“American Idol” debuted in 2002 during the reality TV boom and ran for 15 seasons on Fox. The show, which is now being eyed for a reboot at NBC, gave unknown singers the chance to win a recording contract, and during its long run that ended in 2016 ended up producing many successful stars including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Phillip Phillips. Click through our photo gallery above to see who won each season of “American Idol.”
Among the many folks who didn’t win, a few still became household names including Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (“Dreamgirls,” 2006), Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (“Rock of Ages,” 2009) and television star Katharine McPhee (“Scorpion”).
While the show’s judges continued to rotate in and out, host Ryan Seacrest remained the one constant, assisting nervous contestants for all 15 seasons. Seacrest was among the inaugural Emmy nominees for Best Reality Host and scored six consecutive nominations (2008-2013). For its final season in 2016, Seacrest was given one last deserving farewell nomination but lost to RuPaul Charles.
While “American Idol” was a ratings juggernaut and made celebrities out of its contestants the show itself was never an awards favorite. It was nominated for Best Reality-Competition Program nine consecutive years (2003-2011) but never won that race. The show did however win the Television Critics Association Award for Program of the Year in 2003.
“American Idol” earned a Governors Award at the Emmys in 2007 for their “Idol Gives Back” special and a second in 2016 for the conclusion of its 15-year run. In addition, the series won a total of eight competitive Emmys over the years:
Best Technical Direction (2007)
Best Picture Editing of Clip Packages (2008)
Best Variety Directing for Bruce Gowers (2009)
Best Technical Direction (2009)
Best Lighting Direction (2009)
Best Variety Art Direction (2009)
Best Variety Sound Mixing (2011)
Best Technical Direction (2011)