American Idol 10 (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The tenth season of American Idol premiered on January 19, 2011 and concluded on May 25, 2011, on Fox. The show underwent a number of changes from season nine, including the reduction of the judging panel to its original number of just three judges (two of whom are new), a returning executive producer, a new music director as well as multiple format changes. Beginning this season, Idol was also moved from Tuesdays and Wednesdays to Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Interscope Records, which is part of Universal Music Group, replaced Sony Music Entertainment as Idols official partner record label. Interscope's Chairman Jimmy Iovine, a songwriter and producer, was made in-house mentor to work with the contestants on a weekly basis. He is supported by associated producers: Rodney Jerkins, Alex da Kid, Tricky Stewart, Don Was, will.i.am, and Timbaland who all help contestants tailor their song choices to their chosen genre of performance, as well as work in producing arrangements for the contestants and offering original material to be performed.
This is the first season in which 15-year-olds could audition. Other changes include online voting, extra rounds such as the Las Vegas and a final solo round, and a return of the judges' wild card choice. More contestants made it to Hollywood in season 10 than in previous seasons. This is also the first season where 11 contestants went on tour instead of 10.
On May 25, 2011, after 122.4 million votes were cast for the finale (and nearly 750 million votes for the seasonal total), Scotty McCreery was crowned the winner of the tenth season of American Idol, making him the youngest male winner at 17 years and 7 months old, and the second youngest winner ever behind season 6 winner Jordin Sparks, who was 17 years and 5 months old when she won in 2007.
Simon Cowell, who had been a judge since the first episode of the first season, announced on January 11, 2010 that he would not be returning as a judge for this season in order to focus on launching the American version of his hit British singing competition The X Factor. Ellen DeGeneres officially announced her departure on July 29, 2010, after judging for only one season, because she felt the show was not the "right fit" for her. Kara DioGuardi then announced on September 3, 2010, that she would also not return this season. On September 22, 2010, it was announced that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler would join the judging panel.
There were a number of other major changes in season ten, from the judges to the format of the show itself. Nigel Lythgoe returned as the executive producer, and Ray Chew has been hired as the show's new musical director, replacing Rickey Minor, who left the show along with vocal coach Dorian Holley to become the musical director of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Peisha McPhee, mother of season 5's runner-up Katharine McPhee, joined as one of the vocal coaches. In this season, online voting was also offered for the first time for fans with Facebook accounts; up to 50 votes may be cast.
Season 10 also saw a return to the process of singers singing 2 songs each on performance nights starting earlier in the season, and 3 songs each starting on Top 3 night.
Extra rounds were added in the Hollywood phase of the competition which would narrow the contestants down to sixty potential finalists. Those who made the final sixty were then taken to Las Vegas in an extra round where they were asked to sing songs from The Beatles, and then a further solo round in Los Angeles. It was originally planned that 20 contestants would be left by the end of the Hollywood rounds, however, 24 contestants were chosen instead for the semifinal, and they would perform in two groups of twelve in a semi-final sudden death round where ten finalists - five girls and five boys - would be voted in by the viewers. The judges were given three wild card picks, making a total of thirteen finalists.
Nigel Lythgoe had previously suggested significant format changes that would replace the following semifinal, with contestants having "to make the best music video, to promote themselves, and to work with a band and dancers for an awards show-style performance." However, the plans were shelved. Despite previous reports that Idol producers had axed the weekly music theme, the themes remained.
Partnership with Universal Music
At the end of season nine, Sony Music Entertainment's affiliation to Idol also ended. The partnership was superseded by a new deal with Universal Music Group, meaning that the winner would now be signed to Interscope Records. Interscope's sister labels, A&M Records and Geffen Records, would also be involved in promoting and distributing the albums of the show's finalists. Chairman of the Interscope-Geffen-A&M label group, Jimmy Iovine, worked directly with contestants this season as the in-house mentor. Additionally, a team of Universal Music-associated producers and songwriters, such as Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins, Timbaland and Alex da Kid, also worked alongside the contestants to help them take on original arrangement and material. Some suggested changes, such as allowing the finalists to release music while the season is still in progress rather than waiting to record an album, were not implemented, although music were released somewhat earlier than previous seasons.
This is the first season in which the contestant age minimum was reduced to 15 years old. The maximum age however still remained 28.
Auditions were held in the following cities:
Episode air date
First audition date
Callback audition date
January 19, 2011
East Rutherford, New Jersey
August 3, 2010
September 28-30, 2010
Liberty House Restaurant
January 20, 2011
New Orleans, Louisiana
July 26, 2010
New Orleans Arena
October 17-18, 2010
Hilton Riverside Hotel
January 26, 2011
July 21, 2010
October 2-3, 2010
Milwaukee Art Museum
January 27, 2011
July 17, 2010
October 25-26, 2010
February 2, 2011
August 11, 2010
Frank Erwin Center
October 8-9, 2010
Barton Creek Resort & Spa
February 3, 2011
Los Angeles, California
September 22, 2010
November 3-4, 2010
February 9, 2011
San Francisco, California
August 19, 2010
November 9-10, 2010
Westin St. Francis
Total Tickets to Hollywood
Note 1: Actual number not announced on the show but this number is based on the number of names listed on americanidol.com website and may not be the actual total.
In addition to the above cities, for the first time contestants were allowed to audition online via Myspace / Facebook / Twitter. To audition, they were required to upload a 40-second audition clip of them singing a pre-approved song. The internet auditioners, including Karen Rodriguez, were called back to Los Angeles to audition in front of the judges.
The Hollywood week phase of the competition was held in the Pasadena Civic Center. There were a record-number 327 contestants in the first round, which lasted over two days, exceeding season 2's record of 234. The contestants emerged in groups of ten and each performed individually a cappella. After the whole group had finished their performances, those who failed were cut immediately. 168 advanced to the next round, where the contestants performed in groups; out of the 168, only 100 advanced to the next round. In the next round, the contestants performed solo, accompanied by a band or an instrument. The contestants were then separated into four rooms, with two of the four rooms containing eliminated contestants and the other two containing contestants who made it into the next round. Only 61 of the 100 remaining advanced.
This year, due to the large number of contestants, two more rounds were added. The 61 remaining contestants proceeded to Las Vegas where they performed songs from The Beatles as duos and trios in the Love theatre at The Mirage for this newly added 'Las Vegas' round. After that, 41 advanced to the final "Sing For Your Life" round back in Los Angeles. In that round, each contestant performed a song of their own choosing at Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose aircraft hangar. The Top 24 were then selected from the remaining 41 for the semifinals. This episode was notable for the emotional breakdown of judge Jennifer Lopez after telling contestant Chris Medina that he had been eliminated.
The twenty-four semi-finalists were revealed in two stages. The first five were revealed on February 23, 2011, and the remaining 19 were revealed on the following night's episode. The following are semi-finalists who failed to reach the finals.
Age at time of show
Date of Birth
September 27, 1988
May 8, 1986
New Orleans, Louisiana
June 19, 1990
October 20, 1987
New York City
Jersey City, New Jersey
November 10, 1990
San Francisco, California
Age at time of show
Date of Birth
September 3, 1987
New Orleans, Louisiana
April 23, 1989
New Orleans, Louisiana
Clint Jun Gamboa
June 9, 1984
Long Beach, California
San Francisco, California
May 27, 1987
Fort Worth, Texas
Los Angeles, California
December 13, 1993
Boca Raton, Florida
New Orleans, Louisiana
December 27, 1993
Merrick, New York
Jersey City, New Jersey
The semi-final round began on Tuesday, March 1, 2011. This year, the producers used a new format. Below are the two semi-final groups (males and females) with contestants listed in their performance order. The top five males and top five females, along with the three wild card choices by the judges, advanced to the finals. There were twenty-four semifinalists, twelve females and males. The males started the semifinal round, and the females continued on following night's episode, the contestants perform songs of their choice (there was no particular theme).
Following those ten singers advancing on Thursday, March 3, six of the remaining 14 semi-finalists were selected by the judges to compete in the Wild Card round. The Wild Card round immediately began, following the announcement of the ten finalists. Following another performance by each Wild Card contender, the judges then selected three contestants to advance to the final group of 13.
Song (original artist)
"And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" (Jennifer Holliday)
Scotty McCreery (born October 9, 1993) is from Garner, North Carolina and was 17 years old at the time of the show. He auditioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Josh Turner's "Your Man" and Travis Tritt's "Put Some Drive In Your Country". He reprised "Your Man" in the Hollywood rounds but forgot the words to Lee Ann Womack's "I Hope You Dance". He also performed "Get Ready" with the group "The Guaps" and became involved in the drama when Clint Jun Gamboa ousted young Jacee Badeaux from their group. For his final solo he performed Josh Turner's "Long Black Train". McCreery was announced as the winner on May 25, 2011, and was signed to 19/Interscope/Mercury Nashville. His debut album, Clear as Day, was released on October 4, 2011.
Lauren Alaina (born November 8, 1994) is from Rossville, Georgia and 16 years old at the time of the show. She auditioned in Nashville, Tennessee with Faith Hill's "Like We Never Loved At All" and Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" which she also reprised for the Hollywood rounds. She also performed "Unchained Melody" twice, once for the first solo in the Hollywoods round and again for the final solo. She also performed Soul Brothers Six's "Some Kind of Wonderful" in a girl group which was notable for getting Steven Tyler to sit on the chair while they performed around him. She performed "Hello, Goodbye" for the Las Vegas' Beatles round with Scotty McCreery and Denise Jackson. Alaina was announced as the runner-up on May 25, 2011. She was signed to 19/Interscope/Mercury Nashville, and her debut album, Wildflower, was released on October 11, 2011.
Haley Reinhart (born September 9, 1990) is from Wheeling, Illinois and 20 years old at the time of the show. She originally auditioned in Chicago in season 9 and did not advanced to the Hollywood round. She auditioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with The Beatles' "Oh! Darling". She performed Corinne Bailey Rae's "Breathless" in the first solo round. In the group round she forgot her words of the song but still made it through, and in the Hollywood rounds she performed Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child". In the Las Vegas group round, she performed The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" with Naima Adedapo and Jacob Lusk. For her final solo she performed The Shirelles' song "Baby It's You". Reinhart was eliminated on May 19, 2011 and came in 3rd place. Reinhart was signed to Interscope after the show. Her first single, "Free", was released on March 20, 2012, and her debut album, Listen Up!, was released on May 22, 2012.
James Durbin (born January 6, 1989) is from Santa Cruz, California and 22 years old at the time of the show. He originally auditioned in season 8 and was not selected. He auditioned in San Francisco, California with Muddy Waters's "You Shook Me" and Aerosmith's "Dream On". He performed The Beatles' "Oh! Darling" for his solo in the Hollywood round, Queen's "Somebody to Love" with the group "Deep Vees" in the group round and Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" for his final solo. He was the lead singer with a band The Hollywood Scars prior to Idol. He has Tourette and Asperger's syndrome. Durbin was eliminated on May 12, 2011 and came in 4th place. He was signed to Wind-up Records in with an album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster released on November 21, 2011.
Jacob Lusk (born June 23, 1987) is from Compton, California and 23 years old at the time of the show. He auditioned in Los Angeles, California. Randy Jackson considered his performance of Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child" during the Hollywood rounds the best ever seen on Idol. He also performed The Temptations' "Get Ready" with Naima Adedapo in the group "Ebony, Ivory, and Every", and Leon Russell's "A Song for You" for his final solo. Lusk was eliminated on May 5, 2011 and came in 5th place.
Casey Abrams (born February 12, 1991 in Austin, Texas) is from Idyllwild, California and 20 years old at the time of show. He auditioned in Austin, Texas with Ray Charles' "I Don't Need No Doctor". He impressed the judges with his performance of "Georgia on My Mind" in Hollywood week. He also performed Ella Fitzgerald's "Lullaby of Birdland", The Temptations' "Get Ready" with the group "Night Owls" in the Hollywood rounds, "A Hard Day's Night" with Chris Medina in the Las Vegas's Beatles round, and Kansas Joe McCoy's "Why Don't You Do Right?" for his final solo. He played the double bass and melodica on the show. He suffers from ulcerative colitis which resulted in him missing the Top 13 result show. He got the one judges' save of the season on the Top 11 show. Abrams was eliminated on April 28, 2011 and came in 6th place. Abrams was signed to Concord Music Group after the show.
Stefano Langone (born February 27, 1989) is from Kent, Washington and 22 years old at the time of the show. He auditioned in San Francisco, California with Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". He performed Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke" in the Hollywood week, "Get Back" for the Las Vegas round with James Durbin, and his own composition "Come Home" for his final solo. He survived a near-fatal car accident in 2009 being hit by a drunk driver. Langone was chosen by the judges as one of the Wild Cards to join the Top 13 finalists. Langone was eliminated on April 21, 2011 and came in 7th place. Langone was signed to Hollywood Records after the show. He released his debut single "I'm on a Roll" featuring New Boyz and Rock Mafia on April 24, 2012.
Paul McDonald (born August 29, 1984) is from Huntsville, Alabama and 26 years old at the time of the show. He auditioned in Nashville, Tennessee with Rod Stewart's "Maggie May". Prior to Idol, he was the lead singer of the band Hightide Blues formed in 2005 and renamed The Grand Magnolias in 2010. He performed Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" and his own composition "American Dreams" for his final solo. McDonald was eliminated on April 14, 2011 and came in 8th place.
Pia Toscano (born October 14, 1988) is from Howard Beach, New York and 22 years old at the time of the show. She had auditioned for Idol four times before and made it through Hollywood in season 6 and did not continue further. She auditioned in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was a make-up artist. She sang the national anthem at a Mets game. Pia Toscano and Karen Rodriguez get together to duet The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" on Las Vegas, they also went to New York's LaGuardia Arts School together. She also performed Bruno Mars's "Grenade" for the group round in Hollywood and Alicia Keys's "Doesn't Mean Anything" for her final solo. Toscano was eliminated on April 7, 2011 and came in 9th place. Toscano was signed to Interscope after the show, releasing her debut single "This Time" on July 11, 2011. Pia has auditioned 5 times.
Naima Adedapo (born October 5, 1984 in Maywood, Illinois) is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and 26 years old at the time of the show. She auditioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Donny Hathaway's version of "For All We Know". She was doing janitorial duties at the Summerfest in Milwaukee before she auditioned on Idol. She performed Beatles' The Long and Winding Road together with Jacob Lusk and Haley Reinhart during the Las Vegas round, and Corinne Bailey Rae's "Put Your Records On" for her final solo. Adedapo was chosen by the judges to join the competition during the Wild Card round. Adedapo was eliminated on March 31, 2011. She came in 10th or 11th place with Thia Megia.
Thia Megia (born January 30, 1995) is from Mountain House, San Joaquin County, California and 16 years old at the time of the show. She auditioned in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Adele's "Chasing Pavements" and she turned 16 at the time of the show. Before her stint on American Idol, she previously competed on season 4 of America's Got Talent, making it to the quarterfinals. She also participated in the YouTube edition of "We Are the World" along with 56 other YouTube artists, including American Idolseason 11 runner-up Jessica Sanchez. She performed "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess and Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" in the Hollywood rounds, "Here Comes the Sun" for the Las Vegas round with Melinda Ademi, and Secret Garden's "You Raise Me Up" for her final solo. At 16 years and 1-month, she was the youngest contestant to reach the finals. Megia was eliminated on March 31, 2011. She came in a joint 10th/11thplace with Naima Adedapo, and was the first 11th placer to go on tour, without a withdrawal of another contestant.
Karen Rodriguez (born March 22, 1989 in Miami, Florida) is from New York City and 21 years old at the time of show. She turned 22 years old soon after she got voted off. She was one of the Myspace auditioners and then auditioned in front of the judges in Los Angeles, California with Whitney Houston's "You Give Good Love". She performed Jennifer Lopez's "If You Had My Love", Bruno Mars's "Just the Way You Are" with Jovany Baretto in the group "Spanglish" for the Hollywood rounds, and Selena's "No me queda más" in the final round. She had previously appeared in the fifth season of a Puerto Rican talent show Objetivo Fama. Rodriguez was eliminated on March 17, 2011 and came in 12th place.
Ashthon Jones (born February 27, 1986) is from Goodlettsville, Tennessee and 24 years old when she auditioned and turned 25 at the time of show. She auditioned in Nashville, Tennessee. She sang "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls, Blu Cantrell's Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!) with the group "The Hits" in the Hollywood rounds and Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" for her final solo. Jones was chosen by the judges as one of the Wild Card finalists. Jones was eliminated on March 10, 2011 and came in 13th place.
This is the first season in which there are 12 weeks of the finals instead of 11 and the 2nd season to have 13 finalists, instead of 12 as in the previous seasons, with one of the 13 finalists eliminated each week. In Season 8 there were 13 finalists but 2 were eliminated in the first week, the final rounds thereby only lasted 11 weeks. This is the third season in which a Wild Card contestant, Ashthon Jones, was eliminated in the first round of the finals, with the other seasons being season three (Leah LaBelle), season eight (Jasmine Murray), and season eleven (Jeremy Rosado). The top 13 performance show was pre-recorded, but the subsequent performance shows of the finals were broadcast live. Season 7 winner David Cook recorded the Simple Minds song "Don't You (Forget About Me)" as the send-off song played when a contestant is eliminated.
Each contestant sang one solo and one duet with a fellow contestant.
Song (original artist when applicable)
"Oh No Not My Baby" (Maxine Brown)
"Where You Lead"
Casey Abrams & Haley Reinhart
"I Feel the Earth Move"
"You've Got a Friend"
"Will You Love Me Tomorrow" (The Shirelles)
Lauren Alaina & Scotty McCreery
"Up on the Roof" (The Drifters)
"That Old Sweet Roll (Hi-De-Ho)" (The City)
James Durbin & Jacob Lusk
"I'm into Something Good" (Earl-Jean)
Group performance: "It Might As Well Rain Until September" (Carole King) / "Take Good Care of My Baby" (Bobby Vee) / "One Fine Day" (The Chiffons) / "Go Away Little Girl" (Steve Lawrence) / "It's Too Late" (Carole King)
On results night, no "bottom three" was announced. Ryan Seacrest stated early in the show that voting results would be announced in "random order". After Haley, James, and Lauren were announced as safe, Jacob, Casey, and Scotty were the last three remaining. Ryan then repeated "Tonight the results are in random order" before announcing that Casey was eliminated. Ryan later confirmed that Jacob and Scotty were not necessarily among the bottom three vote-getters that week. Ryan also revealed Top 5 results night that Scotty had never been in the bottom 2.
Top 5 - Songs from Now & Then
The Top 5 contenders covered two songs apiece: one current (new millennium) and one from the 1960s.