American Juniors (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
American Juniors also known as 19 Juniors was a reality television series broadcast on the Fox Network as a spin-off of the immensely popular American Idol, created by Simon Fuller and 19 Television, FremantleMedia, directed by Bruce Gowers and produced by Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. It was very similar to the adult American Idol, much like the British series S Club 8 was to S Club 7. The first and only season of American Juniors aired in the summer of 2003. It was taped in Hollywood, California.
Around 2,000 children and teenagers auditioned for the show; from these twenty were chosen as contestants. Throughout the season, this number was narrowed down to ten through several rounds of voting. Like American Idol, voting was done by the show's viewers via telephone. Unlike Idol, to prevent hurt feelings, the contestants were voted into the group, as opposed to being voted off the show. Idol host Ryan Seacrest repeated this duty for most of the shows. Idol judges did not appear (other than one satellite hookup with Simon Cowell from the second season of Pop Idol); the principal Juniors judges were Gladys Knight (who also hosted when Seacrest was absent), Deborah Gibson, and Jordan Knight (former member of New Kids on the Block). A number of Idol alumni, such as Ruben Studdard and Christina Christian, made guest performances
Ratings and aborted second season
American Juniors became one of the highest rated television shows of the summer season, with approximately 11.9 million viewers on June 3, though the numbers dropped 40% toward the end of July. Nonetheless, the producers were satisfied of the strong teen demographic. A second edition had been planned for fall 2003, later postponed to the summer after American Idol (Season 3), then called off.
Seeing children and young adolescents competing gave some viewers a sour taste as the show had many "stage parents" in the wings.
Following the show
The American Juniors made a brief appearance on the December 2003 American Idol Christmas special, An American Idol Christmas. Their debut album American Juniors was released on October 26, 2004 after a year's delay from its original scheduled date.
The American Juniors group disbanded in 2005. The members seem to be pursuing individual efforts and there is little publicity about them as a group. The show website became inactive in April 2005, but the music website remains intact as an archive. In May 2005, the Thompson sisters' website announced they were now out on their own.
Radio stations that play children's music (e.g, Disney, or digital radio) still occasionally play the music of American Juniors.