American Idol 9 (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
The ninth season of American Idol premiered on January 12, 2010 and concluded on May 26, 2010 on Fox. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi all returned as judges, and Ellen DeGeneres replaced Paula Abdul as the fourth judge. Idol Gives Back also returned for the season and was held on April 21, 2010, during the top seven results show. The top 24 semi-finals format used in the fourth through seventh seasons also returned this season. Judges Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, and Ellen DeGeneres all left the show after this season ended, although only Cowell's departure was announced in advance. This was the second season where neither of the final 2 contestants had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, with the first being the seventh season. This was also the third consecutive season a male contestant had won, the longest streak for either gender. It was the first season since season 6 where a female made it to the finale and was also the first time since season 5 that both the finalists released a different song as a debut single.
Lee DeWyze, a folk rocker from Mount Prospect, Illinois won the competition, beating the runner-up Crystal Bowersox.
After making the decision to utilize guest judges in Abdul's absence, Fox chairman Peter Rice stated that they would find a permanent fourth judge before the season premiere in January 2010, leading the confirmation on September 9, 2009 by Ellen DeGeneres that she would be joining the show as the new permanent fourth judge for the rounds held at CBS Television City for Hollywood Week and thereafter, onto the live shows.
In addition, Simon Cowell announced shortly before the ninth season began that it would be his last season on American Idol. Cowell left the show to begin preparations for an American version of his talent show The X-Factor.
Also, Ellen DeGeneres announced on July 29, 2010 that she would not return to the judging panel because it was not the right fit for her.
Kara DioGuardi would also not return as a judge for season 10 as announced on September 3, 2010.
After her departure, DioGuardi helped and nominated Steven Tyler for a role as a judge on season ten to show's producers.
Auditions had begun on June 14 of the previous year, less than a month after previous season's finale. Auditions were held in the following cities:
During this stage guest judges filled in the fourth judging seat.
During the Atlanta auditions, 62-year-old activist Larry Platt appeared and performed his original song "Pants on the Ground." The song's lyrics criticize people wearing the hip-hop style of clothing including pants that sag. Well over the age limit of 28, Platt was ineligible to continue. His performance has since become a viral hit, and several celebrities performed the song in the days that followed the original airing of his audition in Atlanta.
Held at the Kodak Theatre for the second straight year, the first day of Hollywood Week featured the 181 contestants from the auditions round (although only 172 contestants were listed on the American Idol website) singing solo with the option of playing an instrument. Ninety-six contestants advanced. The next round required the contestants to split up into groups and perform. Seventy-one advanced to the final round of Hollywood requiring a solo performance. Forty-six made it to the final round where the judges take contestants one by one and tell them if they made the final twenty-four.
The semi-final format used through seasons 4"7 has been revived for this season. Starting with 12 women and 12 men, the women and men perform on weekly separate shows and on the result shows, the bottom 2 women and the bottom 2 men are eliminated from the competition. The semi-finals took place over three weeks until there are six women and six men forming the top 12.
From this point on in the show, this season's exit song, "Leave Right Now" by Will Young, was played over eliminations.
Lee DeWyze (born April 2, 1986 in Mount Prospect, Illinois, 23 years at the start of the show) is from Mount Prospect, Illinois and auditioned in Chicago, Illinois with Bill Withers' Ain't No Sunshine. He performed The Fray's "You Found Me" during Hollywood week. Prior to his appearance on American Idol, he had worked in various jobs, including as a paint salesman and a trading floor clerk at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. He also appeared as an actor in a short low-budget film 'Deadscapes: Broken Road.' When he was 17, he was signed to Wuli Records and had released two CDs " So I'm Told and Slumberland. He was declared the winner of Season 9 of American Idol on May 26, 2010. He was signed to RCA Records after the competition and released an album Live It Up on November 16, 2010.
Crystal Bowersox (born August 4, 1985 in Elliston, Ohio, 24 years at the time of the show) is from Elliston, Ohio and auditioned in Chicago, Illinois with Erma Franklin's Piece of My Heart. She auditioned for Idol to try to make a better life for her son. Her Hollywood performance of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman" impressed the judges and fellow contestants alike. She had performed as a singer from the age of 10 and moved to Chicago aged 17, frequently working as a busker at train stations there. She was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 6, and while on the show, she suffered diabetic complication and was hospitalized which resulted in the Top 20 performance nights for the male and female contestants being switched. She became the Season 9 runner-up on May 26, 2010 and was signed to Jive Records. Her debut album Farmer's Daughter was released on December 14, 2010. She was married to Brian Walker on October 10, 2010.
Casey James (born May 31, 1982 in Princeton, Texas, 27 years at the time of the show) is from Fort Worth, Texas and auditioned in Denver, Colorado with John Mayer's "Slow Dancing in a Burning Room." He performed professionally after finishing school, but suffered a serious motorcycle accident when he was 21. He took his shirt off during audition after prompting from Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson, and Kara's interest in him became a recurring joke in the season. He is an accomplished guitarist and demonstrated his skill with his Hollywood round performance of Ray Charles's "I Don't Need No Doctor" and Top 20 performance of Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be." He had never previously watched the show before he auditioned. He was eliminated as a third place finisher on May 19, 2010. He was signed to Sony Music Nashville after the show.
Michael Lynche (born May 31, 1983, 26 years at the time of the show) is from St. Petersburg, Florida auditioned in Orlando, Florida with Todd Duncan' "Unchained Melody". He worked as personal trainer prior to Idol. His is married and his daughter was born during Hollywood round, and the unfolding drama of his wife's labor was heavily featured during the Hollywood round where he performed John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change". He was saved by the judges when he became the lowest vote-getter on April 7, 2010, but finally he was eliminated at fourth place on May 12, 2010.
Aaron Kelly (born April 2, 1993 in Davenport, Florida, 16 years old at the start of the show) is from Sonestown, Pennsylvania and auditioned in Orlando, Florida as a winner from American Idol Experience at Disney's Hollywood Studios. His audition song was Miley Cyrus's "The Climb", and performed Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" during the Hollywood rounds but forgot his words. He was adopted by his aunt and uncle at 5. He had performed from a young age, and was a finalist on PAX-TV's America's Most Talented Kid at the age of 11. He was in 2010 the youngest American Idol contestant to reach Top 12. He was eliminated at fifth place on May 5, 2010.
Siobhan Magnus (born March 15, 1990 in Barnstable, Massachusetts, 19 years at the start of the show) is from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts with Queen's "Love of My Life". Before Idol she performed as the lead vocalist of her band, Lunar Valve, and she worked as a glassblower in Hyannis, Massachusetts. She performed Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" in the Hollywood rounds. She was noted in the show for her ability to sustain a long high-pitched note. She was eliminated as sixth-placed finisher on April 28, 2010.
Tim Urban (born May 1, 1989 in Tacoma, Washington, 20 years at the time of the show) is from Duncanville, Texas and auditioned in Dallas, Texas with Matt Nathanson's Bulletproof Week. He performed David Cook's Come Back To Me during the Hollywood round. He did not qualify initially for the semi-finals but was chosen as a replacement for Chris Golightly who was disqualified for having a prior record deal. He finished at seventh place after being voted off on April 21, 2010.
Katie Stevens (born December 8, 1992 in Southbury, Connecticut, 17 years at the time of the show) is from Middlebury, Connecticut auditioned in Boston, Massachusetts with Glenn Miller's At Last. She looked after her Portuguese grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer's disease, and she is fluent in Portuguese. She performed Jean DuShon's "For Once in My Life" in the Hollywood rounds where Kara DioGuardi considered her a possible season's winner. She finished eighth and exited the competition on April 14, 2010 on a double elimination due to judges's save being used the previous week.
Andrew Garcia (born October 8, 1985 in Moreno Valley, California, 24 years at the time of the show) auditioned in Los Angeles with Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning." He had a good sized following on YouTube prior to auditioning on Idol. He impressed the judges with his performance of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" during the Hollywood rounds, but failed to interest the judges in the later rounds. He was eliminated as joint eighth-place finishers together with Katie Stevens on April 14, 2010.
Didi Benami (born October 25, 1986 in New York, 23 years at the time of the show) is from Knoxville, Tennessee and currently resides in Hollywood. She auditioned in Los Angeles, California with The Beatles' "Hey Jude." She was inspired to audition by her best friend who died in a traffic accident. She was notable during the Hollywood rounds for her performance of Kara DioGuardi-penned Katharine McPhee's song "Terrified." She finished tenth after being eliminated on March 31, 2010.
Paige Miles (born September 26, 1985, 24 years at the time of the show) is from Naples, Florida and auditioned in Dallas, Texas. She was eliminated in eleventh place on March 24, 2010. She performed Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City" in the Hollywood rounds which she considered her favorite moment prior the semi-final. Simon Cowell considered her to have the best voice amongst the girls.
Lacey Brown (born August 13, 1985, 24 years at the time of the show) is from Amarillo, Texas and auditioned in Orlando, Florida with Judy Garland's Over the Rainbow. She had previously made it to the Hollywood round in season eight of American Idol but lost out to Megan Joy at Top 50. Ryan Seacrest noted that her chilling performance of What a Wonderful World by Louie Armstrong had a major part in her advancing into the Top 24. She was the first finalist to be voted off on March 17, 2010.
As in season 8, the judges were given one save that they could use before the top 5 week. They used the save for Michael Lynche during top 9 week.
Since season 7, the voting results are seemingly skewed towards Caucasian contestants, and critics believe that it was Caucasian female viewers who vote only for Caucasian male contestants. During top 20 week, all four eliminated contestants were non-Caucasian. Season 9 has the fewest non-Caucasian finalists of any season. This led to criticism of bias in favor of Caucasians.
Chris Golightly was originally selected as semi-finalist. According to reports, Chris was disqualified on February 17, 2010, after already being told he was in the top 24, over an old contract. The contract had