The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.
Hopefuls audition in Los Angeles, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, and Savannah. They include a choreographer from Tennessee, a hostess from Colorado and a personal assistant from Alabama, perform for the judges.
In this first episode of Hollywood Week, Idol hopefuls from across the country head to the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood to battle it out in solo and group performances in hopes of making it through to the showcase round.
Idol hopefuls head to Exchange LA for the Showcase Round, where contestants perform solos in front of a live crowd and the judges. Following the performances, the judges sit down with each contestant for the Final Judgment and reveal which finalists made it through to the Top 24.
The Top 10 perform fan-favorite Disney songs live from coast to coast, with the voting results for the triple elimination revealed by the end of the show. Idina Menzel serves as mentor to the contestants.
The Top 7 perform live from coast to coast, with the voting results for the double elimination revealed by the end of the show. Each contestant performs a song by Prince, and a song from their birth year. Nick Jonas mentors the contestants. Sheila E. plays percussion with Kris Pooley and the house band.
The Top 5 perform live from coast to coast, with the voting results for the double elimination revealed by the end of the show. Each contestant performs a song dedicated to moms, and a song from the catalogue of Carrie Underwood, who mentored the contestants this week. Carrie also performs "Cry Pretty."
The winner is announced. Musical performances by Bebe Rexha, Darius Rucker, Gary Clark Jr, Kermit the Frog, Nick Jonas + Mustard, Patti LaBelle, Yolanda Adams, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and the American Idol contestants.