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Season 7

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American Idol Season 7
Amlogo

Winner David Cook

Coronation Song
Created by
Simon Fuller
Directed by
John Pritchett
Country of Origin
United States
Channel
Fox
Held from
January 15, 2008 – May 21, 2008
Previous Season
Next Season

The seventh season of American Idol, the annual reality show and singing competition, began on January 15, 2008 and concluded on May 21, 2008. Ryan Seacrest continued to host the show with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson returning as judges.

Rock singer David Cook was announced the winner of the competition on May 21, 2008, defeating runner-up David Archuleta by a margin of roughly 12 million votes out of over 97 million, the highest recorded total in the show's history. The split was 56 percent to 44 percent.

The seventh season was the first season during which neither the winner nor the runner-up were ever in the bottom two or three during any week before the finale on May 21, 2008. It was also the second season during which both the winner and the runner-up were male contestants, with the second season being the first and season 8 being the third.

Changes From Season 7Edit

The show made some changes for the seventh season, including: allowing contestants to play musical instruments, an element that originated on Australian Idol and can also be seen on Norway's Idol and Canadian Idol; building a brand new set; and creating a new introduction credit sequence. There would also be fewer celebrity mentors so that the producers could focus more on the contestants. The season finale also moved from the Kodak Theatre to the larger Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

AuditionsEdit

For Season 7, auditions were held in the following cities:

  • San Diego, California: Qualcomm Stadium - July 30 & July 31
  • Dallas, Texas: Texas Stadium - August 6 & August 7
  • Omaha, Nebraska: Qwest Center Omaha - August 10 & August 11
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia Dome - August 14 & August 15
  • Charleston, South Carolina: North Charleston Coliseum - August 18 & August 19
  • Miami, Florida: American Airlines Arena - August 22 & August 23
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Wachovia Center - August 27 & August 28

Contestants were required to be between the ages of 16 and 28 on July 28, 2007, and eligible to work in the United States. Those ineligible include former contestants who reached the top 40 of past seasons, those holding recording or management contracts, or those who are not US citizens or landed immigrants (i.e. permanent residents).

HollywoodEdit

As in years past, the Hollywood round took place at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, over a period of four days. A total of 164 contestants were invited from the seven audition cities. This year the process was altered slightly to ensure that no talent would be prematurely dismissed. There was also no group round.

On the first day, all of the contestants took the stage individually and sang for the judges. For the first time ever, contestants had the option of either being accompanied by the band or playing an instrument themselves. Some were shown playing the keyboard, guitar, or even the drums. If the judges approved of the contestant's performance, they received a "free pass" to the third day of auditions. Unlike previous seasons, contestants whose performances were not considered good enough were given a second chance on day two. They were required to line up on stage in small groups and sing a short segment of a song "a cappella." After each group had finished, the judges cut those they felt were not talented enough. Those who were not cut joined the recipients of the free passes on day three of the Hollywood round. Each of these remaining contestants sang with the band, as well as three backup singers, a setup similar to the one used in the semifinals and finals. This replaced the group performances required in past seasons. After each performance, the judges decided whether or not to cut the contestant. By the end of the day, only 50 contestants were remaining. The judges then deliberated on who would be in the Top 24, and their decision was revealed at the end of the process.

Semi-finalsEdit

The following contestants were Season 7's Top 24 contestants. The Top 24 had to sing a song from the 1960s to earn a spot in the Top 20. The second week, they had to sing a song from the 1970s for the Top 16 and the last week, they will sing a song from the 1980s for the finals.


Males:

David Hernandez Chikezie David Cook Jason Yeager Robbie Carrico David Archuleta
Danny Noriega Luke Menard Colton Berry Garrett Haley Jason Castro Michael Johns

Females:

Kristy Lee Cook Joanne Borgella Alaina Whitaker Amanda Overmyer Amy Davis Brooke White
Alexandréa Lushington Kady Malloy Asia'h Epperson Ramiele Malubay Syesha Mercado Carly Smithson

Top 12 FinalistsEdit

The following contestants were Season 7's Top 12

Males

Top12cast

The Finalists; Standing: Amanda Overmyer Jason Castro, David Cook, Chikezie, Michael Johns, Carly Smithson and Kristy Lee Cook; Seated: Syesha Mercado, David Hernandez, Ramiele Malubay, Brooke White and David Archuleta

Females

FinalsEdit

Top 12 performEdit


During the first round of the finals, the Top 12 performed a song from the Lennon-McCartney Songbook for a spot in the Top 11.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap6

David Hernandez was the first contestant to be eliminated on March 12, 2008 bringing the total down to 11 remaining contestants.

Top 11Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 11.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "All My Loving"/"I Feel Fine"/"Can't Buy Me Love"/"Help!" by The Beatles

Top 11 performEdit


During this round of the finals, the Top 11 performed a song from the The Beatles for a spot in the Top 10.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap10

Amanda Overmyer was the second contestant the be eliminated on March 19, 2008, bringing the total down to 10 remaining contestants.

Top 10Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 10.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "While My Guitar Gently Weeps"/"Here, There and Everywhere"/"Because"/"The End" by The Beatles

Top 10 performEdit


During this round of the finals, the Top 10 performed a song from their birth year for a spot in the Top 9.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap1

Chikezie was the eliminated contestant on March 26, 2008, bringing the total down to 9 remaining contestants.

Top 9Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 9.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "Right Back Where We Started From" by Maxine Nightingale.

Top 9 performEdit


During this round of the finals, the Top 9 performed a song from Dolly Parton for a spot in the Top 8.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap8

Ramiele Malubay was the eliminated contestant on April 2, 2008, bringing the total down to 8 remaining contestants.

Top 8Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and remained in the Top 8.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "9 to 5" by Dolly Parton

Top 8 performEdit


During this round of the finals, the Top 8 performed an inspirational song for a spot in the Top 7.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap7

Michael Johns was the eliminated contestant on April 10, 2008, bringing the total down to 7 remaining contestants.

Top 7Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 7.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "Shout to the Lord" by Hillsong

Top 7 performEdit


During this round of the finals, the Top 7 performed a song from Mariah Carey for a spot in the Top 6.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap5

Kristy Lee Cook was the eliminated contestant on April 16, 2008, bringing the total down to 6 remaining contestants.

Top 6Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 6.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey with Boyz II Men

Top 6 performEdit


During this round of the finals, the Top 6 performed a song composed by theater impersario Andrew Lloyd Webber for a spot in the Top 5.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap11

Carly Smithson was the eliminated contestant on April 23, 2008, bringing the total down to 5 remaining contestants.

Top 5Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 5.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "All I Ask of You" from The Phantom of the Opera.

Top 5 performEdit


During this round of the finals, each contestant will perform two songs from Neil Diamond for a spot in the Top 4.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap12

Brooke White was the eliminated contestant on April 30, 2008, bringing the total down to 4 remaining contestants.

Top 4Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 4.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "Cracklin' Rosie"/"Song Sung Blue"/"Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" by Neil Diamond

Top 4 performEdit


During this round of the finals, each contestant will perform two songs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for a spot in the Top 3.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap3

Jason Castro was the eliminated contestant on May 7, 2008, bringing the total down to 3 remaining contestants.

Top 3Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 3.

PerformancesEdit

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "Reelin' in the Years" by Steely Dan

Top 3 performEdit


During this round of the finals, the Top 3 performed a song picked by the Judges, a song of their choice and a song picked by a producer for a spot in the Top 2.

Eliminated ContestantEdit

Cap9

Syesha Mercado was the eliminated contestant on May 14, 2008, bringing the total down to 2 remaining contestants.

Top 2Edit

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 2.

PerformancesEdit

(The first round of performances were chosen by the judges, the second round was the contestant's choice and the final round were chosen by the producers). The contestants performed in the following order:

Group performance:

  • "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" by McFadden & Whitehead

Top 2 performEdit


During the final round of the finals, the Top 2 performed a song picked by Clive Davis, their winner single, and a song of their choice for a spot as Season 7's American Idol.

Runner-upEdit

Cap2

David Archuleta was the runner-up of Season 7. David Cook being the winner.

PerformancesEdit

(The first performance was a song from their favorite performances, the second was a song chosen by their personal idol, and the last was their winner single). The contestants performed in the following order:

WinnerEdit

Cap4

David Cook was the winner of American Idol Season 7 on May 21, 2008.

Results PerformancesEdit

ControversiesEdit

Contestants' past music industry experienceEdit

This controversay started due to reports that revealed that contestant Carly Smithson had previously been signed to MCA Records long before she had ever tried out for the show. The report further revealed that MCA had reportedly spent $2 million promoting Smithson's first album, Ultimate High, which she had recorded as a teenager under her maiden name, Hennessy. The album ended up selling 378 copies, resulting in Smithson getting dropped, but is now available on iTunes. To complicate matters, Randy Jackson had been working for MCA during that time. The media also noted that fellow contestants such as Kristy Lee Cook, Michael Johns, and Brooke White also had had previous record deals (Winner David Cook had released a solo independent album, Analog Heart, in 2007 and was working on another but was never signed to a record label nor had a managemnt deal). The reports began a discussion on whether contestants with previous music industry experience should try out for shows like American Idol.

David Hernandez's pastEdit

Before the live shows for the top 12 started, the anti-Idol website Vote For The Worst revealed that contestant David Hernandez had previously worked as a male stripper in Phoenix, Arizona. According to the owner of the club, he claimed that part of Hernandez's job included a routine involving full nudity and lap dances. There are some who suspect that this information may have resulted in Hernandez, considered an early frontrunner at the time, finishing in 12th place.

David Archuleta's fatherEdit

As the season progressed, stories began emerging about contestant David Archuleta's father Jeff being a stage father. The accusations ranged from him being way too pushy to having too much imput on his son's song selections. This came to a head during top 4 week (Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame week) when David sang the Ben E. King classic "Stand By Me" and sang a line that wasn't in the song. It was later revealed that the lyric was from the 2007 Sean Kingston hit "Beautiful Girls", which sampled "Stand By Me". The show's producers, due to complaints from fans, finally banned Jeff Archuleta from the backstage area and banned him from having any say in his son's song choices.

Michael Johns Elimination Edit

During the results show after Idol Gives Back night, frontrunner Michael Johns was eliminated from the season. This had many fans and even the judges stunned giving that the previous two weeks, Johns got rave reviews for his performances. It was also a shocker given he was up against two people (Carly Smithson and Syesha Mercado) who had gotten bad and average reviews from the judges and the viewing public. Host Ryan Seacrest also caused some controversy after getting Johns and his fans hopes up that they wouldn't eliminate a contestant, like they did the previous season before.

Notable past Idol contestantsEdit

  • Colton Swon, who auditioned in Dallas, was cut on the last day of Hollywood week. In 2013, he auditioned with his brother Zach as part of the duo The Swon Brothers and finished in 3rd place on season 4 of the NBC singing show The Voice. The duo's mentor was country superstar Blake Shelton.
  • Chris Watson, who auditioned in Philadelphia, was cut in Las Vegas but would later audition for the show again in season 12 and make the top 40.
  • Danny Noriega, who had made it to the top 16, competed in Rupaul's Drag Race under the name "Adore Delano"
Season 7
Finalists
David Cook · David Archuleta · Syesha Mercado  · Jason Castro · Brooke White · Carly Smithson · Kristy Lee Cook · Michael Johns · Ramiele Malubay · Chikezie · Amanda Overmyer · David Hernandez
American Idol
Seasons
1  · 2  · 3  · 4 · 5  · 6  · 7  · 8  · 9  · 10  · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15
Judges
Simon Cowell (Seasons 1-9)  · Paula Abdul (Seasons 1-8) · Randy Jackson (Seasons 1-12) · Kara DioGuardi (Seasons 8-9) · Ellen DeGeneres (Season 9) · Steven Tyler (Seasons 10-11)  · Nicki Minaj (Season 12)  · Mariah Carey (Season 12) · Jennifer Lopez (Seasons 10-11,13-15)  · Keith Urban (Seasons 12-15)  · Harry Connick, Jr. (Seasons 13-15)
Hosts
Ryan Seacrest (Seasons 1-15) · Brian Dunkleman (Season 1)
Winners
Kelly Clarkson · Ruben Studdard · Fantasia Barrino · Carrie Underwood · Taylor Hicks · Jordin Sparks · David Cook · Kris Allen · Lee DeWyze · Scotty McCreery · Phillip Phillips · Candice Glover · Caleb Johnson · Nick Fradiani · Trent Harmon
Runners-up
Justin Guarini · Clay Aiken · Diana DeGarmo · Bo Bice · Katharine McPhee · Blake Lewis · David Archuleta · Adam Lambert · Crystal Bowersox · Lauren Alaina · Jessica Sanchez · Kree Harrison · Jena Irene · Clark Beckham · La'Porsha Renae
Coronation Songs
"A Moment Like This" · "Flying Without Wings" · "I Believe" · "Inside Your Heaven" · "Do I Make You Proud" · "This Is My Now" · "The Time of My Life" · "No Boundaries" · "Beautiful Day" · "I Love You This Big" · "Home" · "I Am Beautiful" · "As Long As You Love Me" · "Beautiful Life" · "Falling"
Spin-offs
From Justin to Kelly · Juniors · Christmas

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