American Idol 3 (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The third season of American Idol premiered on January 19, 2004 and continued until May 26, 2004. The third season was won by Fantasia Barrino, who defeated Diana DeGarmo by an approximate margin of 2% (1.3 million votes). The vote total (65 million votes) is the highest recorded vote total in the show's history.
Auditions were held in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, and Honolulu.
The early part of the season became well-known for the introduction of William Hung, a University of California, Berkeley student, who became popular following his rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs". His performance as well as his attitude facing judge Simon Cowell's criticisms (which was a stark contrast to other contestants' confrontational, angry reactions) made him instantly popular, and landed him a record deal with Koch Records.
After a nationwide vote of more than 65 million votes in total--more than the first two seasons combined--Fantasia Barrino won the "American Idol" title beating out Diana DeGarmo. The third season was also shown in Australia on Network Ten about half a week after episodes were shown in the US.
As a nod to the "Did Clay see the card?" controversy in AI2, Ryan Seacrest was instructed to memorize the winner's name and the vote margin and was given a blank card to hold while reporting the results. However, in a post-show interview with USA Today, Diana DeGarmo admitted that she had figured out that she had not won when the contestants were going over the schedule for the finale and she saw she would be singing "I Believe" (the winner's single) before the results were announced; realizing that she would not be scheduled to sing a song she would have to sing again minutes later when the results were announced, she determined that she had lost and Fantasia had won.
Henry Winkler said "You've got incredible judges, Simon speaks the truth, I always agree with him. And Ryan is really good at what he does , but Fantasia," he smiles, "there's something in her that is bigger than anything. We voted for her about 250 times!"
Kelly Clarkson is quoted in the June 14th, 2004 People Magazine as saying she voted for Fantasia: "I just hit redial, redial."
"If I Go Away" / "Man Like Me" (single) (Jon Peter Lewis)
Sources: Idolsmusic.com, CD Baby
Both Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London, part of final twelve, were elminated, despite their popularity. After London was elminated, (Hudson was first) many believe that they were kicked off because of racism, despite the fact that a black woman beat a white woman in the final.