American Idol 6 (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The sixth season of American Idol premiered on the Fox Broadcasting Company as a two-night, four-hour premiere special on January 16 and January 17, and ran until May 23, 2007. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson returned to judge once again, and Ryan Seacrest returned as host. A new record of 74 million votes were cast in the finale round, and a new record of 609 million votes were cast in the entire season (the finale vote record was since broken by American Idol 11). Jordin Sparks won the competition with Blake Lewis as the first runner-up and Melinda Doolittle finishing third. Jordin Sparks is also the youngest winner of the competition, winning at age 17 as well as the first winner from outside the Southern United States. As of , Sparks remains the last female winner of the competition, as her successors have been all male.
The Auditions were held in the following cities:
Episode Air Date
First Audition Venue
January 16, 2007
September 8, 2006
September 12, 2006
Minneapolis Convention Center
January 17, 2007
September 19, 2006
October 2-3, 2006
January 23, 2007
September 3, 2006
October 5-6, 2006
Memphis Cook Convention Center
January 24, 2007
New York, New York
August 14, 2006
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford
August 30, 2006
Chelsea Piers, New York
January 30, 2007
August 21, 2006
Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex
September 29-30, 2006
January 31, 2007
Los Angeles, California
August 6, 2006
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
September 26, 2006
Millennium Biltmore Hotel
February 6, 2007
San Antonio, Texas
August 11, 2006
August 26, 2006
Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
Total Tickets to Hollywood
Auditioning contestants were required to be between the ages 16 and 28 on August 6, 2006 (born between August 7, 1977 and August 6, 1990). Guest judges were used for audition this season.
Guest judges - Jewel - Minneapolis audition
Carole Bayer Sager - New York audition Olivia Newton-John - Los Angeles audition
Many of the people who auditioned had trouble with the double doors, with many often going towards the wrong door on their way out; this was spoofed by Idol later in the season with "audition footage" featuring Tony Bennett. This did not seem to be a problem for the seventh season as both doors were accessible.
An elderly man named Sherman Pore auditioned in Los Angeles this year after a successful petition drive to convince the producers to waive the age-limit rule so he can audition. He explained that he did it to ease the pain and suffering of his female companion who was dying of cancer, but had died shortly before he can audition before the judges. He later released an album for the benefit of cancer research. Another contestant that year was Melissa Sgambelluri, also known as "Fountain girl" for her appearance in the promo and opening sequence celebrating in a fountain after winning her golden ticket.
Jordin Sparks, the eventual winner this season, failed to pass through her audition in Los Angeles, but later won an audition in Seattle as a reward for winning a local Fox-affiliate-sponsored contest called Arizona Idol.
The so-called "Hollywood" phase of the audition process was held over four days in mid-November 2006 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
The first round consisted of each contestant singing one song a capella of their own choosing in front of the judges and all the other contestants of the same gender. Contestants were then told whether they were moving on or going home, in groups of six. This extended over the first two days, first females, then males.
The second round took place on the second and third day, and consisted of groups of three or four contestants choosing, rehearsing, and then performing one of nine pre-selected songs. Groups were reviewed and contestants were then judged individually as to whether they were moving on or going home.
The third round took place on the fourth day, and consisted of individual contestants performing a song from a pre-selected list, accompanied by a piano and backup singers. Contestants were again informed of whether they had made the cut or not.
Cut down to 24
The final pre-audience voting cut down took place at the Pasadena Civic Center on January 14 or 15, 2007, just before the regional audition shows began airing. Without any further auditioning, but possibly with some audience research having taken place, the 40 remaining contestants were reduced to 24. In a process taking a whole day, contestants wait in a sitting room until one by one, they go up an elevator and take a long walk to the other end of the Center's Gold Room. Then the three judges told them whether they have made it onto the stage show or are cut. Those cut at this phase included the "fountain girl" in the opening credits, Melissa Sgambelluri.
The 24 semi-finalists were announced February 14, 2007.
The semi-finals began on February 20. There were three shows each week for the three weeks of the semi-finals. The February 20 through May 16 shows originated from CBS Television City in Hollywood.
There are no format changes from season 4 and 5. The semi-finals featured the contestants (24 total) divided by gender with the 12 male singers singing on Tuesdays and the 12 female singers on Wednesdays. Each person had the chance to select a song to sing live in front of the judges. Following the show's airing, each U.S. timezone would have two hours to vote by phone or by text-messaging. On Thursday, the two of each group with the lowest amount of votes were eliminated each week until the finals.
Sabrina Sloan (born October 31, 1979) is a 32-year-old (27 at the time of that show) and is originally from Mission Viejo, California but now calls Studio City, CA her home. Sloan toured the United States as part of the Broadway musical Hairspray under her maiden name, Sabrina Scherff. She earned her Bachelor"s degree from Northwestern University in Musical Theatre and Communication Studies. She was later signed to a recording contract with Universal Music Group, as part of a duet with Sundance Head. She was also part of the First National Tour cast with another Broadway musical, In The Heights.
Antonella Maria Barba (born November 26, 1986) is a 25-year-old (20 at the time of that show) who auditioned with her best friend Amanda Coluccio and made it to Hollywood. An undergraduate at The Catholic University of America, she is originally from Point Pleasant, New Jersey. She made it to Round 3 with Coluccio and both passed the group round (although their third member, Baylie Brown, did not). Coluccio was eliminated in the cut for the top 40. While Barba appeared on the show, racy photographs of her emerged, including photographs of Barba topless along with other women on a beach. These pictures received mainstream attention including a February 27, 2007 featured article in USA Today, a full segment concerning the controversy on the February 26, 2007 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and also on multiple episodes of MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann (as recent as March 2007). Photos of Barba posing in a wet t-shirt in the fountain of the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. also surfaced; however, Barba's friend Coluccio has stated that the sexually explicit photos were fake. Barba is currently a non-partisan spokesperson for ElectionMall's Voter Space.
Leslie Hunt (born March 23, 1982), a 30-year-old dog walker (24 at the time of that show) from Chicago, Illinois, who was featured in an American Idol commercial before Season 6 started. She is a self-described indie rocker. She suffers from the autoimmune disease lupus. She is currently the lead singer for progressive rock band District 97.
Alaina Alexander (born July 21, 1982) auditioned in Los Angeles. She is 30 years old (24 at the time of that show) and is from West Hollywood, California. Before her American Idol 6 audition, Alexander revealed that after struggling for six years to make it in the music business in Los Angeles she had decided she was not going to sing anymore and had decided to go to college instead. She considered American Idol to be her last chance to pursue a singing career. For her Los Angeles audition, Alexander sang "Feeling Good" by Michael Bublé.
Nicole Tranquillo (born August 13, 1985) is 27 years old (21 at the time of that show) and is from Wernersville, Pennsylvania. She gained a vocal major at the University of the Arts. She auditioned in Memphis.
Amy Krebs (born May 2, 1984) is 28 years old (22 at the time of that show) and is from Federal Way, Washington. She is fluent in German. She auditioned in Seattle.
Jason "Sundance" Head (born January 22, 1979) auditioned in Memphis and lives in Porter, Texas. He is a 33-year-old (28 at the time of that show) and is the son of Roy Head, who had a number-two single with "Treat Her Right" in 1965; the song was second on the charts to The Beatles, which Jason said made his dad dislike them. He sang the classic hit "Stormy Monday."
Jared Cotter (born June 17, 1981) is from Kew Gardens, New York (listed as Long Island on the show) and attended Newfield High School. He is 31 years old (25 at the time of that show) and auditioned in New York City. Cotter played basketball in college, but quit to start his music career. He currently works at FUSE. His rendition of "Let's Get It On" dedicated to his parents was named one of VH1's most memorable reality moments. Cotter also worked with singer-songwriter Jay Sean, featuring in the album My Own Way and co-writing the Billboard number one song "Down".
Adrian Joseph "A.J." Tabaldo (born January 3, 1986) auditioned in Los Angeles and is from Santa Maria, California. He is 26 years old (21 at the time of that show). Tabaldo is half-Filipino and half-Portuguese, and auditioned for American Idol five times.
Nicholas "Nick" Pedro (born July 9, 1981) is 31 years old (25 at the time of that show). He auditioned in New York and is from Taunton, Massachusetts. Pedro dropped out of the competition the previous season after forgetting the lyrics of "Buttercup" in Hollywood. This audition, he gave a soulful rendition of "Fly Me to the Moon" which earned him a second chance to fulfill his Idol aspirations. Nick's feat seemed especially noteworthy as, unlike all other contestants making it this far, Nick received no experience ever onstage prior to Idol.
Rudy Cardenas (born April 3, 1978) auditioned in Seattle and is from North Hollywood, California. Originally from Venezuela, the 34-year-old (28 at the time of that show) is part of a Los Angeles-based band called M-Pact. In his audition, he sang Journey rock classic "Open Arms". Although Simon was unimpressed with his singing, Rudy made it to Hollywood with the support of the other two judges. In Hollywood, he sang "How Deep Is Your Love" together with Chris Sligh, Blake Lewis, and Tom Lowe in group round. The judges were impressed by their vocals.
Paul Kim (born March 26, 1981) auditioned in Los Angeles. He is from Saratoga, California, and attended Monta Vista High School. Kim is 31 years old (25 at the time of that show), and being Korean-American, his motivation for auditioning was to alter the stereotypical Asian image that William Hung gave during the previous seasons. His performance received unanimous praise from the judges as Randy mentioned that Kim has one of the best male vocals he has heard this season. In contrast to their early praise, the judges mentioned when they put him through that Paul made it to the top 24 by "a split decision". He sang barefoot during all of his performances.
The 12 finalists were announced on March 8, 2007. As in past years, the top 12 will appear on the annual compilation album while the top 10 will be the participants in the American Idol summer concert tour. Also as in past years, one finalist was eliminated every week, with the exception of the April 25 show, when all contestants were declared safe. As a result, two of the participants were eliminated on the May 2, 2007 results program.
The following is first in reverse chronological order by elimination date, then in alphabetical order by family name, where applicable.
Jordin Brianna Sparks (born December 22, 1989) is a -year-old (17 at the time of the show) from Glendale, Arizona who auditioned in Seattle. She was a contestant on America's Most Talented Kid in 2003 and also appeared on the program's Tournament of Champions, on which she sang the Celine Dion ballad "Because You Loved Me" in her auditions. She is the daughter of former NFL defensive back Philippi Sparks. With her win, Jordin became the youngest Idol yet and joins the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks by winning without ever appearing in the bottom two or three.
Blake Colin Lewis (born July 21, 1981) is a -year-old (25 at the time of the show) and auditioned in Seattle, and is from Bothell, Washington. He is a former member of the a cappella group KickShaw. Claiming to be the city's beatboxing champion, Lewis sampled a hip hop tune to the judges before rendering Seal's "Crazy". He passed the auditions but Simon commented to him that "you are not as good as you think you are", reminding him not to be cocky and overconfident in the future.
Melinda Marie Doolittle (October 6, 1977) age (29 at the time of show), auditioned in Memphis, and is from Brentwood, Tennessee. Despite being a professional back-up singer, she admitted she was still tense and nervous about competing in the show. She auditioned with "For Once in My Life" popularized by Stevie Wonder, and was met with universal praise from the three judges on her vocal ability. The judges did express concern about her nerves and told her to believe in herself. Her elimination the week before the finale had many critics and viewers in shock, and Simon Cowell looked extremely disappointed, as he felt that she deserved to be in the finale for "week to week consistency". She has sung back up for Aaron Neville, CeCe Winans, and Season 3 finalist George Huff. She also performed in the "Christmas Time" Tours in 2005 and 2006 for Contemporary Christian singer Michael W. Smith.
LaKisha Ann Jones (born January 13, 1980) a -year-old (27 at the time of show) bank teller who performed "Think" by Aretha Franklin, and is originally from Flint, Michigan. Viewers were first introduced to Jones during the "Best of the Rest" episode. After her audition in New York, LaKisha celebrated with her family and cried tears of happiness with her daughter. She is also the runner up of the Houston show, KPRC Local 2 Gimme the Mike, in 2005. She listed Fort Meade, Maryland as home on her application, and also has a Houston following.
Christopher Michael "Chris" Richardson (born February 19, 1984) is a -year-old (23 at time of show). He is from Chesapeake, Virginia, and auditioned in New York with Leon Russell's A Song for You as interpreted by Donny Hathaway. During Richardson's audition Randy compared him to Justin Timberlake.
Joel Philip "Phil" Stacey (born January 21, 1978) is a -year-old (29 at time of show) and serves in the United States Navy. He auditioned in Memphis and is from Jacksonville, Florida. He missed the birth of his daughter, McKayla, to audition for Idol. He performed two songs before getting through to Hollywood: "My Girl" and "Let's Get It On".
Sanjaya Joseph Malakar (born September 10, 1989) is a -year-old (17 at time of show). He auditioned in Seattle with his sister Shyamali, singing "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours." He is from Federal Way, Washington, the same town as Amy Krebs. After Sanjaya's audition, Simon commented that he had a better voice than his sister. Both made it to Hollywood, but Sanjaya was shown tearfully embracing his sister when he made it to the top 40 in Hollywood and she was cut.
Haley Suzanne Scarnato (born June 15, 1982) is a -year-old (24 at time of show) former wedding band singer. She sang "I Can't Make You Love Me" by Bonnie Raitt during her audition. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Gina Glocksen (born July 4, 1984) is a -year-old (22 at time of show), auditioned in Memphis, and is from Naperville, Illinois. She originally auditioned in Chicago during Season 5 and made it to Hollywood, but she was cut before the Top 40.
Charles Christopher "Chris" Sligh (born April 13, 1978) is a -year-old (28 at time of show), hails from Greenville, South Carolina, and graduated from North Greenville University. He auditioned in Birmingham and sang "Kiss from a Rose" by Seal, after which Paula gave a standing ovation and stated, "I like you very much." Paula, Simon, and Randy laughed at his ambition "to make David Hasselhoff cry" (a nod to the Season 5 finale where David Hasselhoff did, in fact, cry).
Stephanie Edwards (born November 5, 1987) is a -year-old (19 at time of show) and from Savannah, Georgia. She auditioned in Memphis.
Brandon Rogers (born December 11, 1977) is a -year-old (28 at time of show). He auditioned in Los Angeles and is from North Hollywood, California. Rogers has been a backup singer to established artists, performing on Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera's 2003 Justified and Stripped Tour and Anastacia's 2005 Encore Tour. After hearing his audition song, the judges (including guest judge Olivia Newton-John) were impressed with his vocals. Simon Cowell later mentioned he was the best auditioner coming from that city.
The Grand Finale of season 6 aired on May 23, 2007, live from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Jordin Sparks was announced as the winner at 10:05pm EDT (the show ran over its allotted time), with Blake Lewis as the runner-up.
Guest performers included Smokey Robinson, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Gladys Knight and Tony Bennett. Every past winner of Idol also performed, except for Fantasia Barrino who was appearing in The Color Purple in New York City.
After Carrie Underwood performed "I'll Stand by You", Clive Davis gave a speech extolling the state of "the American Idol album franchise", then presented Underwood with a special award for achieving 6 million U.S. album sales for her album Some Hearts.
An ensemble tribute to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band with the past Idol winners as well as the top 12. Included were portions of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" featuring Kelly Clarkson and Joe Perry, "A Day in the Life" featuring Taylor Hicks, "She's Leaving Home" featuring Carrie Underwood, "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" featuring Ruben Studdard, and "With a Little Help from My Friends" from the top 12.
Jordin Sparks performed the songwriter contest winning single "This Is My Now" after the announcement of her victory.
Note: Bottom 2 indicates that the contestant was 'saved' last. This may or may not indicate his or her actual vote rank. Sometimes, Seacrest will announce that the contestant is in the bottom 2, sometimes he will not. On the March 22 show, only the bottom 2 were announced.
^ During the week of April 25, there was no eliminated contestant. That week's votes were added to the votes for the week of May 2, and the bottom two were then eliminated on the May 3 show. It was never noted who received the lowest number of votes, although Stacey was announced as the first to leave, and Richardson second.
"The Crying Girl"
Ashley Ferl is a 13-year-old girl who has become known for crying during Sanjaya Malakar's and other contestants' performances on the Top 11 episode of American Idol 6. Ferl's family, who are from Riverside, California, obtained tickets on a website to attend the dress rehearsal of the program. Since Ferl cried a great deal at the rehearsal, producers offered her family seats for the final taping of the episode.
Ferl started to cry not long after Malakar began his performance of "You Really Got Me", and because of this, Sanjaya came down to give her a hug after his performance. She was also shown crying for several more contestants. She admitted that she not only liked Sanjaya but also many other contestants. She has been asked who her favorite contestant is but replies that she has several favorites. At the end of the show, she went on stage a second time, and got a chance to hug and get autographs from all of the contestants and was introduced to the judges; she received a pair of earrings from Paula Abdul before the show began. Television vans from E!, Access Hollywood and Fox were waiting outside of her house the next day, and, that evening, NBC paid for Ferl's entire family to fly to the taping of the Today Show. She subsequently gave several other radio and news interviews to sources such as MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and Entertainment Tonight.
On the March 8, 2007 results show, Ryan Seacrest announced an initiative to give back to people in poverty in both Africa and the United States (including those affected by Hurricane Katrina). The event took place over two episodes of the series. For every vote cast immediately following the April 24, 2007 broadcast, many sponsors donated funds to the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund. The fund will distribute the money raised to many charities in the US as well as in Africa. News Corporation pledged to donate 10 cents for every vote made to the show for the first 50 million calls, that is, up to $5 million. MySpace created a special profile page for the event in order to spread the word. Donations from viewers were accepted by phone and website during the April 25, 2007 results show, in a manner similar to a telethon. Near the end of the broadcast, Seacrest announced the show raised 30 million US dollars, with the final tally coming on May 1, 2007. As of May 1, 2007, over $70 million has been raised as a result of Idol Gives Back.
Between contestant performances, video vignettes showing the judges and Seacrest visiting and observing squalid conditions in Africa and the United States were aired. Similar vignettes were aired during the results show. For this special, the voting period was doubled to four hours following the show, rather than the usual two. In response to the anticipated call volume, each contestant was assigned two toll free numbers. Over 70 million votes were cast.
The results show was broadcast from two locations"the regular American Idol stage and Walt Disney Concert Hall"and included many celebrity actors and personalities. The show also included numerous performers; for a full list of performances, see the main article. Ellen DeGeneres co-hosted the event from the Disney Hall stage. Proceeds from ticket sales benefited the fund. Videos of the results show's performances are available for purchase on iTunes, with proceeds going to charity.
Due to the "charity" theme of the show, no contestant was eliminated on the April 25 results show. This was a surprise both to viewers, to whom Seacrest promised the "most shocking elimination ever," and to the contestants. When Ryan Seacrest was about to eliminate Jordin Sparks he said since it was a charity night none of the contestants were voted off, and the votes from that week were added to the votes from the following week to eliminate two singers. Both weeks saw a two-hour extension of the regular two-hour voting window, and in the end, the two-week combined voting totaled 135 million votes.
American Idol songwriter contest
On the April 3, 2007 show, Ryan Seacrest announced the first American Idol Songwriter: a songwriting contest. Following an open online submission process where over 25,000 submissions were received, twenty songs were selected for competition by Simon Fuller and A&R representatives of his 19 Entertainment. Beginning May 2, 2007 and ending May 8, 2007, with "one online vote per fan", the American public were able to listen to snippets from each song and rated them on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) on the American Idol Songwriter website. On the May 22, 2007 show, the two finalists performed the winning song, "This Is My Now." The song was released as a single by Jordin Sparks, the winner of American Idol Season 6.
The titles of the twenty songs are:
"Close to Me" - Michael Doane and AnneMarie Milazzo
"Forever Starts Today" - Erin Boheme and CJ Vanston
"If You Ask Me To" - Jennifer Hamady and Shedrick Mitchell
"I'm Going to Be Me" - Lane Lenhart
"In Your Eyes" - Colin Armstrong
"I Saw Stars" - Reed Waddle
"Lost (Without You)" - Cal Harris, Jr.
"Love Me till the Lonely's Gone" - Michael Patzig and Tracey Naples
"The Next Big Thing" - Ray Grant and Sam Sims
"One Night" - Kelley Hill
"Right Here with Me" - Kelli Trontell and Don Gatlin
"Secrets and Lies" - Drew Yowell and Byron Zanos
"Send Me on My Way" - Matthew Rogers and Scott Young
"Someday" - Nelson Kole
"This Is My Now" - Jeff Peabody and Scott Krippayne - Contest Winner
"Tonight" - Kelly Corsino
"Waking in a Dream" - R. J. Martinez and Stacy Hogan
"When You Need a Moment" - Christie Leigh
"With All the Love Your Heart Can Hold" - Robin Randall and Diana De Witt
"You Never Gave Up on Me" - Billy Aerts and Burton Collins
There was controversy surrounding the judges' comments over the audition of a Special Olympics participant named Jonathan Jayne. American Idol pro