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The second season of American Idol premiered on January 21, 2003, and continued until May 21, 2003. The title of show was shortened from American Idol: The Search for a Superstar of Season 1 to just American Idol.[1] Brian Dunkleman quit after the first season,[2] and Seacrest therefore became the lone host in Season 2 as well as all subsequent seasons. Kristin Holt was a special correspondent.

American Idol
American Idol logo.svg
Season 2
Broadcast fromJanuary 21 –
May 21, 2003
JudgesPaula Abdul
Simon Cowell
Randy Jackson
Host(s)Ryan Seacrest
BroadcasterFox Broadcasting Company
Finals venueGibson Amphitheatre
Ruben Studdard
Ruben Studdard 2.jpg
OriginBirmingham, U.S.
Song"Flying Without Wings"
Genre(s)Pop, R&B, gospel
Clay Aiken

It was won by Ruben Studdard. It was the first season to crown a male winner, and the first season to have a finale with two male contestants, Studdard and Clay Aiken.

Studdard released his coronation song "Flying Without Wings" after the show and reached number two on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. Aiken also released a single with "This Is the Night", written by Chris Braide, Aldo Nova and Gary Burr. It became the first non-winning contestant to have a Billboard Hot 100 number-one. It was also the biggest US single of 2003, selling over one million copies and reaching six times platinum status in Canada as well as number 1 in New Zealand.[3]

In addition to Studdard and Aiken, Kimberley Locke, Joshua Gracin, Kimberly Caldwell, and Carmen Rasmusen have signed with various record labels.

Regional auditionsEdit

Auditions were held in the fall of 2002 in the following cities:[4]

Episode Air Date Audition City Date Audition Venue[5] Callback Venue Tickets to Hollywood
January 21, 2003 New York, New York October 24–28, 2002[6] Regent Wall Street Hotel Rhiga Royal Hotel[7] 35
Miami, Florida November 2–6, 2002[8] Fontainebleau Hilton Hotel[9] 20
Austin, Texas November 6–10, 2002 Doubletree Hotel Hyatt Regency[10] 36
January 22, 2003 Los Angeles, California November 18–20, 2002 Rose Bowl[11] Renaissance Hollywood Hotel[12] 45
Detroit, Michigan October 21, 2002 Atheneum Suites Hotel 22
January 28, 2003 Atlanta, Georgia October 27, 2002 AmericasMart Callanwolde Fine Arts Center[13] 46
Nashville, Tennessee October 30, 2002 Nashville Municipal Auditorium Wildhorse Saloon 30
Total Tickets to Hollywood 234

The number of auditioners increased significantly after the success of the first season,[14][15] and arenas and stadiums started to be used to hold the first auditions from this season onwards when the Rose Bowl in Pasadena was used this season instead of the hotel originally planned.[5][16] Around 70,000 attended the auditions this season and 234 were selected to proceed on to the Hollywood round. Radio DJ Angie Martinez was originally signed up as a fourth judge,[17] but quit after a few days, stating that "it became too uncomfortable for me to tell someone else to give up on their dream".[18] Paula Abdul was absent from the Atlanta audition.

At the Miami auditions, one failed auditioner was Edgar Nova who,[19] after being rejected, tried to get back again and had to be escorted off the premise. Nova then auditioned in Los Angeles, but with a different hairstyle to avoid recognition, and was again unsuccessful.

Another auditioner named Bryan Washington auditioned in Atlanta, Georgia, and made it to Hollywood, but did not make it into the top 32. He was also overweight at the time of his American Idol audition, and later became a contestant on The Biggest Loser (Season 4.)

Auditioner Amber Riley was rejected by producers and did not get to audition for the judges,[20] but later went on to co-star on the television series Glee as Mercedes Jones.

Hollywood weekEdit

The contestants performed in a series of rounds and number of contestants trimmed in each round. In the first round they performed a song, in the second round they were asked to compose a melody for one of five set of lyrics, and 80 remained after this round. In the third round the contestants were separate into the girls and boys and they performed in small groups. They chose a song from "Superstar", Seal's "Kiss from a Rose", Barry Manilow's "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again", Freda Payne's "Band of Gold", and Dionne Warwick's "You'll Never Get to Heaven (If You Break My Heart)". During the group performance, Corey Clark, who was later to claim a relationship with Paula Abdul, sang to Paula directly and kissed her hand. 48 contestants were left at the end of this round.

In the last round each contestants performed solo. After their performances, the contestants were then divided into three groups of sixteen and placed in separate rooms. One group was eliminated, and 32 contestants proceeded on to the semi-final rounds.


The format changed slightly in Season 2; instead of three groups of ten, the semi-finalists were grouped into four groups of eight. The singers performed solo in a new improved stage with piano accompaniment by Michael Orland, and the performance pre-taped. There were no live audience although family members of contestants were present in the Red Room where the contestants were placed.

The results of the public vote were announced live the next day. From each group, two were selected to proceed on to the top 12, and those selected reprised their performance in the result show. Nine of those who failed at any of previous stages (including the Hollywood rounds and the initial regional auditions) were given one more chance to perform again in the wild-card show. Each of the three judges put one contestant from the wild-card group through to the top 12, with the final one selected by the public vote.

Semi-final Group 1Edit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Kimberly Caldwell "Come to My Window (Melissa Etheridge) Top 3/Wild Card
2 Patrick Fortson "Un-Break My Heart" (Toni Braxton) Eliminated
3 J.D. Adams "All in Love Is Fair" (Stevie Wonder) Eliminated
4 Trenyce "Love Sneakin' Up On You" (Bonnie Raitt) Wild Card
5 Meosha Denton "How Do I Live" (LeAnn Rimes) Eliminated
6 Bettis Richardson "Thank You" (Boyz II Men) Eliminated
7 Charles Grigsby "Overjoyed" (Stevie Wonder) Advanced
8 Julia DeMato "Son of a Preacher Man" (Dusty Springfield) Advanced

Semi-final Group 2Edit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Clay Aiken "Open Arms" (Journey) Top 3/Wild Card
2 Candice Coleman "Piece of My Heart" (Erma Franklin) Eliminated
3 Rebecca Bond "Caught Up in the Rapture" (Anita Baker) Eliminated
4 Jacob John Smalley "Anytime" (Brian McKnight) Eliminated
5 Hadas "You Light Up My Life" (Kasey Cisyk) Eliminated
6 Ruben Studdard "Superstar" (Delaney & Bonnie) Advanced
7 Kimberley Locke "Over the Rainbow" (Judy Garland) Advanced
8 Jennifer Fuentes "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" (Whitney Houston) Eliminated

Semi-final Group 3Edit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Kimberly Kelsey "It's All Coming Back to Me Now" (Pandora's Box) Eliminated
2 Jordan Segundo "For Your Love" (Stevie Wonder) Eliminated
3 Vanessa Olivarez "Out Here On My Own" (Irene Cara) Advanced
4 Rickey Smith "One Last Cry" (Brian McKnight) Advanced
5 Samantha Cohen "Something He Can Feel" (Aretha Franklin) Eliminated
6 Louis Gazzara "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (Laura Branigan) Eliminated
7 Equoia Coleman "The Way We Were" (Barbra Streisand) Top 3/Eliminated
8 George Trice "Unchained Melody" (Todd Duncan) Eliminated

Semi-final Group 4Edit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Sylvia Chibiliti "Didn't We Almost Have It All" (Whitney Houston) Eliminated
2 Chip Days "A Song for You" (Leon Russell) Wild Card
3 Juanita Barber "What About the Children" (Yolanda Adams) Eliminated
4 Patrick Lake "When I See You Smile" (Bad English) Top 3/Eliminated
5 Nasheka Siddall "Open My Heart" (Yolanda Adams) Wild Card
6 Joshua Gracin "I'll Be" (Edwin McCain) Advanced
7 Ashley Hartman "Touch Me in the Morning" (Diana Ross) Eliminated
8 Corey Clark "Foolish Heart" (Steve Perry) Advanced

Wild CardEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Kimberly Caldwell "I Feel the Earth Move" (Carole King) Selected (Randy's choice)
2 Clay Aiken "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" (Elton John) Selected (Public vote)
3 Nasheka Siddall "Wind Beneath My Wings" (Mighty Clouds of Joy) Eliminated
4 Carmen Rasmusen "Can't Fight the Moonlight" (LeAnn Rimes) Selected (Simon's choice)
5 Olivia Mojica "Because You Loved Me" (Celine Dion) Eliminated
6 Janine Falsone "We Belong" (Pat Benatar) Eliminated
7 Chip Days "Rock with You" (Michael Jackson) Eliminated
8 Aliceyn Cooney "Angel" (Sarah McLachlan) Eliminated
9 Trenyce "Let's Stay Together" (Al Green) Selected (Paula's choice)


Back - Joshua Gracin, Clay Aiken, Kimberly Caldwell, Kimberley Locke, Charles Grigsby, Carmen Rusmusen, Trenyce, Ruben Studdard
Seated - Julia DeMato, Corey Clark, Vanessa Olivarez, Rickey Smith


In this season, guests were introduced as celebrity judges, some of whom who may also act as a mentor in for the week they were on.

During Top 9, it was announced that Corey Clark had been disqualified.

In most weeks the bottom vote-getter performed his or her song again after their elimination was announced, but at Top 5 and Top 9 both the bottom 2 vote-getters performed their song.

Top 12 – MotownEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Kimberley Locke "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave" (Martha and the Vandellas) Bottom 3
2 Joshua Gracin "Baby I Need Your Loving" (The Four Tops) Safe
3 Charles Grigsby "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" (Marvin Gaye) Safe
4 Kimberly Caldwell "Nowhere to Run" (Martha and the Vandellas) Safe
5 Rickey Smith "1-2-3" (Len Barry) Safe
6 Julia DeMato "Where Did Our Love Go" (The Supremes) Bottom 2
7 Clay Aiken "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" (The Four Tops) Safe
8 Vanessa Olivarez "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (The Supremes) Eliminated
9 Corey Clark "This Old Heart of Mine (Is Weak for You)" (The Isley Brothers) Safe
10 Carmen Rasmusen "You Can't Hurry Love" (The Supremes) Safe
11 Trenyce "Come See About Me" (The Supremes) Safe
12 Ruben Studdard "Baby I Need Your Loving" (The Four Tops) Safe

Top 11 – Movie SoundtracksEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Featured film Result
1 Corey Clark "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (Phil Collins) Against All Odds Bottom 2
2 Ruben Studdard "A Whole New World" (Brad Kane & Lea Salonga) Aladdin Safe
3 Trenyce "I Have Nothing" (Whitney Houston) The Bodyguard Safe
4 Clay Aiken "Somewhere Out There" (Linda Ronstadt & James Ingram) An American Tail Safe
5 Kimberly Caldwell "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" (Betty Everett) Mermaids Safe
6 Joshua Gracin "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (Aerosmith) Armageddon Safe
7 Carmen Rasmusen "Hopelessly Devoted to You" (Olivia Newton-John) Grease Safe
8 Charles Grigsby "You Can't Win" (Michael Jackson) The Wiz Eliminated
9 Rickey Smith "It Might Be You" (Stephen Bishop) Tootsie Safe
10 Julia DeMato "Flashdance... What a Feeling" (Irene Cara) Flashdance Bottom 3
11 Kimberley Locke "Home" (Stephanie Mills) The Wiz Safe

Top 10 – Country rock[23]Edit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Joshua Gracin "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til The Sun Comes Up)" (Garth Brooks) Safe
2 Trenyce "I Need You" (LeAnn Rimes) Safe
3 Kimberley Locke "I Can't Make You Love Me" (Bonnie Raitt) Safe
4 Corey Clark "Drift Away" (John Henry Kurtz) Safe1
5 Carmen Rasmusen "Wild Angels" (Martina McBride) Safe
6 Rickey Smith "I've Done Enough Dyin' Today" (Larry Gatlin) Bottom 3
7 Kimberly Caldwell "Anymore" (Travis Tritt) Bottom 2
8 Ruben Studdard "Sweet Home Alabama" (Lynyrd Skynyrd) Safe
9 Julia DeMato "Breathe" (Faith Hill) Eliminated
10 Clay Aiken "Someone Else's Star" (Davis Daniel) Safe

Note 1: Corey Clark was later disqualified due to his controversy.

Top 8 (first week) – DiscoEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Rickey Smith "Let's Groove" (Earth, Wind & Fire) Safe
2 Carmen Rasmusen "Turn the Beat Around" (Vicki Sue Robinson) Bottom 2[a]
3 Kimberly Caldwell "Knock on Wood" (Eddie Floyd) Safe
4 Clay Aiken "Everlasting Love" (Robert Knight) Safe
5 Trenyce "I'm Every Woman" (Chaka Khan) Bottom 2[a]
6 Ruben Studdard "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" (Barry White) Safe
7 Kimberley Locke "It's Raining Men" (The Weather Girls) Bottom 3
8 Joshua Gracin "Celebration" (Kool & the Gang) Safe
  1. ^ a b Because of Corey Clark's disqualification the previous week, it was never revealed whether Trenyce or Rasmusen had received the lowest number of votes that week and so both were declared safe.

Top 8 (second week) – Billboard Number OnesEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Clay Aiken "At This Moment" (Billy Vera) Safe
2 Kimberley Locke "My Heart Will Go On" (Celine Dion) Bottom 3
3 Rickey Smith "Endless Love" (Lionel Richie & Diana Ross) Eliminated
4 Kimberly Caldwell "(Everything I Do) I Do It for You" (Bryan Adams) Bottom 2
5 Joshua Gracin "Amazed" (Lonestar) Safe
6 Carmen Rasmusen "Call Me" (Blondie) Safe
7 Trenyce "The Power of Love" (Jennifer Rush) Safe
8 Ruben Studdard "Kiss and Say Goodbye" (The Manhattans) Safe

Top 7 – Billy JoelEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist when applicable) Result
1 Kimberly Caldwell "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" Eliminated
2 Ruben Studdard "Just the Way You Are" Safe
3 Kimberley Locke "New York State of Mind" Safe
4 Carmen Rasmusen "And So It Goes" Bottom 2
5 Joshua Gracin "Piano Man" Safe
6 Trenyce "Baby Grand" (Billy Joel & Ray Charles) Bottom 3
7 Clay Aiken "Tell Her About It" Safe

Top 6 – Diane WarrenEdit

  • Guest judge and mentor - Diane Warren
Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Kimberley Locke "If You Asked Me To" (Patti LaBelle) Safe
2 Clay Aiken "I Could Not Ask for More" (Edwin McCain) Safe
3 Trenyce "Have You Ever?" (Brandy) Bottom 3
4 Joshua Gracin "That's When I'll Stop Loving You" ('N Sync) Bottom 2
5 Carmen Rasmusen "Love Will Lead You Back" (Taylor Dayne) Eliminated
6 Ruben Studdard "Music of My Heart" ('N Sync and Gloria Estefan) Safe

Top 5 – 1960s/Neil SedakaEdit

Guest judge - Neil Sedaka

Order Contestant Song (original artist when applicable) Result
1 Ruben Studdard "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" (The Temptations) Bottom 2
2 Trenyce "Proud Mary" (Creedence Clearwater Revival) Eliminated
3 Joshua Gracin "Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye" (Don Cherry) Safe
4 Kimberley Locke "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (The Miracles) Safe
5 Clay Aiken "Build Me Up Buttercup" (The Foundations) Safe
6 Ruben Studdard "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" Bottom 2
7 Trenyce "Love Will Keep Us Together" Eliminated
8 Joshua Gracin "Bad Blood" Safe
9 Kimberley Locke "Where the Boys Are" (Connie Francis) Safe
10 Clay Aiken "Solitaire" Safe

Top 4 – Bee GeesEdit

Guest judge - Robin Gibb

Order Contestant Song (original artist when applicable) Result
1 Joshua Gracin "Jive Talkin'" Eliminated
2 Clay Aiken "To Love Somebody" Safe
3 Kimberley Locke "I Just Want to Be Your Everything" (Andy Gibb) Bottom 2
4 Ruben Studdard "Nights on Broadway" Safe
5 Joshua Gracin "To Love Somebody" Eliminated
6 Clay Aiken "Grease" (Frankie Valli) Safe
7 Kimberley Locke "Emotion" (Samantha Sang) Bottom 2
8 Ruben Studdard "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" Safe
  • Group performance: Bee Gees medley

Top 3 – Random from a bowl of Producers' picks, Judges' Choice, Idol's ChoiceEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Kimberley Locke "Band of Gold" (Freda Payne) Eliminated
2 Ruben Studdard "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" (Stevie Wonder) Safe
3 Clay Aiken "Vincent" (Don McLean) Safe
4 Kimberley Locke "Anyone Who Had a Heart" (Dionne Warwick) - Randy Jackson Eliminated
5 Ruben Studdard "Smile" (Charlie Chaplin) - Simon Cowell Safe
6 Clay Aiken "Mack the Knife" (Louis Armstrong) - Paula Abdul Safe
7 Kimberley Locke "Inseparable" (Natalie Cole) Eliminated
8 Ruben Studdard "If Ever You're in My Arms Again" (Peabo Bryson) Safe
9 Clay Aiken "Unchained Melody" (Todd Duncan) Safe

Top 2 – FinaleEdit

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Ruben Studdard "A House is Not a Home" (Dionne Warwick) Winner
2 Clay Aiken "This Is the Night" (Clay Aiken) Runner-Up
3 Ruben Studdard "Imagine" (John Lennon) Winner
4 Clay Aiken "Here, There and Everywhere" (The Beatles) Runner-Up
5 Ruben Studdard "Flying Without Wings" (Westlife) Winner
6 Clay Aiken "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel) Runner-Up
Finale result show
Performer Song Artist
Top 121 and Kelly Clarkson "One Voice" Barry Manilow
Kelly Clarkson Miss Independent Kelly Clarkson
Top 121 Let's Groove

Baby Love Tears of a Clown Midnight Train to Georgia Words Physical That's Where The Music Takes Me Hello Rhythm of the Night

Earth, Wind & Fire

The Supremes Smokey Robinson Gladys Knight Bee Gees Olivia Newton-John Neil Sedaka Lionel Richie Debarge

Top 3 Superstar (Ruben)

Over the Rainbow (Kimberley) On the Wings of Love (Clay)

The Carpenters

Judy Garland Jeffrey Osborne

Ruben Studdard Flying Without Wings Westlife
Clay Aiken Bridge Over Troubled Water Simon & Garfunkel
Top 2 "Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now" McFadden & Whitehead
Ruben Studdard Flying Without Wings Westlife
  • Note 1: Corey Clark and Joshua Gracin were absent from the group.

The two night season finale was held at the Gibson Amphitheatre in Los Angeles, California.

Ruben Studdard emerged as the winner with Clay Aiken as a very close runner-up. Out of 24 million votes recorded, Studdard finished just 134,000 votes ahead of Aiken, and the smallness of the margin of victory made this result highly controversial.[24]

Elimination chartEdit

Top 32 Wild Card Top 12 Winner
Did Not Perform Safe Bottom 3 Bottom 2 Eliminated
Stage: Semi-Finals Wild Card Finals
Week: 2/5 2/12 2/19 2/26 3/5 3/12 3/19 3/26 4/1[a] 4/9 4/16 4/23 4/30 5/7 5/14 5/21
Place Contestant Result
1 Ruben Studdard 1st Bottom 2 Winner
2 Clay Aiken 3rd
Wild Card
1st Runner-Up
3 Kimberley Locke 2nd Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 2 Elim
4 Joshua Gracin 1st Bottom 2 Elim
5 Trenyce Wild Card Top 12 Bottom 2 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Elim
6 Carmen Rasmusen Top 12 Bottom 2 Bottom 2 Elim
7 Kimberly Caldwell 3rd
Wild Card
Top 12 Bottom 2 Bottom 2 Elim
8 Rickey Smith 1st Bottom 3 Elim
9 Corey Clark 2nd Bottom 2 Disq
10 Julia DeMato 2nd Bottom 2 Bottom 3 Elim
11 Charles Grigsby 1st Elim
12 Vanessa Olivarez 2nd Elim
13–17 Aliceyn Cooney Elim
Chip Days Wild Card
Janine Falsone
Olivia Mojica
Nasheka Siddall Wild Card
18–36 Juanita Barber Elim
Sylvia Chibiliti
Ashley Hartman
Patrick Lake 3rd
Samantha Cohen Elim
Equoia Coleman 3rd
Louis Gazzara Elim
Kimberly Kelsey
Jordan Segundo
George Trice
Rebecca Bond Elim
Candice Coleman
Jennifer Fuentes
Jacob John Smalley
J.D. Adams Elim
Meosha Denton
Patrick Fortson
Bettis Richardson
  1. ^ None of the bottom 3 were eliminated on the April 2nd results show due to Clark's disqualification.

Other 'Idol' contestantsEdit

  • Rhian and Cara Morgan of The Morgan Twins[25] who auditioned for this season of American Idol but was cut in Hollywood, later auditioned for the fourth season of The Voiceas a duo. They made it to the battle rounds, but were eliminated.
  • Patrick Fortson auditioned for the fifteenth season of The Voice under the name "Patrique Fortson", joining Team Jennifer. He was eliminated in the live playoffs

Season 3 ContestantsEdit

  • Lisa Leuschner - Auditioned in season 2 and was cut in Hollywood.
  • Matthew Metzger - Auditioned in season 2 and made it to the Top 48.


The finale vote had been controversial due to the smallness of the margin. Ryan Seacrest also added fuel by mistakenly announcing the difference in vote count first as 13,000, then 1,335, but eventually revealed later to be around 130,000.[26] There was much discussion in the communication industry about the phone system being overloaded, and that more than 150 million votes were dropped, making the voting results suspect.[27] In an interview prior to the start of the fifth season, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe revealed that Aiken had led the fan voting from the wild card week onward until the finale.[28]

There was controversy when contestant Frenchie Davis was disqualified from the competition after topless photos of her surfaced on the Internet. Shortly afterwards, she landed a role in the Broadway musical Rent.[29]

Corey Clark was also disqualified from the show because, according to the Idol producers, Clark had a police record he had not disclosed to the show. However, in 2005, contestant Corey Clark alleged in an interview on ABC's Primetime Live and in a book, They Told Me to Tell the Truth, So... The Sex, Lies and Paulatics of One of America's Idols, that he and judge Paula Abdul had an affair while he was on the show and that this contributed to his removal.[30] Clark also alleged that Abdul gave him preferential treatment on the show and tips on song choice. A subsequent investigation by an independent counsel hired by Fox "could not corroborate the evidence or allegations provided by Mr. Clark or any witnesses".[31] Paula Abdul was therefore considered exonerated but an "enhanced non-fraternization policy" was put in place after the investigation.[31]

Trenyce was also found to have been arrested on felony theft charge;[32] however, Nigel Lythgoe considered her offense to be minor and one which she has been honest about, therefore "warranted no concern regarding her participation in the show."[33]

During the Top 10, a problem with the telephone system resulted in some votes not being registered for Julia DeMato; however, Fox insisted that the mistake would not have made any difference in Julia DeMato being voted off.[33]

During the course of the contest, Studdard became known for wearing 205 Flava jerseys representing his area code; when asked about them early in the season, Studdard told Seacrest that he was "just representing 205". Shortly after the end of the contest, Studdard sued 205 Flava, Inc. for $2 Million dollars for using his image for promotional purposes. 205 Flava responded by alleging that Studdard had accepted over $10,000 in return for wearing 205 shirts, and produced eight cashed checks to validate their claim. The allegations, if true, were a clear violation of the American Idol rules.[34] The lawsuit was settled out of court.[35]

Some questions were raised about the participation of Joshua Gracin, who was then in the Marine Corps, in American idol during the time of the Iraq War.[36] He later missed both the finale performance night as well as the Idol tour that year after being recalled to duty by the Marines.[37]

Some speculation about Vanessa Olivarez' dismissal and treatment by American Idol surfaced in 2007.[38] During the show, Olivarez took part in a scripted joke where, after Seacrest had asked Olivarez to read a cue card taking the viewers to a commercial, Olivarez would reply by saying, "Ryan, I'm a real artist, not a performing monkey like you, so why don't you read your own script?"[39] However, viewers booed, and Olivarez was voted off afterwards, a result of what some thought to be negative public perception of her due to the joke. It was suggested that she was deliberately ousted because she had come out as a lesbian to other contestants.[40] She had also posed nude for an ad campaign for the animal rights group PETA after she was voted off.[41] Olivarez was the only finalist omitted from the Season 2 CD, and she was not chosen for the tour after Joshua Gracin was recalled to the Marines.[42]

US Nielsen ratingsEdit

The number of average viewers per episode this season was 21.7 million, an increase of 71% over season 1.[43] Its Wednesday episodes finished as the third most-watched show of the year averaging 21.93 million, and the Tuesday episodes fifth at 21.56 million.[44] The show ranked second in the coveted 18/49 demographic for the 2002-2003 season.[45] This season's finale episode still ranks as the most-watched single episode in Idol history at 38.1 million, the finale night itself averaged 33.7 million when the pre-show special is taken into consideration. The show also helped Fox become the season's number three network in total viewers for the first time.[46]

Episode list
Show Episode Air date Week
(in millions)
1 "New York, Miami & Austin Auditions"[47] January 21, 2003 4 12.4 26.5
2 "Special: American Idol revisited"[47] January 21, 2003 7 11.3 23.6
3 "Pasadena & Detroit Auditions"[47] January 22, 2003 5 11.8 24.9
4 "Atlanta & Nashville Auditions"[48] January 28, 2003 4 11.6 24.1
5 "Hollywood Week"[48] January 29, 2003 2 12.6 26.0
6 "Top 32: Group 1"[49] February 4, 2003 9 9.7 20.1
7 "Top 32: Group 1 results"[49] February 5, 2003 10 9.4 19.3
8 "Top 32: Group 2"[50] February 11, 2003 8 9.7 20.0
9 "Top 32: Group 2 results"[50] February 12, 2003 11 9.0 18.7
10 "Top 32: Group 3"[51] February 18, 2003 9 9.2 19.7
11 "Top 32: Group 3 results"[51] February 19, 2003 19 7.4
12 "Special: Best of the Worst"[51] February 19, 2003 11 8.8 19.5
13 "Top 32: Group 4"[52] February 25, 2003 5 9.7 20.0
14 "Top 32: Group 4 results"[52] February 26, 2003 12 8.7 17.1
15 "Wildcard Show"[53] March 4, 2003 3 8.5 18.7
16 "Wildcard Results"[53] March 5, 2003 4 8.5 18.0
17 "Top 12 Perform"[54] March 11, 2003 2 10.3 22.0
18 "Top 12 Results"[54] March 12, 2003 9 8.7 18.3
19 "Top 11 Perform"[55] March 18, 2003 2 10.0 21.1
20 "Top 11 Results"[55] March 19, 2003 4 7.9 17.2
21 "Top 10 Perform"[56] March 25, 2003 1 9.4 19.8
22 "Top 10 Results"[56] March 26, 2003 2 8.7 19.0
23 "Top 9 Perform"[57] April 1, 2003 2 9.6 21.2
24 "Top 9 Results"[57] April 2, 2003 4 9.7 20.3
25 "Top 8 Perform"[58] April 8, 2003 2 9.7 20.1
26 "Top 8 Results"[58] April 9, 2003 3 9.4 19.2
27 "Top 7 Perform"[59] April 15, 2003 1 8.8 20.0
28 "Top 7 Results"[59] April 16, 2003 4 8.4 18.1
29 "Special: Halfway Home"[60] April 21, 2003 12 6.2 14.1
30 "Top 6 Perform"[60] April 22, 2003 4 9.6 20.6
31 "Top 6 Results"[60] April 23, 2003 6 9.3 19.5
32 "Top 5 Perform"[61] April 29, 2003 2 9.7 20.4
33 "Top 5 Results"[61] April 30, 2003 3 9.0 20.2
34 "Top 4 Perform"[62] May 6, 2003 4 10.1 22.2
35 "Top 4 Results"[62] May 7, 2003 2 10.4 22.7
36 "Top 3 Perform"[63] May 13, 2003 4 10.7 23.4
37 "Top 3 Results"[63] May 14, 2003 2 11.4 25.3
38 "Top 2 Special"[64] May 19, 2003 8 7.4 16.9
39 "Top 2 Showdown"[64] May 20, 2003 3 11.2 25.7
40 "Finale Pre-show Special"[64] May 21, 2003 2 13.1 30.4
41 "American Idol Season 2 Finale"[64] May 21, 2003 1 16.8 38.1

A couple of specials were aired later in the year - From Justin To Kelly: The Rise of Two American Idols on June 20, 2003, and American Idol: Christmas Songs on November 25, 2003, the latter of which was ranked number 30 with total viewer number of 10.9 million,[65] and number 28 in the 18/49 demo with a 4.1 rating.


Major releasesEdit

Minor or independent releasesEdit

(This list does not include pre-Idol releases)

  • The One (Vanessa Olivarez)
  • Jordan (Jordan Segundo)
  • Charles Grigsby (Charles Grigsby)
  • Use Your Gift (Quiana Parler)
  • George Trice (George Trice) - released in the summer of 2007


External linksEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ 'X Factor' seeking stars in Newark, but does America need another TV talent show?
  2. ^ "Former 'American Idol' co-host Brian Dunkleman "breaks his silence"". February 22, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2011.
  3. ^ "Clay Aiken - This Is The Night - Music Charts". Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  4. ^ "American Idol 2" Auditions Scheduled
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  6. ^ Thousands brave cold in New York for 'Idol' audition
  7. ^ GW Idol
  8. ^ Hopeful Singers Try For Round 2
  9. ^ 3 Make Cut For American Idol
  10. ^ Chris Vu Tackles Obstacles Along Way to Idol Stardom
  12. ^ Teen singer reaches American Idol finals
  13. ^ 10/15: Flashback! Idol Rewind in the ATL 2002
  14. ^ Lining Up to Be the Next 'Idol'
  15. ^ Hoping Overnight Success Follows Overnight Wait
  16. ^ American Idol Searches for Star
  17. ^ Angie Martinez Ready To Take On 'American Idol' Judge Simon Cowell
  18. ^ Sitting 'Idol'
  19. ^ Kinney, Aaron., The importance of being humiliated[permanent dead link],, 2003-01-22, Retrieved on 2007-03-02.
  20. ^ "Glee Star Amber Riley On Idol Rejection: "I Still Work On Fox And Get Paid"". September 30, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  21. ^ ‘American Idol’ Finalist Killed in Car Crash Variety, Retrieved May 6, 2016
  22. ^ The Fall Of Another "Idol"
  23. ^ "Rating 'Idol' hopefuls". USA Today. March 26, 2003.
  24. ^ American democracy meets American Idolatry
  25. ^ Dreyer, Lindsay (March 25, 2013). "Who Are The Morgan Twins From The Voice Season 4?". Wetpaint. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  26. ^ FOX correction: Ruben Studdard won 'American Idol' by about 130,000 votes, not by 1,335 or 13,000
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  30. ^ Foolish Hearts
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  32. ^ "American Idol" Finalist's Sticky Fingers
  33. ^ a b Fallen 'Idols'
  34. ^ Reality TV world
  35. ^ Reality TV world
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  37. ^ Marines Say Josh Gracin Won’t Tour – Fans Respond With Petition Archived 2010-12-26 at the Wayback Machine
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  39. ^ Vanessa Olivarez's Performance on the Top 12 Show of American Idol Season 2 (March 11, 2003) From YouTube. Retrieved on November 19, 2011. Olivarez's line is frequently misquoted on the Internet as, "Oh, Ryan . . . I'm an artist, not a performing monkey like you! Read your own script!" The video shows that those were not Olivarez's exact words.
  40. ^ AI Aftermath: 12th place finishers - VIDEOS
  41. ^ Naked 'Idol'
  42. ^ 'American Idol' finalist Josh Gracin recalled to Marine duty, leaves live tour
  43. ^ NY Times May 23, 2003
  44. ^ Top 20 Most-Watched TV Programs in 2002-03
  45. ^ Ruben Studdard becomes second 'American Idol' winner by razor-thin margin
  46. ^ Fox pulls off a sweeps squeaker Archived 2005-11-04 at the Wayback Machine
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  48. ^ a b A1 week 2
  49. ^ a b A1 week 3
  50. ^ a b AI week 4
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  52. ^ a b AI week 6
  53. ^ a b AI week 7
  54. ^ a b AI week 8
  55. ^ a b AI week 9
  56. ^ a b AI week 10
  57. ^ a b AI week 11
  58. ^ a b AI week 12 Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  59. ^ a b AI week 13 Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  60. ^ a b c AI week 14
  61. ^ a b AI week 15
  62. ^ a b AI week 16
  63. ^ a b AI week 17
  64. ^ a b c d AI week 18 Archived 2009-02-17 at the Wayback Machine
  65. ^ Big 'Mac'