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The seventh season of American Idol, the annual reality show and singing competition, began on January 15, 2008 and concluded on May 21, 2008. Ryan Seacrest continued to host the show with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson returning as judges. David Cook was announced the winner of the competition on May 21, 2008, defeating runner-up David Archuleta by a margin of roughly 12 million votes out of over 97 million, which was the highest recorded vote total ever recorded in the show's history, until the following season's finale. The split was 56 percent to 44 percent.

The seventh season was the first season during which neither the winner nor the runner-up were ever in the bottom group during any week before the finale on May 21, 2008. It was also the second season during which both the winner and the runner-up were male contestants, with the second season being the first, and the eighth season being the third.

Changes from past seasons

The show made some changes for the seventh season, including: allowing contestants to play musical instruments, an element that originated on Australian Idol and can also be seen on Norway's Idol and Canadian Idol; building a brand new set; and creating a new introduction credit sequence. There would also be fewer celebrity mentors so that the producers could focus more on the contestants. The season finale also moved from the Kodak Theatremarker to the larger Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Early process

Regional auditions

For Season 7, auditions were held in the following cities:



Contestants were required to be between the ages of 16 and 28 on July 28, 2007, and eligible to work in the United States. Those ineligible include former contestants who reached the top 40 of past seasons, those holding recording or management contracts, or those who are not US citizens or landed immigrants (i.e. permanent residents).

Hollywood phase

As in years past, the Hollywood round took place at the Pasadena Civic Centermarker in Pasadena, Californiamarker, over a period of four days. A total of 164 contestants were invited from the seven audition cities. This year the process was altered slightly to ensure that no talent would be prematurely dismissed.

On the first day, all of the contestants took the stage individually and sang for the judges. For the first time ever, contestants had the option of either being accompanied by the band or playing an instrument themselves. Some were shown playing the keyboard, guitar, or even the drums. If the judges approved of the contestant's performance, they received a "free pass" to the third day of auditions. Unlike previous seasons, contestants whose performances were not considered good enough were given a second chance on day two. They were required to line up on stage in small groups and sing a short segment of a song "a cappella." After each group had finished, the judges cut those they felt were not talented enough. Those who were not cut joined the recipients of the free passes on day three of the Hollywood round. Each of these remaining contestants sang with the band, as well as three backup singers, a setup similar to the one used in the semifinals and finals. This replaced the group performances required in past seasons. After each performance, the judges decided whether or not to cut the contestant. By the end of the day, only 50 contestants were remaining. The judges then deliberated on who would be in the Top 24, and their decision was revealed at the end of the process.

Semi-finalists

Male semi-finalists

Semi-finalists Danny Noriega and Kady Malloy.
Daniel 'Danny' Anthony Noriega (born September 29, 1989 in Azusa, Californiamarker) is a 20-year-old (18 at the time of the show) who auditioned in San Diego. He previously auditioned for Idol in season 6 and made it to Hollywood week but was cut in the first round. His elimination song was "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell. Shortly following his elimination, Noriega received an offer from Rosie O' Donnell to perform on her cruise. Danny is currently in the recording stage of an album.
  1. "Jailhouse Rock" (Elvis Presley)
  2. "Superstar" (The Carpenters)
  3. "Tainted Love" (Soft Cell) - Eliminated March 6, 2008
Luke Menard (born December 1, 1978 in Crawfordsville, Indianamarker) is a 30-year-old (29 at the time of the show) who auditioned in Omahamarker with "Bend and Break" by Keane. In Hollywood, he sang "Arthur's Theme " by Christopher Cross and "Grace Kelly" by Mika. Previously, he auditioned for the sixth season in Memphismarker and sang "How Deep Is Your Love" but did not make it to Hollywood. Prior to Season 7 of Idol, he was a member of the a cappella group Chapter 6 and has toured with them for the past 6 years, as well as appearing on their albums and DVD. After leaving Idol, Menard was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma. He successfully went through chemotherapy and will soon be undergoing radiation therapy.
  1. "Everybody's Talkin'" (Fred Neil)
  2. "Killer Queen" (Queen)
  3. "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (Wham!) - Eliminated March 6, 2008
Robert "Robbie" Carrico (born November 13, 1981 in Beckley, West Virginiamarker) is a 27-year-old (26 at the time of the show) from Melbourne, Floridamarker who auditioned for the show in Miami. His professional singing career prior to American Idol includes being a member of the pop group Boyz N Girlz United, which opened for Britney Spears during her "...Baby One More Time" tour in 1999. The band's song "Messed Around" was written and produced by JC Chasez from *NSYNC. It was revealed that he also dated Britney Spears briefly around that time.
  1. "One" (Harry Nilsson)
  2. "Hot Blooded" (Foreigner) - Eliminated February 28, 2008
Jason Yeager (born August 26, 1979) is a 29-year-old (28 at the time of the show) from Grand Prairie, Texasmarker who auditioned in Dallas. He appeared and was a finalist on the first season of Making the Band, the MTV reality show that led to the formation of boy band O-Town. He released a Christian album called The Heart of Me in 2008
  1. "Moon River" (Andy Williams)
  2. "Long Train Running" (The Doobie Brothers) - Eliminated February 28, 2008
Colton Berry (born October 11, 1989) is a 19-year-old (18 at the time of the show) from Staunton, Virginiamarker who auditioned in Charleston.
  1. "Suspicious Minds" (Elvis Presley) - Eliminated February 21, 2008
Garrett Haley (born August 1, 1990) is an 18-year-old (17 at the time of the show) from Elida, Ohiomarker, who auditioned in San Diegomarker.
  1. "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" (Neil Sedaka) - Eliminated February 21, 2008


Female semi-finalists

Asia'h Epperson (born August 20, 1988) is a 20-year-old (19 at the time of the show) from Joplin, Missourimarker who auditioned in Atlanta singing "How Do I Live." Two days before the auditions, her father died in a car accident. Her elimination song was "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston. She currently has a few songs of her own on her MySpace page, including a cover of "Can't Buy Me Love". She now lives in Atlanta, GA and is working on her new album.
  1. "Piece of My Heart" (Janis Joplin)
  2. "All by Myself" (Eric Carmen)
  3. "I Wanna Dance with Somebody " (Whitney Houston) - Eliminated March 6, 2008
Kady Malloy (born May 9, 1989) is a 19-year old (18 at the time of the show) from Houstonmarker, Texasmarker who auditioned in Dallas. She became known on the show for her impersonation of Britney Spears and can also impersonate several other artists. Malloy is trained in opera singing. Her elimination song was "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen. She has released several songs to her MySpace and shot a video for a cover of "Time After Time" with Colton Berry. Simon's comment after her audition was: "Out of all of the people we have seen during this season you are the best." She was in the trio Whitaker Malloy with Alaina and Brittney Whitaker (Alaina was a fellow Idol contestant). The group had opened at least one show for Travis Tritt.
  1. "A Groovy Kind of Love" (The Mindbenders)
  2. "Magic Man" (Heart) - Bottom 3 February 28, 2008
  3. "Who Wants to Live Forever" (Queen) - Eliminated March 6, 2008
Alaina Whitaker (born February 21, 1991) is a 18-year-old (17 at the time of the show) contestant from Tulsa, Oklahomamarker who auditioned in Dallas. She is a member of the female country group Chasing Dixie along with Andrea Young and Erin James. Before the show, she and her sister won a talent competition in Tulsa, beating one of David Cook's bands, Midwest Kings. Whether or not Cook was in the band at the time is unknown. Her group Chasing Dixie is working on their debut album in Nashville. The group has opened up for numerous major country acts including Travis Tritt, and Keith Anderson, who is also known as the groups Mentor.
  1. "More Today Than Yesterday" (The Spiral Starecase)
  2. "Hopelessly Devoted to You" (Olivia Newton-John) - Eliminated February 28, 2008
Alexandréa Lushington (born February 13, 1991) was 17 at the time of the show from Douglasville, Georgiamarker who auditioned in Atlanta. In 2004, she sang against fellow Idol semi-finalist David Archuleta on an episode of the television show Star Search.
  1. "Spinning Wheel" (Blood, Sweat & Tears)
  2. "If You Leave Me Now" (Chicago) - Eliminated February 28, 2008
Joanne Borgella (born May 29, 1982) is a 26-year-old (25 at the time of the show) model from Hoboken, New Jerseymarker who auditioned in Philadelphia. Before auditioning for Idol, she appeared in and won Mo'Nique's Fat Chance.
  1. "I Say a Little Prayer" (Dionne Warwick) - Eliminated February 21, 2008
Amy Davis (born June 19, 1982) is a 26-year-old (25 at the time of the show) professional model from Lowell, Indianamarker. She auditioned in Dallas.
  1. "Where the Boys Are" (Connie Francis) - Eliminated February 21, 2008


Semifinals weekly song themes

 
  • Week 1: 1960s
  • 
     
    
  • Week 2: 1970s
  • 
     
    
  • Week 3: 1980s
  • 
    


    Top 12 finalists

    David Cook
    David Cook (born December 20, 1982 in Houstonmarker, Texasmarker) is a 26-year-old (24 at the time of the auditions and 25 at the time of the show) native of Blue Springs, Missourimarker who auditioned in Omaha, Nebraska. Cook's interest in music began early in life; he received his first guitar at the age of 2. Prior to Idol he worked as a bartender at the "Blank Slate" in Tulsa, where he would also occasionally play shows. He released an album entitled Analog Heart. He enjoys doing crossword puzzles in his spare time and calls himself a "word nerd." On May 21, 2008, he was declared winner over finalist David Archuleta.Since the Top 12 week, he has also been wearing an orange wristband to support a seven-year-old fan with leukemia. He was never in the "bottom three".
    David Archuleta
    David Archuleta (born December 28, 1990 in Miamimarker, Floridamarker) is an 18-year-old (16 at the time of the auditions and 17 at the time of the show) from Murray, Utahmarker who auditioned in San Diego. In 2003, at the age of 12, he sang on several episodes of the television show Star Search and went on to win the season finale and the $100,000 grand prize. On one episode, he competed against Alexandréa Lushington, who was a fellow semi-finalist this season. He was never in the "bottom three".
    1. "Shop Around" (Smokey Robinson & the Miracles)
    2. "Imagine" (John Lennon)
    3. "Another Day in Paradise" (Phil Collins)
    4. "We Can Work It Out" (The Beatles)
    5. "The Long and Winding Road" (The Beatles)
    6. "You're the Voice" (John Farnham)
    7. "Smoky Mountain Memories" (Dolly Parton)
    8. "Angels" (Robbie Williams)
    9. "When You Believe" (Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston)
    10. "Think of Me" (The Phantom of the Opera)
    11. "Sweet Caroline" (Neil Diamond)
    12. "America" (Neil Diamond)
    13. "Stand By Me" (Ben E. King)
    14. "Love Me Tender" (Elvis Presley)
    15. "And So It Goes" (Billy Joel) (Paula Abdul's choice)
    16. "With You" (Chris Brown) (contestant's choice)
    17. "Longer" (Dan Fogelberg) (producers' choice)
    18. "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Elton John) (Clive Davis's choice) - Runner Up May 21, 2008
    19. "In This Moment" (written by Ryan Gillmor) (contestant's choice new song) - Runner Up May 21, 2008
    20. "Imagine" (John Lennon) (contestant's choice) - Runner Up May 21, 2008
    Syesha Mercado
    Syesha Mercado (born January 2, 1987 in Bridgeport, Connecticutmarker) is a 22-year-old (21 at the time of the show) from Sarasota, Floridamarker who auditioned in Miami. She is a student at Florida International Universitymarker and has been singing and dancing since she was a child. During Hollywood week, she became ill and almost completely lost her voice. In preparation for her final audition, she went on voice rest and wrote down everything she had to say on a pad of paper. Prior to American Idol, she appeared on the aborted US version of Star Academy (known as The One: Making a Music Star when it aired on ABC in July 2006 for two weeks). Ironically, Kara DioGuardi, who was one of the coaches on the Endemol franchise, joined Idol for Season 8.
    1. "Tobacco Road" (The Nashville Teens)
    2. "Me and Mrs. Jones" (Billy Paul)
    3. "Saving All My Love for You" (Whitney Houston)
    4. "Got to Get You into My Life" (The Beatles) - Bottom 3 March 12, 2008
    5. "Yesterday" (The Beatles)
    6. "If I Were Your Woman" (Stephanie Mills) -Bottom 3 March 26, 2008
    7. "I Will Always Love You" (Dolly Parton)
    8. "I Believe" (Fantasia) - Bottom 3 April 10, 2008
    9. "Vanishing" (Mariah Carey) - Bottom 3 April 16, 2008
    10. "One Rock & Roll Too Many" (Starlight Express) - Bottom 2 April 23, 2008
    11. "Hello Again" (Neil Diamond)
    12. "Thank the Lord for the Night Time" (Neil Diamond)
    13. "Proud Mary" (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
    14. "A Change Is Gonna Come" (Sam Cooke)
    15. "If I Ain't Got You" (Alicia Keys) (Randy Jackson's choice) - Eliminated May 14, 2008
    16. "Fever" (Peggy Lee) (contestant's choice) - Eliminated May 14, 2008
    17. "Hit Me Up" (Gia Farrell) (producers' choice) - Eliminated May 14, 2008
    Jason Castro
    Jason Castro (born March 25, 1987) is a 22-year-old from (20 at the time of the show) Rockwall, Texasmarker who auditioned in Dallas. He started in music playing the drums. In high school, he played for a band, Keeping Lions, which has since disbanded. In 2006, he appeared on Cheyenne Kimball's MTV reality TV series, as her real-life dating interest. Castro is the first person in his family, which is originally from Colombiamarker, to be born in the United States. He is a student at Texas A&M Universitymarker, with a construction science major and music minor. He began growing his hair out for dreadlocks during his senior year of high school.
    Brooke White
    Brooke White (born June 2, 1983 in Mesa, Arizonamarker) is a 26-year-old (24 at time of show) nanny from Van Nuys, Californiamarker who auditioned in Philadelphia. During her audition, she admitted to never having seen an R-rated movie, prompting Cowell to state that the show will "bring her over to the dark side." In 2005, she released an album titled Songs from the Attic under New Millennium Records.
    Carly Smithson
    Carly Smithson (born September 12, 1983 in Dublinmarker, Irelandmarker) is a 26-year-old (24 at the time of that show) professional singer and bartender/waitress from San Diegomarker, Californiamarker, where she has been living for the past three years. Smithson previously signed a recording contract with major USA label MCA Records and released an album in 2001 entitled Ultimate High under her birth name, Carly Hennessy. The album sold approximately 300 copies in the first three months following its release. Smithson was also a contestant in season five, but was dropped from the show due to a problem with her visa.
    100 px
    Kristy Lee Cook (born January 18, 1984) is a 25-year-old (24 at the time of that show) horse trainer from Selma, Oregon who sold her prized horse in order to afford the trip to audition in Philadelphia. In 2001, she was signed to a major label, Arista Nashville. Cook also signed with Britney Spears' production company, and Spears herself was supposed to have a cameo in Cook's first video. At the time of signing, she was managed by the former manager of LeAnn Rimes. In 2005, she released a CD called Devoted with Ren-Hen Records. Since appearing on the show, Kristy Lee Cook has released an album entitled "Why Wait", which peaked on #8 on the Billboard country charts. The album contained a single, "15 Minutes of Shame", which peaked in the Top 30 on the Billboard country charts. As of December 2008, she has been dropped from Arista Nashville.
    1. "Rescue Me" (Fontella Bass)
    2. "You're No Good" (Linda Ronstadt)
    3. "Faithfully" (Journey)
    4. "Eight Days a Week" (The Beatles) - Bottom 3 March 12, 2008
    5. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" (The Beatles) - Bottom 3 March 19, 2008
    6. "God Bless the USA" (Lee Greenwood)
    7. "Coat of Many Colors" (Dolly Parton) - Bottom 3 April 2, 2008
    8. "Anyway" (Martina McBride)
    9. "Forever" (Mariah Carey) - Eliminated April 16, 2008
    Michael Johns
    Michael Johns (born as Michael Lee on October 20, 1978 in Perth, Western Australiamarker) is a 31-year-old (29 at the time of that show) Australian rock/soul singer/songwriter. He moved to the United States from Australia in 1998 and lived in Buckhead marker for six years, performing at local venues solo and with local band Film. He has since lived in Los Angeles, Californiamarker. After recording a demo and traveling to Los Angeles to showcase for a number of labels in 2001, he signed with Maverick Records and formed a rock band called The Rising.Before focusing on his singing career, he was a sportsman, winning a tennis scholarship and playing Australian rules football for the USAFL club Atlanta Kookaburras.
    Ramiele Malubay
    Ramiele Malubay (born September 6, 1987 in Saudi Arabiamarker) is a 22-year-old (20 at the time of that show) Filipino-American from Miramar, Floridamarker who auditioned in Miami. She was raised in the Philippinesmarker. Prior to auditioning on Idol, she was a nursing student at Broward Community Collegemarker and worked part-time at a sushi restaurant. She started Polynesian Dancing when she was in the first grade and started singing at the age of twelve. Since the age of 12, Ramiele has sung at various Filipino-American events..
    Chikezie
    Chikezie (born Chikezie Eze on September 11, 1985 in Inglewood, Californiamarker) is a 24-year-old (22 at the time of that show) Nigerian American from Inglewood, Californiamarker who auditioned in San Diego. During the competition, he dropped using his last name because it was so frequently mispronounced ('eh-zee' and not 'EE-zee'). He previously auditioned for the show's sixth season, and made it into the Hollywood Round, where he was cut before the top 44. Before auditioning for Idol, he worked as a TSA officer at Los Angeles International Airportmarker.
    Amanda Overmyer
    Amanda Overmyer (born October 26, 1984) is a 25-year-old (23 at the time of that show) Harley-riding nurse from Mulberry, Indianamarker who auditioned in Atlanta. She received a nursing degree from Ivy Tech Community College and deals predominantly in respiratory issues. She has been the lead singer of several local hard rock bands, including Steeleto and Ruinaces. Before Hollywood week, she was in a near-fatal car accident. She is engaged to Casey Taylor. Since her elimination, she has been slated to play at The Whisky a Go Gomarker bar in West Hollywood, and is also reportedly in talks to play her real-life musical influence Janis Joplin in a film about the aforementioned bar. Since appearing on the show, Amanda has released a rock album entitled "Solidify". The album is only available on the official Amanda Overmyer website as of January 3, 2009.
    David Hernandez
    David Hernandez (born May 31, 1983 in Glendale, Arizonamarker) is a 26-year-old (24 at the time of that show) from Glendale, Arizonamarker and a student at Arizona State Universitymarker with a major in Broadcast Journalism. He gave up his apartment to move to Hollywoodmarker. Until September 30, 2007, Hernandez worked as a male stripper named "Caden" at Dick's Cabaret in Phoenix, Arizonamarker, performing fully nude and giving lap dances to male patrons. This did not prevent him from being on the show.

    Weekly song themes



    Results night performances

    During the Hollywood weeks, "Hollywood's Not America" by Ferras played when contestants were eliminated, while "Best Days" by Graham Colton was the elimination song for the semi-finals round. For the finals, season 2 winner Ruben Studdard remade Kenny Loggins' "Celebrate Me Home" as the exit song.

    Group song

    The contestants also performed medleys of songs from that week's theme.

    Other performances

    In addition, songs are played during the elimination night to promote an artist, single, album, or the show itself. Included is a list of those songs with their Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Digital Songs reactions. This chart does not include finale performances.
    Week Performer(s) Title Hot 100

    Reaction
    Hot Digital Songs

    Reaction
    Notes
    Top 24 Paula Abdul

    Randy Jackson
    "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow" #62 (+18 - new peak) #36 (32,215 copies sold) (+559%) music video premiere
    Top 20 No performer
    Top 16 Blake Lewis "How Many Words" Failed to chart #128 (10,182 copies sold) (+999%) performed live
    Top 12 Katharine McPhee

    David Foster
    "Something" Failed to chart Ineligible to chart

    (No legal digital release)
    McPhee performed live

    Foster on piano
    Top 11 Kellie Pickler "Red High Heels" Ineligible to re-enter Failed to re-enter performed live
    Top 10 Kimberley Locke "Fall" Failed to chart Failed to chart performed live
    Top 9 The Clark Brothers "This Little Light of Mine" Failed to chart Failed to chart performed live
    Dolly Parton "Jesus and Gravity" Failed to chart Failed to chart performed live
    Top 8 Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown "No Air" #3 (+4 - new peak) #4 (153,648 copies sold) (+34%) performed live
    Top 7 Elliott Yamin "Free" Failed to chart Failed to chart performed live
    Mariah Carey "Bye Bye" #23 (debut) #11 (60,037 copies sold) (+999%) performed live
    Top 6 Leona Lewis "Bleeding Love" #1 (return for 4th week) #1 (235,880 copies sold) (+30%) performed live
    Top 5 Natasha Bedingfield "Pocketful of Sunshine" #8 (+11 spots - new peak) #4 (134,830 copies sold) (+110%) performed live
    Neil Diamond "Pretty Amazing Grace" Failed to chart Failed to chart performed live
    Top 4 Maroon 5 "If I Never See Your Face Again" #57 (debut) #21 (42,983 copies sold) (+999%) performed live
    Bo Bice "Witness" Failed to chart Failed to chart performed live
    Top 3 Fantasia "Bore Me (Yawn)" Failed to chart Ineligible to chart

    (No legal digital release)
    performed live
    Top 2 Ruben Studdard "Celebrate Me Home" Failed to chart Failed to chart* performed live at end of May 20, 2008 show



    *"Celebrate Me Home" was removed from iTunes the day after it was performed. It reached the top 60 before it was removed.

    Elimination chart

       {| border="2" cellpadding="4" style="background:gray; border:1px solid gray; border-collapse:collapse; margin:0 1em 1em 0; text-align:center;"
    |-
            |+ Legend
            |-
            | style="background:pink;" width="20%" | Female
            | style="background:cyan;" width="20%" | Male
            | style="background:palegoldenrod;" width="20%" | Top 12
            | style="background:#CCCCCC;" width="20%" | Top 24
           |}
    


           {| border="2" style="border:1px solid gray; border-collapse:collapse;"
           | style="background:#FFFFCC; padding-left: 1em;" width="20%" | Safe first
           | style="background:#FFFF99; padding-left: 1em;" width="20%" | Safe second
           | style="background:#FFFF00; padding-left: 1em;" width="20%" | Eliminated
           |}
    


           
    


           
    
    
            {|class="wikitable" width=65%
            |width=30% colspan="2" align="right"|Stage:
            |colspan="3" bgcolor="CCCCCC" align="Center"|Semi-Finals
            |colspan="11" bgcolor="palegoldenrod" align="Center"|Finals
            |-
            |colspan="2" align="right"|Week:
            | align="center"|2/21
            | align="center"|2/28
            | align="center"|3/6 
            | align="center"|3/12
            | align="center"|3/19
            | align="center"|3/26
            | align="center"|4/2 
            | align="center"|4/101
            | align="center"|4/16
            | align="center"|4/23
            | align="center"|4/302
            | align="center"|5/7 
            | align="center"|5/14
            | align="center"|5/21
            |-
            !Place
            !Contestant
            !colspan="14" align="center"|Result
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod" |1
           |bgcolor="cyan"|David Cook
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |
    |
            |
            |
            |
            |
           |
            |
           |
           |style="color:black; text-align:center; background-color:lime"|Winner
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|2
            |bgcolor="cyan"|David Archuleta
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |
           |
            |
           |
            |
           |
           |
           |style="color:black; text-align:center; background-color:yellow"|
           |-
            |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|3
            |bgcolor="pink"|Syesha Mercado
            |
            |
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFFCC" align="center"|
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFF99" align="center"|
            |
           |bgcolor="FFFFCC" align="center"|
            |bgcolor="FFFFCC" align="center"|
           |bgcolor="FFFF99" align="center"|
           |
           |
           |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="1" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
            |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|4
            |bgcolor="cyan"|Jason Castro
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFFCC" align="center"|
            |
           |
            |
           |
           |
            |bgcolor="#FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
           |colspan=2 bgcolor="666666"|
            |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|5
            |bgcolor="pink"|Brooke White
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |
           |bgcolor="FFFFCC" align="center"|
            |
           |bgcolor="FFFF99" align="center"|
            |
           |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="3" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
            |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|6
            |bgcolor="pink"|Carly Smithson
            |
            |
            |
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFFCC" align="center"|
            |
            |
           |bgcolor="FFFFCC" align="center"|
            |
           |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="4" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|7
            |bgcolor="pink"|Kristy Lee Cook
            |
            |
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFF99" align="center"|
            |bgcolor="FFFF99" align="center"|
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFF99" align="center"|
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="5" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|8
            |bgcolor="cyan"|Michael Johns
            |
            |
            |
           |
            |
           |
           |
            |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="6" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|9
            |bgcolor="pink"|Ramiele Malubay
            |
            |
            |
           |
            |
           |
            |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="7" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|10
            |bgcolor="cyan"|Chikezie
            |
            |
            |
           |
           |
            |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="8" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|11
            |bgcolor="pink"|Amanda Overmyer
            |
            |
            |
           |
            |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="9" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |align="center"  bgcolor="palegoldenrod"|12
            |bgcolor="cyan"|David Hernandez
            |
            |
            |
            |bgcolor="FFFF00" align="center"|Elim
            |colspan="10" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |align="center" bgcolor="CCCCCC" rowspan="4"|13-16
            |bgcolor="cyan"|Danny Noriega
           |
           |
           |bgcolor="CCCCCC" rowspan="4" align="center"| Elim
            |colspan="11" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |bgcolor="pink"|Asia'h Epperson
           |
           |
           |colspan="11" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
            |bgcolor="cyan"|Luke Menard
           |
           |
           |colspan="11" bgcolor="666666"|
            |-
            |bgcolor="pink"|Kady Malloy
           |
           |bgcolor="pink" align="center"|
            |colspan="11" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
            |align="center" bgcolor="CCCCCC" rowspan="4"|17-20
            |bgcolor="cyan"| Robbie Carrico
           |
           |bgcolor="CCCCCC" rowspan="4" align="center"| Elim
           |colspan="12" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
           |bgcolor="pink"|Alaina Whitaker
           |
            |colspan="12" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
            |bgcolor="pink"|
           |
           |colspan="12" bgcolor="666666"|
            |-
            |bgcolor="cyan"|Jason Yeager
           |
           |colspan="12" bgcolor="666666"|
            |-
            |align="center" bgcolor="CCCCCC" rowspan="4"|21-24
            |bgcolor="cyan"| Colton Berry
           |bgcolor="CCCCCC" rowspan="4" align="center"| Elim
            |colspan="13" bgcolor="666666"|
            |-
           |bgcolor="pink"|Joanne Borgella
           |colspan="13" bgcolor="666666"|
            |-
           |bgcolor="pink"|Amy Davis
           |colspan="13" bgcolor="666666"|
            |-
            |bgcolor="cyan"|Garrett Haley
           |colspan="13" bgcolor="666666"|
           |-
    


    1 Due to the Idol Gives Back special airing on the show's regular Wednesday results night, the results show was moved to Thursday.

    2 From this point forward, neither the bottom 3 nor bottom 2 contestants were explicitly identified.

    Idol Gives Back

    The "Idol Gives Back" initiative returned on April 9 for a second consecutive year, with a special start time of 7:30 p.m. ET, running for 150 minutes (the show ran several minutes late). Producers are hoping to exceed last year's $76 million raised. Again, proceeds will go to children's charities in Africa and the United States. Unlike "Idol Gives Back 2007" when no finalist was eliminated (and two were eliminated in the following week), Michael Johns was still eliminated during "Idol Gives Back 2008."

    Finale

    Controversies

    • Season 7 contestant Carly Smithson stirred up controversy due to a prior major label record deal she had with MCA Records. It has been reported that MCA spent over 2 million dollars promoting Smithson's previous album "Ultimate High," which she made under the name Carly Hennessy. The album only sold 378 copies but is now available on iTunes. To further complicate things, Randy Jackson worked for MCA during the same period of time that Smithson was signed. The show made no mention of this deal, despite the fact that the show goes to great lengths to chronicle the personal lives of its contestants (such as the homelessness of Josiah Leming). According to a poll conducted by AOL Television, 63 percent of those polled believed that contestants who have already had record deals should not be contestants on American Idol.


    • David Hernandez was revealed by VotefortheWorst.com to have worked as a stripper in Phoenix, AZ. According to the owner of Dick's Cabaret, David's job included a routine featuring full nudity and performing lap dances for male clientele.


    • On the April 29 show, the five remaining contestants each sang two songs. Diverting from their usual format, due to time constraints, the judges' critiques after each performance were instead to be bundled until after both songs were performed. However, after the first round had finished, host Ryan Seacrest asked for comments, and judge Paula Abdul, in discussing Jason Castro, delivered feedback on his second song before he had performed it. This has led to speculation that the show is scripted or rigged. The next day, Abdul claimed on Seacrest's radio show that she listened to the performance in rehearsal and in the rushed atmosphere of the show was confused and thought she was supposed to critique both.


    Releases

    iTunes

    During Season 7, American Idol partnered with iTunes to make available for sale exclusive performance videos and full length studio recordings of the songs that contestants performed on the show. In order to keep the competition fair, these singles were not allowed to appear on iTunes sales charts until after the finale. As a result, only Cook's and Archuleta's songs charted.

    Releases

    Date Release Artist
    Why Wait Kristy Lee Cook
    David Archuleta David Archuleta
    David Cook David Cook
    (Online)
    2009 (In Store)
    Solidify Amanda Overmyer
    Hold Back My Heart Michael Johns
    High Hopes & Heartbreak Brooke White
    Christmas from the Heart David Archuleta
    • In chronological release date order


    References

    1. WRCB TV - Channel 3 - Chattanooga, Tennessee
    2. News - South Carolina Now (SCNow.com)
    3. Former Idol Luke Menard has cancer | American Idol | Television News | News + Notes | Entertainment Weekly
    4. No mo' chemo | Luke Menard
    5. Kristy Lee Cook, Arista Nashville split
    6. .
    7. The Billboard Q&A: AI Finalist Ramiele Malubay
    8. American Idol Top 10 Finalists Perform Songs From Year They Were Born | Reality TV Magazine
    9. Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales
    10. ATRL - Charts: Billboard Hot 100 (Top Singles) - Page 520


    External links




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