|Host(s) Ryan Seacrest||Finals venue Kodak Theatre|
|Broadcast from January 16 – May 23, 2007|
Judges Paula Abdul Simon Cowell Randy Jackson
Broadcaster Fox Broadcasting Company
Origin Glendale, Arizona, U.S.
The sixth season of American Idol premiered on the Fox Broadcasting Company as a two-night, four-hour premiere special on January 16 and January 17, and ran until May 23, 2007. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson returned to judge once again, and Ryan Seacrest returned as host. A new record of 74 million votes were cast in the finale round, and a new record of 609 million votes were cast in the entire season (the seasonal total record was surpassed by the tenth season and the finale vote record was broken by the eleventh season). Jordin Sparks won the competition with Blake Lewis as the first runner-up and Melinda Doolittle finishing third. Jordin Sparks is also the youngest winner of the competition, winning at age 17, as well as the first winner from outside the Southern United States. Sparks remained the last female winner until the twelfth season.
- Regional auditions
- Hollywood week
- Cut down to 24
- Semi finalists
- Top 24
- Top 20
- Top 16
- Top 12 finalists
- Top 12 – Diana Ross
- Top 11 – British Invasion
- Top 10 – No Doubt/Songs That Inspired Gwen Stefani
- Top 9 – American Classics
- Top 8 – Latin
- Top 7 – Country
- Top 6 (second week) – Bon Jovi
- Top 4 – Barry Gibb
- Top 3 – Judges' Choice, Producers choice, Contestants Choice
- Top 2 – Contestant Choice, Previous Song, Winning Song
- Grand Finale
- Elimination chart
- Idol Gives Back
- American Idol songwriter contest
- Other Idol contestants
- US Nielsen ratings
- UK edition
- Major releases
- iTunes/AmericanIdol.com EPs
- Individual albums
- Minor or independent releases
- Related shows
The Auditions were held in the following cities:
Auditioning contestants were required to be between the ages 16 and 28 on August 6, 2006 (born between August 7, 1977 and August 6, 1990). Guest judges were used for audition this season.
Guest judges –
Jewel – Minneapolis audition
Carole Bayer Sager – New York audition
Olivia Newton-John – Los Angeles audition
Many of the people who auditioned had trouble with the double doors, with many often going towards the wrong door on their way out; this was spoofed by Idol later in the season with "audition footage" featuring Tony Bennett. This did not seem to be a problem for the seventh season as both doors were accessible.
An elderly man named Sherman Pore auditioned in Los Angeles this year after a successful petition drive to convince the producers to waive the age-limit rule so he can audition. He explained that he did it to ease the pain and suffering of his female companion who was dying of cancer, but had died shortly before he can audition before the judges. He later released an album for the benefit of cancer research. Another contestant that year was Melissa Sgambelluri, also known as "Fountain girl" for her appearance in the promo and opening sequence celebrating in a fountain after winning her golden ticket.
Jordin Sparks, the eventual winner this season, failed to pass through her audition in Los Angeles, but later won an audition in Seattle as a reward for winning a local Fox-affiliate-sponsored contest called Arizona Idol.
The Hollywood rounds of the audition process were held over four days in November 2006 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
The first round consisted of each contestant singing one song a capella of their own choosing in front of the judges and all the other contestants of the same gender. Contestants were then told whether they were moving on or going home, in groups of six. This extended over the first two days, first females, then males.
The second round took place on the second and third day, and consisted of groups of three or four contestants choosing, rehearsing, and then performing one of nine pre-selected songs. Groups were reviewed and contestants were then judged individually as to whether they were moving on or going home.
The third round took place on the fourth day, and consisted of individual contestants performing a song from a pre-selected list, accompanied by a piano and backup singers. Contestants were again informed of whether they had made the cut or not.
Cut down to 24
The final pre-audience voting cut down took place at the Pasadena Civic Center on January 14 or 15, 2007, just before the regional audition shows began airing. Without any further auditioning, but possibly with some audience research having taken place, the 40 remaining contestants were reduced to 24. In a process taking a whole day, contestants wait in a sitting room until one by one, they go up an elevator and take a long walk to the other end of the Center's Gold Room. Then the three judges told them whether they have made it onto the stage show or are cut. Those cut at this phase included the "fountain girl" in the opening credits, Melissa Sgambelluri.
The 24 semi-finalists were announced February 14, 2007.
The semi-finals began on February 20. There were three shows each week for the three weeks of the semi-finals. The February 20 through May 16 shows originated from CBS Television City in Hollywood.
The semi-finals featured the contestants (24 total) divided by gender with the 12 male singers singing on Tuesdays and the 12 female singers on Wednesdays. Each person had the chance to select a song to sing live in front of the judges. Following the show's airing, each U.S. timezone would have two hours to vote by phone or by text-messaging. On Thursday, the two of each group with the lowest amount of votes were eliminated each week until the finals.
Group Performance: Sowing the Seeds of Love" (Tears for Fears)
Guest Performance: Fantasia: "I'm Here" from The Color Purple.
Group Performances: "Joy to the World" (Three Dog Night)
Guest Performance: Kellie Pickler: "I Wonder"
Group Performance: Stealers Wheel" (Stuck in the Middle with You)"
Guest Performance: Carrie Underwood: "Wasted"
Top 12 finalists
The 12 finalists were announced on March 8, 2007. As in past years, the top 12 will appear on the annual compilation album while the top 10 will be the participants in the American Idol summer concert tour. Also as in past years, one finalist was eliminated every week, with the exception of the April 25 show, when all contestants were declared safe. As a result, two of the participants were eliminated on the May 2, 2007 results program.
The following is first in reverse chronological order by elimination date, then in alphabetical order by family name, where applicable.
Top 12 – Diana Ross
Mentor: Diana Ross
Group Performance: "Where Did Our Love Go", "Baby Love" and "Stop! In The Name of Love" (The Supremes)
Guest Performance: Diana Ross: "More Today Than Yesterday"
Top 11 – British Invasion
Mentors: Peter Noone and Lulu
Guest Performances: Peter Noone: "There's a Kind of Hush" and Lulu: "To Sir, With Love"
Top 10 – No Doubt/Songs That Inspired Gwen Stefani
Mentor: Gwen Stefani
Guest Performance:"The Sweet Escape" (Gwen Stefani and Akon)
Top 9 – American Classics
Mentor: Tony Bennett
Guest Performance: Michael Bublé: "Call Me Irresponsible"
Top 8 – Latin
Mentor: Jennifer Lopez
Group Performance: "Bailamos" (Enrique Iglesias)
Guest Performance: Akon: "Don't Matter" and Jennifer Lopez: "Qué Hiciste"
Top 7 – Country
Mentor: Martina McBride
Group Performance: "I'm Alright" (Jo Dee Messina)
Guest Performance: Fergie: "Big Girls Don't Cry" and Martina McBride: "Anyway"
Top 6 (second week) – Bon Jovi
Mentors: Jon Bon Jovi and David Bryan
Guest Performance: Robin Thicke: "Lost Without U" and Bon Jovi: "(You Want to) Make a Memory"
Top 4 – Barry Gibb
Mentor: Barry Gibb
Group Performance: medley of Barry Gibb songs
Guest Performance: Pink: "Who Knew" and Barry Gibb: "To Love Somebody"
Top 3 – Judges' Choice, Producers choice, Contestants Choice
Guest Performances: Elliott Yamin: "Wait for You" and Maroon 5: "Makes Me Wonder"
Top 2 – Contestant Choice, Previous Song, Winning Song
Guest Performance: Daughtry: "Home"
The Grand Finale of season 6 aired on May 23, 2007, live from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles. Jordin Sparks was announced as the winner at 10:05pm EDT (the show ran over its allotted time), with Blake Lewis as the runner-up.
Guest performers included Smokey Robinson, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Gladys Knight and Tony Bennett. Every past winner of Idol also performed, except for Fantasia Barrino who was appearing in The Color Purple in New York City.
After Carrie Underwood performed "I'll Stand by You", Clive Davis gave a speech extolling the state of "the American Idol album franchise", then presented Underwood with a special award for achieving 6 million U.S. album sales for her album Some Hearts.
Note: Bottom 2 indicates that the contestant was 'saved' last. This may or may not indicate his or her actual vote rank. Sometimes, Seacrest will announce that the contestant is in the bottom 2, sometimes he will not. On the March 22 show, only the bottom 2 were announced.
^Note 1 During the week of April 25, there was no eliminated contestant. This was due to Idol Gives Back telethon performance so that Top 6 remained intact for another week. That week's votes were added to the votes for the week of May 2, and the bottom two were then eliminated on the May 2 results show. It was never noted who received the lowest number of votes, although Stacey was announced as the first to leave, and Richardson second.
"The Crying Girl"
Ashley Ferl, the then 13-year-old girl, became known for crying during Sanjaya Malakar's and other contestants' performances on the Top 11 episode of American Idol 6. Ferl's family, who are from Riverside, California, obtained tickets on a website to attend the dress rehearsal of the program. Since Ferl cried a great deal at the rehearsal, producers offered her family seats for the final taping of the episode.
Ferl started to cry not long after Malakar began his performance of "You Really Got Me", and because of this, Sanjaya came down to give her a hug after his performance. She was also shown crying for several more contestants. She admitted that she not only liked Sanjaya but also many other contestants. She has been asked who her favorite contestant is but replies that she has several favorites. At the end of the show, she went on stage a second time, and got a chance to hug and get autographs from all of the contestants and was introduced to the judges; she received a pair of earrings from Paula Abdul before the show began. Television vans from E!, Access Hollywood and Fox were waiting outside of her house the next day, and, that evening, NBC paid for Ferl's entire family to fly to the taping of the Today Show. She subsequently gave several other radio and news interviews to sources such as MSNBC, Fox News Channel, and Entertainment Tonight.
Saturday Night Live spoofed both Malakar and Ferl following the former's elimination. Kristen Wiig portrayed Ferl in the sketches. Ferl has also been spoofed on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Live with Regis and Kelly and Family Guy, as well as mentioned on Best Week Ever and The Soup and shown on Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Ashley Ferl returned during Malakar's performance in the finale and was again crying. She was briefly spoofed on Meet the Spartans.
Ferl appeared on the show yet again during season seven, crying over contestant Jason Castro.
At 16 years old, Ferl auditioned for season 9 of the show, but did not make it to Hollywood.
Two years later Ashley Ferl auditioned for Season 11, and once again did not make it to Hollywood.
Idol Gives Back
On the March 8, 2007 results show, Ryan Seacrest announced an initiative to give back to people in poverty in both Africa and the United States (including those affected by Hurricane Katrina). The event took place over two episodes of the series. For every vote cast immediately following the April 24, 2007 broadcast, many sponsors donated funds to the Charity Projects Entertainment Fund. The fund will distribute the money raised to many charities in the US as well as in Africa. News Corporation pledged to donate 10 cents for every vote made to the show for the first 50 million calls, that is, up to $5 million. MySpace created a special profile page for the event in order to spread the word. Donations from viewers were accepted by phone and website during the April 25, 2007 results show, in a manner similar to a telethon. Near the end of the broadcast, Seacrest announced the show raised 30 million US dollars, with the final tally coming on May 1, 2007. As of May 1, 2007, over $70 million has been raised as a result of Idol Gives Back.
Between contestant performances, video vignettes showing the judges and Seacrest visiting and observing squalid conditions in Africa and the United States were aired. Similar vignettes were aired during the results show. For this special, the voting period was doubled to four hours following the show, rather than the usual two. In response to the anticipated call volume, each contestant was assigned two toll free numbers. Over 70 million votes were cast.
The results show was broadcast from two locations—the regular American Idol stage and Walt Disney Concert Hall—and included many celebrity actors and personalities. The show also included numerous performers; for a full list of performances, see the main article. Ellen DeGeneres co-hosted the event from the Disney Hall stage. Proceeds from ticket sales benefited the fund. Videos of the results show's performances are available for purchase on iTunes, with proceeds going to charity.
Due to the "charity" theme of the show, no contestant was eliminated on the April 25 results show. This was a surprise both to viewers, to whom Seacrest promised the "most shocking elimination ever", and to the contestants. When Ryan Seacrest was about to eliminate Jordin Sparks he said since it was a charity night none of the contestants were voted off, and the votes from that week were added to the votes from the following week to eliminate two singers. Both weeks saw a two-hour extension of the regular two-hour voting window, and in the end, the two-week combined voting totaled 135 million votes.
American Idol songwriter contest
On the April 3, 2007 show, Ryan Seacrest announced the first American Idol Songwriter: a songwriting contest. Following an open online submission process where over 25,000 submissions were received, twenty songs were selected for competition by Simon Fuller and A&R representatives of his 19 Entertainment. Beginning May 2, 2007 and ending May 8, 2007, with "one online vote per fan", the American public were able to listen to snippets from each song and rated them on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) on the American Idol Songwriter website. On the May 22, 2007 show, the two finalists performed the winning song, "This Is My Now." The song was released as a single by Jordin Sparks, the winner of American Idol Season 6.
The titles of the twenty songs are:
Other Idol contestants
Six of the contestants from different seasons auditioned for the subsequent season and made into the Top 24.
US Nielsen ratings
American Idol ended the season as the top show of the 2006–2007 TV season. Its Wednesday episodes ranked first with an average of 30.02 million viewers, followed by the Tuesday episodes which averaged 29.54 million. The premiere episode became the series' highest rated debut episode, viewed by 37.44 million viewers and receiving a 15.8/36 Nielsen rating in the Adult 18-49 demographic.
For the UK back-to-back repeat of the performance and results shows on the following Friday night on ITV2, Cat Deeley presents additional sections preceding and following each commercial break, and follows the end of the show with a short interview with that week's eliminated contestant.
Unlike previous seasons the top 12 compilation album did not come out while the show was airing. The top 12 recorded studio versions of each of the songs they sang on the show. The songs were available for purchase on AmericanIdol.com as digital downloads through the night of the finale. Sparks' and Lewis' songs (except Sparks' "Livin' on a Prayer") remained available on the Idol website and iTunes Store through June 20, 2007,.
Originally, a collage of the finalists' head shots from the top 24 photo shoot was used as album art on AmericanIdol.com, with the title American Idol 6: Greatest Moments; at present, the covers of Sparks' and Lewis' EPs are used instead. The American Idol: Season 6 – "Greatest Hits" & "The Collector's Edition" were eventually released on June 12, 2007 on iTunes/Americanidol.com. This is the only season that the season's collection is not distributed by Sony BMG/RCA Records.
Sparks' first non-American Idol single was the top hit (peaking at number eight) "Tattoo", which received platinum certification. Her second single was the Billboard Hot 100 number three hit "No Air" with Chris Brown. The song went to number one in several countries, and also topped Billboard's Pop Airplay chart. "No Air" had been certified platinum in April but recently passed the 3 million copies mark. It stands as the best-selling single by any Idol contestant. Sparks released a third single off her album, "One Step at a Time", which peaked at number 17. "One Step at a Time" has so far sold over a million copies and is certified platinum. Sparks released her second album Battlefield in July 2009. The album's title track became Jordin's fifth top 20 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 10. This makes Jordin Sparks the only American Idol contestant to have their first five singles become Top 20 Hits.
Blake Lewis's first single was "Break Anotha!", which failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100. His second single, "How Many Words", also failed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 25 in the Bubbling Under chart (Hot 100 equivalent = 125). Shortly afterward, Lewis confirmed that he had been dropped by Arista records. His album sales are just over 300,000. The drop also canceled his apparent plans for a third single release.
"This Is My Now" as performed by Jordin Sparks was released as a radio single. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 chart at number 15.
On May 24, 2007, the winner Jordin Sparks and runner-up Blake Lewis released five-song EPs on iTunes Store; though only iTunes calls them "EPs", they are also available as "bundles" for the same price on AmericanIdol.com through June 20, 2007.
Sparks' EP contained the winner's single, "This Is My Now", as well as four songs she performed on Idol: "I (Who Have Nothing)", "A Broken Wing", "To Love Somebody", and "Wishing on a Star".
Lewis' EP did not contain "This Is My Now"; all of the tracks were songs he performed on the show: "You Give Love a Bad Name", "Time of the Season", "I Need to Know", "Love Song", and "When the Stars Go Blue".
On June 12, 2007, Apple released five song EPs for the rest of the top 12 finalists (Melinda Doolittle, LaKisha Jones, Chris Richardson, Phil Stacey, Sanjaya Malakar, Haley Scarnato, Gina Glocksen, Chris Sligh, Stephanie Edwards and Brandon Rogers) along with the compilation album as a collector's edition of the season's songs. Each of the songs are also available for individual purchase.
Minor or independent releases
Phil Stacey, tied for fifth place with Chris Richardson, is now signed to Lyric Street and has released his first single "If You Didn't Love Me". Richardson recently produced his first single, "All Alone." Tenth place finalist Chris Sligh recently released a Christian album after signing with Brash Music.
Note: this does not include pre-Idol releases
Source – IdolsMusic.com
TV Guide Channel brought back a second season of Idol Tonight, the live pre-show to American Idol, which aired on Wednesdays starting in March. The show features former Idol runner-up Justin Guarini as a correspondent along with Kimberly Caldwell and Rosanna Tavarez. Additionally American Idol Extra, a behind-the-scenes show, also returned for a second season, corresponding with the start of the finals in March. It aired Thursdays on Fox Reality.