced who received the lowest number of votes, although Lil Rounds was announced as the first to leave, followed by Anoop Desai.
6 It was only announced that Allison Iraheta received the lowest number of votes this week. The other member(s) of the bottom two or three were never revealed, and the safe contestants were announced in random order.
The finale took place at the Nokia Theatre on May 20, 2009.
Joanna Pacitti, who was originally selected as a semi-finalist, created controversy due to her being previously signed to A&M and Geffen Records. Later, she was found to have been having a "private relationship" with 19 Management. She was later disqualified, and replaced by Felicia Barton.
In the Top 13, the expected phone number for contestant Alexis Grace, 1-866-IDOLS-13, was not owned by American Idol, but by a company called Intimate Encounters, who used it as a phone sex line. Although host Ryan Seacrest mentioned the replacement phone number, 1-866-IDOLS-36, several times, some commentators feared that the phone number confusion could lead to Grace being inadvertently voted off the show. However, Grace was not voted off that week.
On the April 7 (Top 8) performance episode, Idol ran nearly eight minutes past its set ending time, such that viewers who recorded the program on digital video recorders completely missed the final performance, Adam Lambert's performance of "Mad World" which received a standing ovation from judge Simon Cowell. The show attempted to prevent running over time the following week by having only two judges, either Randy and Kara or Paula and Simon, critique each performance; however, the episode still ended two minutes over the time slot.
After the Top 11 program, Justin Guarini, while hosting Idol Wrap on TV Guide channel, asserted that the show's group performances were being lip-synced. Soon after Guarini's assertion was aired, a spokesperson for the producers of American Idol said, "The Idols don't lip-sync, period." The following day, the same spokesperson said that "due to extensive choreography and to balance their voices with open mics against a screaming audience, the Idols do sing along to their own prerecorded vocal track during the group performances only." The spokesperson maintained that the performers sing their solo songs live, but their performances available to download through iTunes are recorded prior to airing.
Kris Allen's win over Adam Lambert resulted in speculation about voter manipulation, a Christian voting bloc, and as many as "38 million" votes coming from Arkansas, Kris's home state, a state with only 2.8 million people. There were also allegations that AT&T may have influenced the results. Fox had previously denied these claims as baseless stating that the network has no preference on who the winner might be. AT&T meanwhile said in a statement that the vote tally above was based on incorrect information and apologized by saying that "AT&T does not divulge or confirm how many votes were cast in any state." On May 27, 2009, the producers of the show stated that they "stand by the outcome" and are "absolutely certain" that "without a doubt Kris Allen is the American Idol".
|2009||Outstanding Reality Show or Reality Competition||American Idol||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing For a Variety, Music Or Comedy Special||Bruce Gowers||Show 833 (The Final Three)||Won|
|Outstanding Host for a Reality-Competition Program||Ryan Seacrest||Nominated|
|2009||Choice Male Reality/Variety Star||Kris Allen||Nominated|
|Choice Summer Tour||American Idol Top 10||Nominated|
Season 7 (2008)
Season 8 (2009)
Season 9 (2010)