Auditions for Season 4 started in August 2004 in Cleveland, Ohio. An audition was originally planned for Anchorage, Alaska, but that was cancelled about a month before due to possible schedule conflict as a result of hurricanes affecting the Orlando auditions. Auditions were held from August to October 2004, and over 100,000 people attended the auditions for the first time.^a The audition venue was originally advertised to be Las Vegas Convention Center, but changed to Orleans Arena at the last minute.
^b The contestants from the Orlando audition were moved to Las Vegas for the final round of the audition due to the impending Hurricane Ivan. It was originally scheduled for September 6–7, 2004, but rescheduled to September 14, 2004 to coincide with the Las Vegas audition.
While in the past seasons celebrity guest judges have been invited to participate during the competition, this was the first season where guest judges were invited to participate in the auditions. The music celebrities featured were:January 18 (Washington auditions), Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray
January 25 (New Orleans auditions), Gene Simmons of KISS
January 26 (Las Vegas auditions), Kenny Loggins
February 1 (Cleveland auditions), LL Cool J
February 2 (San Francisco audition), Brandy
Where there were four judges present, three yeses were required for the auditioner to proceed on to Hollywood.
It is also the first season in which the age limit was raised to 28, in order to increase variety. Among those who benefited from this new rule were Constantine Maroulis and Bo Bice, considered to be the eldest (and most experienced) of Idol contestants. They were also constantly mentioned by Ryan Seacrest and in the media as "the two rockers", since their long hair and choice of songs made them stand out from conventional Idol standards. Scott Savol and Nadia Turner also benefited from the change.
The audition episodes featured the Molfetta twins multiple times. They first auditioned in New Orleans but both failed, Rich Molfetta tried again in Las Vegas and got through to the Hollywood, but J.P. Molfetta failed in his audition in San Francisco.
Because of the highly unbalanced finals in Season 3 where female contestants formed the clear majority (8 to 4) of the Final 12, rules for the semifinals were changed so as to give an equal number of male and female finalists. From this season to season seven, and again for season nine, 12 men and 12 women competed separately on consecutive nights, with 2 of each gender being voted off each week in the result shows until 12 finalists were left, 6 men and 6 women.^Note 1 Smith was originally eliminated during the results show. However, Vazquez withdrew the competition and Smith was called back to replace him for the final 12.
Carrie Underwood (born March 10, 1983 in Muskogee, Oklahoma, 21 years old at the start of the season) is a farm girl from Checotah, Oklahoma and she auditioned in St. Louis, Missouri with Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me". She performed Candi Staton's "Young Hearts Run Free" in Hollywood week but forgot part of the lyrics.
Bo Bice (born November 1, 1975 in Huntsville, Alabama, 29 years old during the season) is from Helena, Alabama, and auditioned in Orlando, Florida with The Allman Brothers Band's "Whipping Post". He performed The Box Tops's "The Letter", The Temptations' "Get Ready" for the group round in the Hollywood week. He wanted to introduce rock to American Idol. Prior to Idol he performed professionally and released an album with his band Purge.
Vonzell Solomon (born March 18, 1984 in Baxley, Georgia, aged 20 at the start of the season) is from Fort Myers, Florida and auditioned in Orlando, Florida with Aretha Franklin's "Chain of Fools". She is proficient in the martial arts. She performed Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know" in the Hollywood round.
Anthony Fedorov (born May 4, 1985 in Yalta, Ukraine, 19 years old at the show) is from Trevose, Pennsylvania and auditioned in Cleveland, Ohio with Jon Secada's "Angel" . He had difficulty breathing when he was little and had a tracheotomy about which his doctor expressed concern that he might not be able to speak again. He performed Diana Ross' "When You Tell Me That You Love Me" and reprised Jon Secada's "Angel" during Hollywood week.
Scott Savol (born April 30, 1976 in Cleveland, Ohio, aged 28 at the start of the season) is from Shaker Heights, Ohio and auditioned in Cleveland with The Carpenters' "Superstar". He performed Four Tops's "I Can't Help Myself" in the group round in Hollywood week.
Constantine Maroulis (born September 17, 1975 in Brooklyn, New York, 29 in the show) is from New York and auditioned in Washington DC with Aerosmith's "Cryin'". He wanted to bring an edgy New York City's rock and roll to American Idol. Prior to Idol he was in a band Pray for the Soul of Betty and worked in musical theatre. In the Hollywood week, he performed The Box Tops's "The Letter" and Four Tops's "I Can't Help Myself" for the group round.
Anwar Robinson (born April 21, 1979 in Newark, New Jersey, aged 25 at the start of the season) is from East Orange, New Jersey and auditioned in Washington, DC. He was a music teacher before Idol. He performed Four Tops's "I Can't Help Myself" for the group round in the Hollywood.
Nadia Turner (born January 11, 1977 in Miami, Florida, 28 during the show) auditioned in San Francisco with Aretha Franklin's "Until You Come Back to Me".
Nikko Smith (born April 28, 1982 in San Diego, California, aged 22 at the start of the season) is from St. Louis, Missouri and auditioned there with his birth name Osborne Smith. He performed Stevie Wonder's "All I Do". In Hollywood, he performed The Temptations' Get Ready in Bo Bice's group.
Jessica Sierra (born November 11, 1985 in Tampa, Florida, aged 19 at the start of the season) auditioned in Orlando with Etta James' "At Last". She worked as a nanny before Idol. In the Hollywood week, she performed Diana Ross' "When You Tell Me That You Love Me"
Mikalah Gordon (born January 14, 1988 in Las Vegas, Nevada, 17 years old at the show) auditioned in Las Vegas with Ella Fitzgerald's "Lullaby of Broadway" and Lauryn Hill's "Killing Me Softly with His Song". She performed Dusty Springfield's "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" in the Hollywood rounds.
Lindsey Cardinale (born February 5, 1985 in Hammond, Louisiana, 20 years old at the show) is from Ponchatoula, Louisiana and auditioned in New Orleans with Karla Bonoff's "Standing Right Next to Me". She performed The Supremes' "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" during Hollywood week.
Result Show: When You Tell Me That You Love Me by Diana Ross.
Result Show: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother by Kelly Gordon.Note 1: This song hit number one on the R&B chart.
Result Show: Everything Is Beautiful by Ray Stevens
Result Show: When You Tell Me That You Love Me by Diana Ross (1991).
Result Show: You Can Shine by Earth, Wind & FireNote 1: Both Savol and Fedorov were in the Bottom 3 with Robinson, however it was never revealed whether they were in the Bottom 2 or not.
Result Show: Emotion by Samantha Sang.
Result Show: Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel.
Result Show: Islands in the Stream by Kenny Rogers/
Each contestant sang three songs.
Each contestant sang three songs.
The fourth season finale featuring Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood aired May 24 May 25. It featured appearances by former auditioners, and celebrity cameos by Kenny G, Rascal Flatts, David Hasselhoff, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, George Benson, Billy Preston, Babyface and Lynyrd Skynyrd. The winner of the competition was Carrie Underwood, who would eventually become the second "Idol" winner to sweep all three major music awards (American Music, Billboard, and Grammy Award) in a single season (for 2006-07).
In a nod to the "Diana knew she'd been eliminated by the performance order" controversy of Idol 3, neither contestant sang the winner's single, "Inside Your Heaven", before the results were announced.
Underwood's first single, "Inside Your Heaven", debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 14, 2005 and had first-week sales of 170,000 copies. One week later, runner-up Bo Bice released his version of the song, which debuted at number two.
Note: Bottom 2 indicates that the contestant was 'saved' last. This may or may not indicate his or her actual vote rank.^Note 1 Nikko Smith was originally eliminated in a semi-finals, but was called back after Mario Vasquez withdrew from the competition for personal reasons.
^Note 2 Owing to a mix-up in which incorrect phone numbers were displayed on-screen for three contestants during the March 22 performance show, American Idol eliminated nobody on its Wednesday, March 23 results show and instead conducted a full re-vote. Mikalah Gordon was sent home on Thursday, March 24.
The computer program DialIdol, which allows voters to autodial their votes and uses the dialing results to make predictions about the eliminations, was in development during season 4. It was finished by Top 6 week and was used to predict the voting results from the Top 6 to Top 2. However, the dialing program was not made available to the general public until season 5.
During the season, Corey Clark, a season two contestant who was disqualified for having an undisclosed arrest record, alleged in an interview on ABC's Primetime Live that he had an affair with Paula Abdul while on the show. The finale show included a parody segment spoofing the alleged scandal.
Votefortheworst.com, of Survivor Sucks, which campaigned voting for Scott Savol, made headlines when Savol outlasted Constantine Maroulis and made it into the final five.
On the Top 11, the show had a voting error in which three of the contestants had their numbers mixed up. The Wednesday show which was supposed to be the elimination night made fans revote again as the numbers were fixed and Thursday was the elimination.
Bo Bice was revealed to have been arrested on a felony cocaine possession charge in June 2001 at a strip club in Madison County, Ala., and was also arrested two years later for marijuana possession, public intoxication, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Scott Savol was also revealed to have been convicted of a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for domestic violence. However, no action was taken against either of them by the show producers because they had revealed their misdemeanor in advance.Melissa Lawson, a member of this season's top 75, was announced as the winner of the sixth season of Nashville Star on August 4, 2008.
JR Aquino, who made it to Hollywood week, appeared on the third season of The Voice in 2012 and was eliminated during the battle rounds.
Curtis Finch, Jr., a contestant of the twelfth season, who was originally auditioned for this season, did not make it past into the audition round.
Season 4 of American Idol had an overall average viewership of 26.8 million and was the top show for the 2004–2005 TV season. Its Tuesday episodes averaged 27.32 million (ranked first) while the Wednesday episodes averaged 26.07 million (ranked third). It also drove Fox, for the first time ever, to become the top network in the 18-to-49 demographic for the season.
Note 1: The Top 11 Wednesday night was a repeat performance night due to a mix-up in the phone numbers for the contestants. The result show was moved to Thursday.
The compilation album for this season was performed by the top twelve finalists.
(This list does not include pre-Idol releases)