The attraction was announced on February 7, 2008, although specifics were not made public at that time. American Idol season 6 winner Jordin Sparks unveiled its official name and projected opening date during the American Idol season 7 finale on May 21, 2008.
Disney is licensing the show's logos and set design from American Idol's production companies, 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia. The attraction is located in the newly-named "Superstar Television Theater" (formerly the "ABC TV Theater"), which originally was home to Superstar Television, one of the first attractions to open at the park in 1989.
The attraction's grand opening took place on February 14, 2009, with occasional preview performances in the weeks leading up to the official opening. A press event just prior to the official opening featured many "Idol" celebrities, including all seven winners, numerous finalists, host Ryan Seacrest, judge Paula Abdul and "American Idol" creator Simon Fuller.
Park guests age 14 and older auditioned before a Disney "producer" who would judge singers based on their ability to sing and perform in front of an audience. As with the auditions for the television show, initial auditions will be a cappella. Selected singers will advance to a second round, where they select from a song list provided by the producers and audition again, this time with pre-recorded music; to ensure that guests hear a wider variety of songs, singers may only select songs that have not previously been chosen that day. Those who pass the second audition will be scheduled into one of the preliminary shows each operating day.
The attraction features a number of preliminary shows each day, with one finals show in the evening. At each preliminary show, guests perform before a live audience inside the attraction's main theater, designed to resemble the television show's stage. Using electronic keypads at their seats, the audience will then vote for their favorite singer, who will return for the final show of the day.
Finale Show and Dream TicketEdit
The last show of each operating day will feature the winners of that day's preliminary shows. Again, the live audience votes for the performer they like the best. Each day's final winner will receive a "Dream Ticket" that will allow him or her to bypass the queue at one of the regional American Idol auditions for the television show, provided he or she meets the show's age and residency requirements. If the winner is not eligible, he or she will be allowed to transfer the "Dream Ticket" to another person, or save the ticket until the age limit is met.