American Idol (season 3)

American Idol
Season 3
Broadcast from January 19, 2004–May 26, 2004
Judges Simon Cowell
Paula Abdul
Randy Jackson
Host(s) Ryan Seacrest
Broadcaster Fox Broadcasting Company
Finals venue Kodak Theatre
Fantasia Barrino
Fantasia Barrino.jpg
Fantasia Barrino in The American Idol Experience motorcade at Walt Disney World.
Origin High Point, North Carolina, U.S.
Song "I Believe"
Genre(s) R&B, pop, soul
Diana DeGarmo

The third season of American Idol premiered on Monday, January 19, 2004 and continued until May 26, 2004. The third season was won by Fantasia Barrino, who defeated Diana DeGarmo by an approximate margin of 2% (1.3 million votes); the vote total (65 million votes) was the highest recorded vote total in the show's history until the May 23, 2007 finale of American Idol 6. This season also featured Jennifer Hudson, who would subsequently win the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Season 3 is the first season where both the winner and the runner-up had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, being followed by season 8. It is the first (and so far only) season to have a finale with two female contestants, while the second, seventh and eighth seasons had a finale with two male contestants. It is also the first season where a Wild Card contestant, Leah LaBelle, is eliminated in the first episode of the finals. It is the first season to have a gender imbalance among the finalists, followed by season 8, each having eight finalists of the dominant gender. Season 3 has eight female finalists, whereas season 8 has eight male finalists.

Both Fantasia and Diana DeGarmo released a single after the finale. Fantasia's first single, released in June 2004 on the RCA record label, entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #1, making Fantasia the first artist in the history of Billboard to debut at number one with their first single. In addition to Fantasia and DeGarmo, Jasmine Trias, LaToya London, George Huff, Jennifer Hudson, and Camile Velasco have released albums since the season ended.



Auditions were held in the following cities:[1]

Episode Air Date Audition City Date of audition First Audition Venue Callback Date Callback Venue Golden Tickets
January 19, 2004 New York, New York August 25, 2003 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center August 29, 2003 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel[2] 29
January 20, 2004 Atlanta, Georgia August 20, 2003 Georgia Dome September 2003 Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart[3] 24
January 21, 2004 Houston, Texas August 13, 2003 Minute Maid Park September 4-5, 2003[4] InterContinental Houston[5] 13
January 27, 2004 Los Angeles, California August 3, 2003 Rose Bowl September 2003 Renaissance Hollywood Hotel[6] 25
San Francisco, California September 22, 2003 Pac Bell Park September 2003 Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel[7] 10
January 28, 2004 Honolulu, Hawaii September 30, 2003 Aloha Stadium October 4-5, 2003 Sheraton Waikiki Hotel[8] 17
Total number of tickets to Hollywood 118

In this season over 80,000 attended the auditions in 6 cities. Paula Abdul was absent from the Los Angeles audition. A prominent auditioner was William Hung, a University of California, Berkeley student, who became a surprise cult figure following his tuneless rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" at the San Francisco audition. [9] He was later invited back to perform on a special edition Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented. His appearance on the show landed him a record deal with Koch Records and he released an album soon afterwards.[10] He became one of the most successful contestants to emerge from this year.[11]

During the audition round in Houston, Texas, auditioner Jonathan Rey threw a cup of water at Simon, who moments earlier commented that he was terrible and "there's not a song in the world you could sing." Security quickly escorted Jonathan out, and Houston police questioned him, but released him after Simon decided against pressing assault charges on him. Another prominent auditioner that year was "scooter girl", Nicole Tieri.

Hollywood week

There were 117 contestants in the first Hollywood round which was held at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, California. The contestants first came onto the stage in groups but each performed solo and talked briefly about themselves. Simon Cowell was not impressed with their performances. They were also asked to write original lyrics and melody for one of ten song titles given and perform their song the next day. After their performance, they were divided into four groups and one groups is eliminated.

In the next round, the remaining 87 contestants performed in groups in three. The girls and boys were separate and they were each given 3 different songs to choose - Girls with The Supremes' You Can't Hurry Love, Vonda Shepard's "Tell Him", Candi Staton's Young Hearts Run Free, the boys with Billy Joel's Tell Her About It, Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up, The Drifters's Up on the Roof. 30 contestants were cut and 57 then advanced to the next stage where they performed solo. The contestants were then divided into 3 group and placed in separate rooms, with one group sent home. 32 contestants remained for the semi-finals.

Hollywood rounds contestant Taryn Southern later appeared on the Project My World series and wrote and performed the 2007 "Hott4Hill" viral video.


The contestants who reached this stage were referred to in the show as the Top 32 finalists. This is the first time that two contestants who previously tried out for American Idol (Matthew Metzger and Lisa Leuschner) made it to the top 3 of their semifinals group. Both contestants were eliminated during Hollywood round in the previous season.

George Huff replaced Donnie Williams in Semifinal Round 4 after Williams was disqualified following a DUI arrest.[12]

Unlike previous seasons, this season the contestants performed in front of a small studio audience, with orchestra accompaniment on backing tape. As with Season 2, in these rounds, two from each group were selected by public vote to proceed on to the Top 12, and those who failed at any of the previous stages were given a second chance in the wild-card show.

In the wild card show, four contestants in the wildcard round were eliminated by the judges before they had the chance to sing: Lisa Leuschner, Eric Yoder, Tiara Purifoy, and Marque Lynche. The judges each chose one of their favorites to join the Top 12, and Jon Peter Lewis advanced to the top 12 after receiving 22% of the public vote.

Semifinal Group 1

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Diana DeGarmo "I've Got the Music in Me" Kiki Dee Advanced
2 Marque Lynche "Wind Beneath My Wings" Roger Whittaker Eliminated
3 Ashley Thomas "Crazy" Willie Nelson Eliminated
4 Katie Webber "Orange Colored Sky" Nat King Cole Wild Card
5 Erskine Walcott "Open Arms" Journey Eliminated
6 Jennifer Hudson "Imagine" John Lennon Wild Card
7 Matthew Metzger "Walking in Memphis" Marc Cohn Top 3/Wild Card
8 Fantasia Barrino "Something to Talk About" Bonnie Raitt Advanced

Semifinal Group 2

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Matthew Rogers "What You Won't Do for Love" Bobby Caldwell Advanced
2 Briana Ramirez-Rial "Don't Know Why" Norah Jones Eliminated
3 Noel Roman "This I Promise You" *NSYNC Eliminated
4 Kara Master "I'm Outta Love" Anastacia Eliminated
5 Lisa Leuschner "Sweet Thing" Chaka Khan Top 3/Eliminated
6 Jesus Roman "Back at One" Brian McKnight Eliminated
7 Camile Velasco "One Last Cry" Brian McKnight Advanced
8 Marisa Joy "Some Kind of Wonderful" Soul Brothers Six Eliminated

Semifinal Group 3

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Elizabeth LeTendre "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" Whitney Houston Wild Card
2 Eric Yoder "In the Still of the Night" The Five Satins Eliminated
3 Amy Adams "The Power of Love" Jennifer Rush Advanced
4 Jon Peter Lewis "Tiny Dancer" Elton John Top 3/Wild Card
5 Charly Lowry "Chain of Fools" Aretha Franklin Eliminated
6 Jonah Moananu "I Wish" Carl Thomas Eliminated
7 Leah LaBelle "I Have Nothing" Whitney Houston Wild Card
8 La Toya London "All By Myself" Eric Carmen Advanced

Semifinal Group 4

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Suzy Vulaca "Un-Break My Heart" Toni Braxton Wild Card
2 John Preator "That's What Love Is All About" Michael Bolton Eliminated
3 Heather Piccinini "New Attitude" Patti LaBelle Eliminated
4 John Stevens "She's Always a Woman" Billy Joel Advanced
5 Jasmine Trias "Run to You" Whitney Houston Advanced
6 George Huff "Always and Forever" Heatwave Top 3/Wild Card
7 Lisa Wilson "Come to My Window" Melissa Etheridge Eliminated
8 Tiara Purifoy "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" Whitney Houston Eliminated

Wild Card

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Jon Peter Lewis "A Little Less Conversation" Elvis Presley Public Vote
2 Elizabeth LeTendre "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" Peggy Seeger Eliminated
3 Katie Webber "So Emotional" Whitney Houston Eliminated
4 George Huff "Lean on Me" Bill Withers Simon's Choice
5 Suzy Vulaca "I Will Survive" Gloria Gaynor Eliminated
6 Matthew Metzger "When I See You Smile" Bad English Eliminated
7 Leah LaBelle "Let's Stay Together" Al Green Paula's Choice
8 Jennifer Hudson "I Believe in You and Me" Four Tops Randy's Choice


Back standing - Leah LaBelle, Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia Barrino, John Stevens, Matthews Rogers, Amy Adams, Jon Peter Lewis
Seated - Camile Velasco, Jasmine Trias, LaToya London, Diana DeGarmo, George Huff


In this season, guest judges may be introduced in some episodes, and sometimes the mentor joined as judges. During Top 10 was the first time where are there were five judges when the duo Ashford & Simpson joined as judges.

In the result shows, the bottom two vote-getters may reprise their performances before the elimination was announced, or only the eliminated one may perform after the result is revealed, or they may performed before and after their elimination as in Top 5 when George Huff reprised both his songs from the performance night.

Top 12 (Soul)

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 La Toya London "Ain't Nobody" Chaka Khan Safe
2 Amy Adams "You Make Me Feel Brand New" The Stylistics Bottom 3
3 Matthew Rogers "Hard to Handle" Otis Redding Safe
4 Camile Velasco "Son of a Preacher Man" Dusty Springfield Safe
5 Jon Peter Lewis "Drift Away" John Henry Kurtz Safe
6 Fantasia Barrino "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" Stevie Wonder Safe
7 George Huff "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay" Otis Redding Safe
8 Jennifer Hudson "Baby, I Love You" The Ronettes Bottom 2
9 John Stevens "Lately" Stevie Wonder Safe
10 Leah LaBelle "You Keep Me Hangin' On" The Supremes Eliminated
11 Jasmine Trias "Inseparable" Natalie Cole Safe
12 Diana DeGarmo "Think" Aretha Franklin Safe
Result Show
Top 12 Soul Medley Various
Clay Aiken "Solitaire" Neil Sedaka

Top 11 (Country)

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Diana DeGarmo "A Broken Wing" Martina McBride Bottom 3
2 George Huff "I Can Love You Like That" John Michael Montgomery Safe
3 Fantasia Barrino "Always on My Mind" Brenda Lee Safe
4 John Stevens "King of the Road" Roger Miller Safe
5 Camile Velasco "Desperado" The Eagles Bottom 2
6 Jennifer Hudson "No One Else on Earth" Wynonna Judd Safe
7 Jon Peter Lewis "She Believes in Me" Kenny Rogers Safe
8 Jasmine Trias "Breathe" Faith Hill Safe
9 Matthew Rogers "Amazed" Lonestar Eliminated
10 La Toya London "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)" Garth Brooks Safe
11 Amy Adams "Sin Wagon" Dixie Chicks Safe
Result Show
Kimberley Locke "8th World Wonder" Kimberley Locke

Top 10 (Motown)

Guest judges - Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson Guest band - The Funk Brothers

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Camile Velasco "For Once in My Life" Stevie Wonder Safe
2 Jon Peter Lewis "This Old Heart of Mine" The Isley Brothers Safe
3 La Toya London "Ooo Baby Baby" The Miracles Bottom 3
4 Amy Adams "Dancing in the Street" Martha & the Vandellas Eliminated
5 John Stevens "My Girl" The Temptations Safe
6 Jennifer Hudson "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave" Martha & the Vandellas Bottom 2
7 Jasmine Trias "You're All I Need to Get By" Marvin Gaye/
Tammi Terrell
8 Diana DeGarmo "Do You Love Me" The Contours Safe
9 Fantasia Barrino "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" The Miracles Safe
10 George Huff "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" The Temptations Safe
Result Show
Top 10 "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" Marvin Gaye/
Tammi Terrell

Top 9 (Elton John)

Mentor - Elton John

# Performer Song Result
1 Fantasia Barrino "Something About the Way You Look Tonight" Safe
2 Jon Peter Lewis "Rocket Man" Safe
3 Jasmine Trias "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Bottom 2
4 John Stevens "Crocodile Rock" Safe
5 Camile Velasco "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" Eliminated
6 George Huff "Take Me to the Pilot" Safe
7 Diana DeGarmo "I'm Still Standing" Bottom 3
8 La Toya London "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" Safe
9 Jennifer Hudson "Circle of Life" Safe
Result Show
Top 9 "Bennie and the Jets" (Girls)
"Daniel" (Boys)
"Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
Tamyra Gray "Raindrops Will Fall"

Top 8 (Movie Soundtracks)

Guest judge - Quentin Tarantino

# Performer Song Artist Movie Result
1 George Huff "Against All Odds" Phil Collins "Against All Odds" Safe
2 Jennifer Hudson "I Have Nothing" Whitney Houston "The Bodyguard" Safe
3 Jon Peter Lewis "Jailhouse Rock" Elvis Presley "Jailhouse Rock" Eliminated
4 Diana DeGarmo "My Heart Will Go On" Celine Dion "Titanic" Bottom 3
5 Fantasia Barrino "Summertime" Abbie Mitchell "Porgy and Bess" Safe
6 Jasmine Trias "When I Fall in Love" Doris Day "Sleepless in Seattle" Safe
7 John Stevens "As Time Goes By" Dooley Wilson "Casablanca" Bottom 2
8 La Toya London "Somewhere" Reri Grist "West Side Story" Safe
Result Show
Christina Christian "Forever and Never" Christina Christian

Top 7 (Barry Manilow)

Mentor and guest judge - Barry Manilow

# Performer Song Result
1 Diana DeGarmo "One Voice" Safe
2 George Huff "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again" Safe
3 Jennifer Hudson "Weekend in New England" Eliminated
4 Jasmine Trias "I'll Never Love This Way Again" Safe
5 La Toya London "All The Time" Bottom 3
6 John Stevens "Mandy" Safe
7 Fantasia Barrino "It's a Miracle" Bottom 2
Result Show
Barry Manilow with Top 7 "Let Freedom Ring"

Top 6 (Gloria Estefan)

Mentor and guest judge - Gloria Estefan Guest band - The Miami Sound Machine

# Performer Song Result
1 Fantasia Barrino "Get on Your Feet" Safe
2 George Huff "Live for Loving You" Bottom 2
3 La Toya London "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" Safe
4 John Stevens "Music of My Heart" Eliminated
5 Jasmine Trias "Here We Are" Bottom 3
6 Diana DeGarmo "Turn the Beat Around" Safe
Result Show
Top 6 Gloria Estefan medley

Top 5 (Big Band)

# Performer Song Artist Result
Diana DeGarmo "Someone to Watch Over Me"
"Get Happy"
Gertrude Lawrence
Ruth Etting
George Huff "Cheek to Cheek"
"What a Wonderful World"
Fred Astaire
Louis Armstrong
La Toya London "Too Close for Comfort"
"Don't Rain on My Parade"
Eydie Gormé
Barbra Streisand
Jasmine Trias "The Way You Look Tonight"
"Almost Like Being in Love"
Fred Astaire
Nat King Cole
Bottom 2
Fantasia Barrino "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"
"What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?"
Julie Andrews

Top 4 (Disco)

Guest judge - Donna Summer

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Jasmine Trias "Everlasting Love" Carl Carlton Safe
2 La Toya London "Love You Inside Out" The Bee Gees Eliminated
3 Fantasia Barrino "Knock on Wood" Eddie Floyd Bottom 2
4 Diana DeGarmo "This Is It" Melba Moore Safe
5 Jasmine Trias "It's Raining Men" The Weather Girls Safe
6 La Toya London "Don't Leave Me This Way" Thelma Houston Eliminated
7 Fantasia Barrino "Holding Out for a Hero" Bonnie Tyler Bottom 2
8 Diana DeGarmo "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" Donna Summer/
Barbra Streisand
Result Show
Top 4 "Bad Girls"/
"Hot Stuff"/
"Heaven Knows"/
"She Works Hard for the Money"
Donna Summer
Donna Summer (with Top 4) "Last Dance" Donna Summer
Clay Aiken (with Top 4) "Fantasy" Earth, Wind & Fire
Donna Summer "MacArthur Park" Richard Harris

Top 3 (Idols' Choice, Judges' Choice, Clive's Choice)

Guest judge - Clive Davis

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Jasmine Trias "Saving All My Love for You" Whitney Houston Eliminated
2 Fantasia Barrino "Chain of Fools" Aretha Franklin Safe
3 Diana DeGarmo "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell Safe
4 Jasmine Trias "Mr. Melody" - Paula Abdul Natalie Cole Eliminated
5 Fantasia Barrino "A Fool in Love" - Simon Cowell Ike & Tina Turner Safe
6 Diana DeGarmo "Because You Loved Me" - Randy Jackson Celine Dion Safe
7 Jasmine Trias "All By Myself" Eric Carmen Eliminated
8 Fantasia Barrino "Greatest Love of All" George Benson Safe
9 Diana DeGarmo "Don't Cry Out Loud" Melissa Manchester Safe
Result Show
Tamyra Gray "Star" Tamyra Gray
Guy Sebastian "Angels Brought Me Here" Guy Sebastian
Tamyra Gray "Raindrops Will Fall" Tamyra Gray

Top 2 (Finale)

# Performer Song Artist Result
1 Diana DeGarmo "I Believe" Tamyra Gray Runner-Up
2 Fantasia Barrino "All My Life" K-Ci and Jo-Jo WINNER
3 Diana DeGarmo "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" Donna Summer/
Barbra Streisand
4 Fantasia Barrino "Summertime" George Gershwin WINNER
5 Diana DeGarmo "Don't Cry Out Loud" Melissa Manchester Runner-Up
6 Fantasia Barrino "I Believe" Tamyra Gray WINNER
Paul Anka "My Way"1 Frank Sinatra
  • Note 1: The song was rewritten by Paul Anka specially for the episode as a recap for the season.
Finale Result Show
Performer Song Artist
Tamyra Gray "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Top 2 with

Kelly Clarkson,
Ruben Studdard

"The Impossible Dream" Richard Kiley
Kelly Clarkson "Beautiful Disaster" Kelly Clarkson
Top 12 "Reach Out I'll Be There"

"Heaven Knows"
"She Works Hard for Her Money"
"It Don't Mean A Thing"
"I'm Still Standing"
"I Made it Through the Rain"

The Four Tops

Gloria Estefan
Donna Summer
Donna Summer
Ashford & Simpson
Duke Ellington
Elton John
Barry Manilow

Ruben Studdard "What If" Ruben Studdard
Diana DeGarmo "I Believe" Fantasia
Fantasia Barrino "Dreams" Diana DeGarmo
Top 2 "I Knew You Were Waiting" Aretha Franklin/
George Michael
Fantasia Barrino "I Believe" Fantasia

After a nationwide vote of more than 65 million votes in total—more than the first two seasons combined--Fantasia Barrino won the "American Idol" title beating out Diana DeGarmo. The third season was also shown in Australia on Network Ten about half a week after episodes were shown in the US. Leah LaBelle is the first contestant to advance to the finals via Wild Card then get eliminated in the first week of the finals.

As a nod to the "Did Clay see the card?" controversy in AI2, Ryan Seacrest was instructed to memorize the winner's name and the vote margin and was given a blank card to hold while reporting the results. However, in a post-show interview with USA Today, Diana DeGarmo admitted that she had figured out that she had not won when the contestants were going over the schedule for the finale and she saw she would be singing "I Believe" (the winner's single) before the results were announced. Realizing that she would not be scheduled to sing a song she would have to sing again minutes later if she were announced as the winner, she correctly deduced that she had lost and Fantasia had won.

At the time of the finale many celebrities voiced their support for Fantasia: Frankie Muniz, Sharon Osbourne, Ray Romano, Amy Yasbeck, Nicole Kidman, Lori Loughlin, Patti LaBelle, Andy Richter, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Holly Robinson Peete, Giuliana Rancic, Toni Braxton, Ben Stiller, Redman (TV Guide), Method Man (TV Guide) Richard Schiff, Kate Hudson (On the Tonight Show), Lea Thompson and Mo'Nique.

Henry Winkler said "You've got incredible judges, Simon speaks the truth, I always agree with him. And Ryan is really good at what he does, but Fantasia," he smiles, "there's something in her that is bigger than anything. We voted for her about 250 times!"

Kelly Clarkson is quoted in the June 14th, 2004 People Magazine as saying she voted for Fantasia: "I just hit redial, redial."

Prior to the results show, the governors of Georgia and North Carolina -- the home states of DeGarmo and Barrino respectively—announced a friendly bet between them over which state's resident would prevail, each wagering a VIP NASCAR ticket package and a shipment of his state's signature fruit. The bet participants were Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, a Republican, and North Carolina Governor Mike Easley, a Democrat.[13]

Elimination chart

Did Not Perform Top 32 Wild Card Top 12
Stage: Semi-Finals Wild
Week: 2/11 2/18 2/25 3/03 3/10 3/17 3/24 3/31 4/07 4/15* 4/21 4/28 5/05 5/12 5/19 5/26
Place Contestant Result
1 Fantasia Barrino 1st Bottom 2 Bottom 2 Winner
2 Diana DeGarmo 2nd Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Runner-Up
3 Jasmine Trias 2nd Bottom 2 Bottom 3 Bottom 2 Elim
4 La Toya London 1st Bottom 3 Top 3 Bottom 3 Elim
5 George Huff 3rd Adv Top 3 Bottom 2 Elim
6 John Stevens 1st Bottom 2 Elim
7 Jennifer Hudson Elim Adv Bottom 2 Bottom 2 Top 3 Elim
8 Jon Peter Lewis 3rd 1st Elim
9 Camile Velasco 1st Bottom 2 Elim
10 Amy Adams 2nd Bottom 3 Elim
11 Matthew Rogers 2nd Elim
12 Leah LaBelle Elim Adv Elim
Elizabeth LeTendre Elim Elim
Matthew Metzger 3rd
Suzy Vulaca Elim
Katie Webber Elim
Heather Piccinni Elim
John Preator
Tiara Purifoy
Lisa Wilson
Charly Lowry Elim
Jonah Moananu
Eric Yoder
Lisa Leuschner 3rd
Marisa Joy Elim
Kara Master
Briana Ramirez-Rial
Jesus Roman
Noel Roman
Marque Lynche Elim
Ashley Thomas
Erskine Walcott

Paul Anka made an appearance in the Season Finale.

* During the week of April 15, the week got delayed for White House press conference on Tuesday, April 13, 2004. The performance show was moved to Wednesday, April 14. Jon Peter Lewis was sent home on Thursday, April 15.


Viewers raised many complaints when, during the semifinals Wild Card round, four of the contestants were inexplicably eliminated on the spot without having had the chance to sing and compete first, leaving only eight out of twelve contestants eligible for selection. Marque Lynch, who was one of the 4 contestants brought back for the Wild Card show but not allowed to sing, walked out after he was told that he wouldn't be performing on the show. The other 3 stayed in the audience for the duration of the show.

Both Jennifer Hudson and La Toya London, part of final twelve, were eliminated, despite high praises from the judges. After Hudson was eliminated, Sir Elton John, who was a mentor for that season criticized the vote as 'incredibly racist' in a press conference.[14]

The elimination of both Hudson and London has been pointed out as a classic demonstration of vote-splitting in the American Idol vote, in which the presence of similar choices reduces the votes for each of the similar choices. Hudson, London and Barrino (who would eventually go on to win the competition) were female, African-American, highly praised singers—all appealing to the same demographic bloc of voters. All three of these previously popular singers ended up in the "bottom three" the night Hudson was eliminated—the three having the lowest individual vote counts.[15]

Question were nevertheless raised about the inadequacy of the phone voting system when it was revealed that the state of Hawaii with a population of just 1.2 million managed to log more calls than every states apart New York and California.[16] Jasmine Trias' fans from Hawaii, which is on its own time zone, enjoyed a far less crowded calling period and were able to get more of their votes through.

US Nielsen ratings

This season the show was ranked second overall in total viewer for the 2003-2004 TV seasons, with its Tuesday episodes taking the top spot, averaging 25.73 million viewers, while the Wednesday episodes ranked third with 24.31 million.[17] It became the top-rated show for the 18-49 demographic for the season.[18], a position it has held for all subsequent years up to and including 2010.

Episode list
Show Episode Air date Week
(in millions)
1 "Audition: New York"[19] January 19, 2004 2 12.9 29.0
2 "Audition: Atlanta"[19] January 20, 2004 3 12.5 28.6
3 "Audition: Houston"[19] January 21, 2004 1 12.7 29.4
4 "Audition: Los Angeles and San Francisco"[20] January 27, 2004 3 13.0 29.6
5 "Audition: Hawaii"[20] January 28, 2004 4 12.0 28.3
6 "Road to Hollywood, Best and Worst of the Rest"[21] February 2, 2004 8 9.7 21.1
7 "Hollywood Week: Part 1"[21] February 3, 2004 1 13.1 30.1
8 "Hollywood Week: Part 2"[21] February 4, 2004 3 12.6 28.8
9 "Top 32: Group 1"[22] February 10, 2004 2 11.1 26.2
10 "Top 32: Group 1 Results"[22] February 11, 2004 4 10.5 24.5
11 "Top 32: Group 2" February 17, 2004 2 10.9 25.2
12 "Top 32: Group 2 Results" February 18, 2004 6 9.8 22.1
13 "Top 32: Group 3"[23] February 24, 2004 4 11.3 26.6
14 "Top 32: Group 3 Results"[23] February 25, 2004 5 10.3 23.0
15 "Special: Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented"[24] March 1, 2004 6 8.5 19.7
16 "Top 32: Group 4"[24] March 2, 2004 1 11.1 25.5
17 "Top 32: Group 4 Results"[24] March 3, 2004 7 8.5 19.3
18 "Wildcard"[25] March 9, 2004 2 10.7 24.6
19 "Wildcard Results"[25] March 10, 2004 4 9.7 22.0
20 "Top 12 Perform"[26] March 16, 2004 1 11.3 26.7
21 "Top 12 Results"[26] March 17, 2004 2 9.7 22.9
22 "Top 11 Perform"[27] March 23, 2004 1 11.5 27.0
23 "Top 11 Results"[27] March 24, 2004 3 8.8 20.4
24 "Top 10 Perform"[28] March 30, 2004 2 8.8 25.9
25 "Top 10 Results"[28] March 31, 2004 3 9.4 21.9
26 "Top 9 Perform"[28] April 6, 2004 1 10.1 23.5
27 "Top 9 Results"[28] April 7, 2004 4 8.9 20.6
28 "Top 8 Perform"[29](1) April 14, 2004 3 9.7 23.1
29 "Top 8 Results"[29](1) April 15, 2004 8 6.2 15.3
30 "Top 7 Perform"[30] April 20, 2004 1 10.1 23.4
31 "Top 7 Results"[30] April 21, 2004 3 9.3 21.2
32 "Top 6 Perform"[31] April 27, 2004 1 10.4 23.4
33 "Top 6 Results"[31] April 28, 2004 3 9.3 21.2
34 "Special: The Final Five"[32] May 3, 2004 22 4.8 11.7
35 "Top 5 Perform"[32] May 4, 2004 6 9.0 22.8
36 "Top 5 Results"[32] May 5, 2004 7 8.8 21.2
37 "Top 4 Perform"[33] May 11, 2004 3 9.6 23.2
38 "Top 4 Results"[33] May 12, 2004 5 10.0 22.3
39 "Special: The Final Three"[34] May 3, 2004 4.2
40 "Top 3 Perform"[34] May 18, 2004 2 10.0 23.6
41 "Top 3 Results"[34] May 19, 2004 4 9.8 22.4
42 "Special: The American Idol Phenomenon"[34] May 23, 2004 27 3.7 10.8
43 "Top 2 Perform (Finale)"[35] May 25, 2004 2 10.6 25.1
44 "American Idol Season 3 Finale"[35] May 26, 2004 1 12.0 28.8

Note 1: The Top 8 shows were shifted to Wednesday and Thursday due to a presidential address on Tuesday.

Music Releases

Major releases

Minor or independent releases

(This list does not include pre-Idol releases)

  • Love, Lipstick and Poetry (Kiira Bivens)
  • Love, Lana (Lana Phillips)
  • Sing Me Home (Lisa Leuschner)
  • Str8up Band (Dina Lopez)
  • I'll Be Seeing You (John Preator)
  • This Is Next Time (Alan Ritchson)
  • Sun Shiney Day (Lisa Wilson)
  • "If I Go Away" / "Man Like Me" (single) (Jon Peter Lewis)
  • Just Like Magic (Donnie Williams)
  • Reality (Lisa Leuschner)

Sources:, CD Baby

See also

  • American Idols LIVE! Tour 2004


  1. ^ "American Idol auditions". Archived from the original on August 10, 2003. Retrieved September 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ They came. They sang. But only a handful will get to the big show.
  3. ^ 10/8: Later Idol auditions back in the ATL
  4. ^ Making the cut is 'American Idol' dream
  5. ^ "'American Idol' hopefuls go before Simon, Paula and Randy". Houston Chronicle. September 5, 2003. Archived from the original on September 6, 2003. Retrieved September 12, 2011. 
  6. ^ Idol Dreams
  7. ^ Paly's Own American Idol
  8. ^ 'Idol 3' auditions plan September stop in state
  9. ^ Go, Jesamyn., He's a loser, baby,, 2004-02-24, Retrieved on 2007-03-02.
  10. ^ William Hung 'Bangs' Latin Lovers, R. Kelly Cover On Inspiration
  11. ^ "Top 24 American Idols of All Time". Billboard. Retrieved February 24, 2011. 
  12. ^ Donnie Williams pulled from 'Idol' following arrest, replaced by George Huff
  13. ^ San Diego Union-Tribune: Governors place bets on 'American Idol' winner, May 25, 2004
  14. ^ Elton John Says 'American Idol' Vote Is 'Racist', Reuters via, 2004-04-28, Retrieved on 2007-03-02.
  15. ^ American Idol voting,, Retrieved on 2007-03-02.
  16. ^ Calls Waiting: 'Idol' Voters Finally Get Through to Fox
  17. ^ I. T. R. S. Ranking Report
  18. ^ Jasmine Trias exits 'American Idol', Fantasia Barrino and Diana DeGarmo to compete in final showdown
  19. ^ a b c AI week 1
  20. ^ a b AI week 2
  21. ^ a b c AI week 3
  22. ^ a b AI week 4
  23. ^ a b AI week 6
  24. ^ a b c AI week 7
  25. ^ a b AI week 8
  26. ^ a b AI week 9
  27. ^ a b AI week 10
  28. ^ a b c d AI week 12
  29. ^ a b AI week 13
  30. ^ a b AI week 14
  31. ^ a b AI week 15
  32. ^ a b c AI week 16
  33. ^ a b AI week 17
  34. ^ a b c d AI week 18
  35. ^ a b AI week 19

External links

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