American Idol (season 3)

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American Idol
Season 3
American Idol logo.svg
Hosted byRyan Seacrest
JudgesPaula Abdul
Simon Cowell
Randy Jackson
WinnerFantasia Barrino
Runner-upDiana DeGarmo
Finals venueKodak Theatre
Release
Original networkFox
Original releaseJanuary 19 (2004-01-19) –
May 26, 2004 (2004-05-26)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4
List of American Idol episodes

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 the sixth season. This season also featured Jennifer Hudson, who would subsequently win the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. This was the last season to be aired in standard definition, with the only exception being the grand finale.

This was the first season where both the winner and the runner-up had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, and the first season to have a finale with two female contestants. It is also the first season where a Wild Card contestant, Leah LaBelle, was eliminated in the first episode of the finals. It was the first season to have a gender imbalance among the finalists, with eight female finalists and four 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 number one, 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 all released albums since the season ended. Leah LaBelle was signed by Epic Records.[1]

Changes[edit]

Unlike previous seasons, this season the semi-finalists performed in front of a small studio audience, with orchestra accompaniment on backing tape. During Top 10 was the first time where there were five judges when the duo Ashford & Simpson joined as judges.

Regional auditions[edit]

Auditions were held in the following cities:[2]

Episode(s) City Preliminary Date Preliminary Venue Filming date(s) Filming venue Golden tickets
1 New York City, New York August 25, 2003 Jacob K. Javits Convention Center August 29, 2003 Waldorf-Astoria Hotel[3] 29
2 Atlanta, Georgia August 20, 2003 Georgia Dome September 2003 Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart[4] 24
3 Houston, Texas August 13, 2003 Minute Maid Park September 4–5, 2003[5] InterContinental Houston[6] 13
4 Los Angeles, California August 3, 2003 Rose Bowl September 2003 Renaissance Hollywood Hotel[7] 25
San Francisco, California September 22, 2003 Pac Bell Park September 2003 Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel[8] 10
5 Honolulu, Hawaii September 30, 2003 Aloha Stadium October 4–5, 2003 Sheraton Waikiki Hotel[9] 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.[10] 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.[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."[12] Security quickly escorted Jonathan out, and Houston police questioned him, but released him after Simon decided against pressing assault charges on him. Other prominent auditioners that year were "scooter girl" Nicole Tieri, and Alan Ritchson who sang to Paula Abdul alone.[13]

Hollywood week[edit]

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 group was 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 three groups and placed in separate rooms, with one group sent home. 32 contestants remained for the semi-finals.

Semi-finals[edit]

The contestants who reached this stage were referred to in the show as the Top 32 finalists.

George Huff replaced Donnie Williams in Semifinal Round 4 after Williams was disqualified following a DUI arrest.[14]

Unlike previous seasons, this season the contestants performed in front of a small studio audience, with orchestra accompaniment on backing tape. As with the second season, 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.

During the wild card show, twelve contestants were invited back to participate. However, in a controversial move, after being evaluated during the week in rehearsals, only eight were chosen by the producers to sing that night.

Four contestants in the wild card round were eliminated by the judges before they had the chance to sing. They were Lisa Leuschner, Eric Yoder, Tiara Purifoy, and Marque Lynche.

Color key:

  Contestant was chosen by the public vote and moved on to the live shows
  Contestant was not chosen by the public and was left to perform again for the judges
  Contestant was chosen by the judges via wild card and moved on to the live shows
  Contestant was eliminated

Group 1[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original 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) Wild Card (Top 3)
8 Fantasia Barrino "Something to Talk About" (Bonnie Raitt) Advanced

Group 2[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original 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

Group 3[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original 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) Wild Card (Top 3)
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 LaToya London "All By Myself" (Eric Carmen) Advanced

Group 4[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original 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) Wild Card (Top 3)
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[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Jon Peter Lewis "A Little Less Conversation" (Elvis Presley) Advanced (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) Advanced (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) Advanced (Paula's Choice)
8 Jennifer Hudson "I Believe in You and Me" (Four Tops) Advanced (Randy's Choice)

Finalists[edit]

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

Finals[edit]

In this season, guest judges were introduced in some episodes, and sometimes the mentor joined as judges.

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

Color key:

  Contestant was saved by America's vote
  Contestant was in the bottom three or two, but was saved by America's vote
  Contestant was eliminated
  Contestant won the season
  Contestant finished as the runner-up
  Contestant finished in 3rd place

Top 12 – Soul[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 LaToya London "Ain't Nobody" (Chaka Khan) Safe
2 Amy Adams "You Make Me Feel Brand New" (The Stylistics) Bottom Three
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" (Aretha Franklin) Bottom Two
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
Non-competition performances
Order Performers Song (original artist)
1.1 Top 12 Soul medley
1.2 Clay Aiken "Solitaire" (Neil Sedaka)

Top 11 – Country[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Result
1 Diana DeGarmo "A Broken Wing" (Martina McBride) Bottom Three
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 Two
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 LaToya London "Ain't Goin' Down ('Til the Sun Comes Up)" (Garth Brooks) Safe
11 Amy Adams "Sin Wagon" (Dixie Chicks) Safe
Non-competition performance
Order Performers Song
2.1 Kimberley Locke "8th World Wonder"

Top 10 – Motown[edit]

Order Contestant Song (original 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 LaToya London "Ooo Baby Baby" (The Miracles) Bottom Three
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 Two
7 Jasmine Trias "You're All I Need to Get By" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) Safe
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
Non-competition performance
Order Performers Song (original artist)
3.1 Top 10 "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell)

Top 9 – Elton John[edit]

  • Guest Mentor: Elton John
Order Contestant 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 Two
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 Three
8 LaToya London "Someone Saved My Life Tonight" Safe
9 Jennifer Hudson "Circle of Life" Safe
Non-competition performance
Order Performers Song
4.1 Top 9 (Boys) "Daniel"
Top 9 (Girls) "Bennie and the Jets"
Top 9 "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"
4.2 Tamyra Gray "Raindrops Will Fall"

Top 8 – Movie Soundtracks[edit]

Guest judge: Quentin Tarantino[17]

Order Contestant Song (original artist) Featured Movie Result
1 George Huff "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" (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 Three
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 Two
8 LaToya London "Somewhere" (Reri Grist) West Side Story Safe
Non-competition performance
Order Performers Song
5.1 Christina Christian "Forever and Never"[18]

Top 7 – Barry Manilow[edit]

Order Contestant 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 LaToya London "All the Time" Bottom Three
6 John Stevens "Mandy" Safe
7 Fantasia Barrino "It's a Miracle" Bottom Two
Non-competition performance
Order Performers Song
6.1 Top 7 and Barry Manilow "Let Freedom Ring"

Top 6 – Gloria Estefan[edit]

Order Contestant Song Result
1 Fantasia Barrino "Get on Your Feet" Safe
2 George Huff "Live for Loving You" Bottom Two
3 LaToya London "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You" Safe
4 John Stevens "Music of My Heart" Eliminated
5 Jasmine Trias "Here We Are" Bottom Three
6 Diana DeGarmo "Turn the Beat Around" Safe
Non-competition performance
Order Performers Song (original artist)
7.1 Top 6 Gloria Estefan medley

Top 5 – Big Band[edit]

Contestant Order First song (original artist) Order Second song (original artist) Result
Diana DeGarmo 1 "Someone to Watch Over Me" (Gertrude Lawrence) 2 " Get Happy" (Ruth Etting) Safe
George Huff 3 "Cheek to Cheek" (Fred Astaire) 4 "What a Wonderful World" (Louis Armstrong) Eliminated
LaToya London 5 "Too Close for Comfort" (Eydie Gormé) 6 "Don't Rain on My Parade" (Barbra Streisand ) Safe
Jasmine Trias 7 "The Way You Look Tonight" (Fred Astaire) 8 "Almost Like Being in Love" (Nat King Cole) Bottom Two
Fantasia Barrino 9 "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Queen) 10 "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?" (Julie Andrews) Safe

Top 4 – Disco[edit]

Guest judge: Donna Summer

Contestant Order First song (original artist) Order Second song (original artist) Result
Jasmine Trias 1 "Everlasting Love" (Carl Carlton) 5 "It's Raining Men" (The Weather Girls) Safe
LaToya London 2 "Love You Inside Out" (The Bee Gees) 6 "Don't Leave Me This Way" (Thelma Houston) Eliminated
Fantasia Barrino 3 "Knock on Wood" (Eddie Floyd) 7 "Holding Out for a Hero" (Bonnie Tyler) Bottom Two
Diana DeGarmo 4 "This Is It" (Melba Moore) 8 "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer) Safe
Non-competition performances
Order Performers Song(s)
9.1 Top 4 "Bad Girls"
"Hot Stuff"
"Heaven Knows"
"She Works Hard for the Money"
9.2 Donna Summer "MacArthur Park"
9.3 Top 4 featuring Clay Aiken "Fantasy"

Top 3 – Idols' Choice, Judges' Choice, Clive's Choice[edit]

Guest judge: Clive Davis

Contestant Order First song (original artist) Order Second song (original artist) Order Third song (original artist) Result
Jasmine Trias 1 "Saving All My Love for You" (Whitney Houston) 4 "Mr. Melody" (Natalie Cole) – Paula Abdul 7 "All by Myself" (Eric Carmen) Third Place
Fantasia Barrino 2 "Chain of Fools" (Aretha Franklin) 5 "A Fool in Love" (Ike & Tina Turner) – Simon Cowell 8 "Greatest Love of All" (George Benson) Safe
Diana DeGarmo 3 "Ain't No Mountain High Enough"(Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) 6 "Because You Loved Me" (Celine Dion) – Randy Jackson 9 "Don't Cry Out Loud" (Melissa Manchester) Safe
Non-competition performances
Order Performers Song(s)
10.1 Tamyra Gray "Star"
"Raindrops Will Fall"
10.2 Guy Sebastian "Angels Brought Me Here"

Top 2 – Finale[edit]

Contestant Order First song (original artist) Order Second song (original artist) Order Third song (original artist) Result
Diana DeGarmo 1 "I Believe" 3 "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" (Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer) 5 "Don't Cry Out Loud" (Melissa Manchester) Runner-up
Fantasia Barrino 2 "All My Life" (K-Ci & JoJo) 4 "Summertime" (Abbie Mitchell) 6 "I Believe" Winner
Non-competition performances
Order Performers Song (original artist)
12.1 Paul Anka "My Way"[a]
12.2 Tamyra Gray "The Star-Spangled Banner"
12.3 Kelly Clarkson and Ruben Studdard with Top 2 "The Impossible Dream" (Richard Kiley)
12.4 Kelly Clarkson "Beautiful Disaster"
12.5 Top 12 "Reach Out I'll Be There" (The Four Tops)
"1-2-3" (Gloria Estefan)
"Heaven Knows" (Donna Summer)
"She Works Hard for the Money" (Donna Summer)
"Solid" (Ashford & Simpson)
"It Don't Mean a Thing" (Duke Ellington)
"I'm Still Standing" (Elton John)
"I Made It Through the Rain" (Barry Manilow)
12.6 Ruben Studdard "What If"
12.7 Diana DeGarmo "I Believe"
12.8 Fantasia Barrino "Dreams"
12.9 Aretha Franklin and George Michael with Top 2 "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"
12.10 Fantasia Barrino "I Believe"
  1. ^ The song was rewritten by Anka himself specially for this episode during the recap for this season.

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 the second season, 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.

Kelly Clarkson is quoted in the June 14, 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.[19]

Special performances[edit]

Elimination chart[edit]

Legend
Did Not Perform Top 32 Wild Card Top 12 Winner
Safe Bottom 3 Bottom 2 Eliminated
Stage: Semi-Finals Wild Card Finals
Week: 2/11 2/18 2/25 3/3 3/10 3/17 3/24 3/31 4/7 4/15[a] 4/21 4/28 5/5 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 LaToya London 1st Bottom 3 Bottom 3 Elim
5 George Huff 3rd
Wild Card
Top 12 Bottom 2 Elim
6 John Stevens 1st Bottom 2 Elim
7 Jennifer Hudson Wild Card Top 12 Bottom 2 Bottom 2 Elim
8 Jon Peter Lewis 3rd
Wild Card
1st Elim
9 Camile Velasco 1st Bottom 2 Elim
10 Amy Adams 2nd Bottom 3 Elim
11 Matthew Rogers 2nd Elim
12 Leah LaBelle Wild Card Top 12 Elim
13–16 Elizabeth LeTendre Wild Card Elim
Matthew Metzger 3rd
Wild Card
Suzy Vulaca Wild Card
Katie Webber Wild Card
17–32 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.

  1. ^ During the week of April 14, 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.

Controversy[edit]

Both Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London, part of final twelve, were eliminated, despite high praises from the judges. After Hudson was eliminated, Elton John, who was a mentor for that season, criticized the vote as 'incredibly racist' in a press conference.[20]

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.[21]

Questions 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 other state apart from New York and California.[22] Jasmine Trias' and Camile Velasco's 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.

Reception[edit]

U.S. Nielsen ratings[edit]

Live + same day 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.[23] It became the top-rated show for the 18-49 demographic for the season,[24] a position it has held for all subsequent years up to and including 2011.

Episode list
Show Episode Air date Week
rank
18-49
rating
Viewers
(in millions)
1 "Audition: New York"[25] January 19, 2004 2 12.9 29.0
2 "Audition: Atlanta"[25] January 20, 2004 3 12.5 28.6
3 "Audition: Houston"[25] January 21, 2004 1 12.7 29.4
4 "Audition: Los Angeles and San Francisco"[26] January 27, 2004 3 13.0 29.6
5 "Audition: Hawaii"[26] January 28, 2004 4 12.0 28.3
6 "Road to Hollywood, Best and Worst of the Rest"[27] February 2, 2004 8 9.7 21.1
7 "Hollywood Week: Part 1"[27] February 3, 2004 1 13.1 30.1
8 "Hollywood Week: Part 2"[27] February 4, 2004 3 12.6 28.8
9 "Top 32: Group 1"[28] February 10, 2004 2 11.1 26.2
10 "Top 32: Group 1 Results"[28] 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"[29] February 24, 2004 4 11.3 26.6
14 "Top 32: Group 3 Results"[29] February 25, 2004 5 10.3 23.0
15 "Special: Uncut, Uncensored and Untalented"[30] March 1, 2004 6 8.5 19.7
16 "Top 32: Group 4"[30] March 2, 2004 1 11.1 25.5
17 "Top 32: Group 4 Results"[30] March 3, 2004 7 8.5 19.3
18 "Wildcard"[31] March 9, 2004 2 10.7 24.6
19 "Wildcard Results"[31] March 10, 2004 4 9.7 22.0
20 "Top 12 Perform"[32] March 16, 2004 1 11.3 26.7
21 "Top 12 Results"[32] March 17, 2004 2 9.7 22.9
22 "Top 11 Perform"[33] March 23, 2004 1 11.5 27.0
23 "Top 11 Results"[33] March 24, 2004 3 8.8 20.4
24 "Top 10 Perform"[34] March 30, 2004 2 8.8 25.9
25 "Top 10 Results"[34] March 31, 2004 3 9.4 21.9
26 "Top 9 Perform"[35] April 6, 2004 1 10.1 23.5
27 "Top 9 Results"[34] April 7, 2004 4 8.9 20.6
28 "Top 8 Perform"[36](1) April 14, 2004 3 9.7 23.1
29 "Top 8 Results"[36](1) April 15, 2004 8 6.2 15.3
30 "Top 7 Perform"[37] April 20, 2004 1 10.1 23.4
31 "Top 7 Results"[37] April 21, 2004 3 9.3 21.2
32 "Top 6 Perform"[38] April 27, 2004 1 10.4 23.4
33 "Top 6 Results"[38] April 28, 2004 3 9.3 21.2
34 "Special: The Final Five"[39] May 3, 2004 22 4.8 11.7
35 "Top 5 Perform"[39] May 4, 2004 6 9.0 22.8
36 "Top 5 Results"[39] May 5, 2004 7 8.8 21.2
37 "Top 4 Perform"[40] May 11, 2004 3 9.6 23.2
38 "Top 4 Results"[40] May 12, 2004 5 10.0 22.3
39 "Special: The Final Three"[41] May 17, 2004 4.2
40 "Top 3 Perform"[41] May 18, 2004 2 10.0 23.6
41 "Top 3 Results"[41] May 19, 2004 4 9.8 22.4
42 "Special: The American Idol Phenomenon"[41] May 23, 2004 27 3.7 10.8
43 "Top 2 Perform (Finale)"[42] May 25, 2004 2 10.6 25.1
44 "American Idol Season 3 Finale"[42] 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.

Live + 7 day (DVR) ratings

Critical response[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Related programming[edit]

Home for the Holidays: Kelly, Ruben, & Fantasia

Home for the Holidays: Kelly, Ruben and Fantasia was aired in November 2004.

American Idol Rewind (season 3)

Re-edited episodes of American Idol third season were shown in syndication as American Idol Rewind.

International broadcasts[edit]

Music releases[edit]

Fantasia Barrino[edit]

Diana DeGarmo[edit]

  • "Dreams" (Single, 2004)
  • Blue Skies (Album, 2004)
  • "Emotional" (Single, 2004)
  • Unplugged in Nashville (EP, 2009)
  • "Good Goodbye" (Single, 2012)
  • Live to Love (EP, 2012)
  • Gemini (Album, 2019)

Jasmine Trias[edit]

  • "Love Ko 'To" (Single, 2004)
  • Jasmine Trias (Album, 2005)
  • "Excuses" (Single, 2005)
  • "Lose Control" (Single, 2005)
  • "Sana Lagi" (Single, 2006)
  • "Kung Paano" (Single, 2006)
  • "I'd Rather" (Single, 2006)

Latoya London[edit]

  • Love & Life (Album, 2005)
  • "Appreciate/Every Part of Me/All By Myself" (Single, 2005)

George Huff[edit]

  • My Christmas EP! (EP, 2004)
  • Miracles (Album, 2005)
  • George Huff (Album, 2009)

John Stevens[edit]

Jennifer Hudson[edit]

Jon Peter Lewis[edit]

  • "Turn to Grey" (Single, 2004)
  • "Stories from Hollywood" (Single, 2005)
  • "It's Christmas" (Single, 2005)
  • Stories from Hollywood (Album, 2006)
  • "If I Go Away" / "Man Like Me" (Single, 2006)
  • Break the Silence (Album, 2008)
  • Jon Peter Lewis (EP, 2010)
  • "Crazylove" (Single, 2010)
  • Sugar House (Album, 2014)
  • "Howling at the Moon" (Single, 2014)
  • Roughcuts (EP, 2015)

Camile Velasco[edit]

  • "Hanging On" (Single, 2005)
  • "Guava Jelly" (Single, 2008)
  • "Super Star" (Single, 2010)
  • "All My Time" (Single, 2013)
  • Dub Stop (EP, 2014)
  • "Dub Stop" (Single, 2014)
  • "You Don't Say" (Single, 2015)
  • "Mr. Sensi" (Single, 2017)
  • Tricky One (EP, 2018)
  • "Can't Get Enough" (Single, 2018)

Leah LaBelle[edit]

  • "Sexify" (Single, 2012)
  • "What Do We Got To Lose?" (Single, 2012)
  • "Lolita" (Single, 2013)
  • Love to the Moon (EP, 2018)

William Hung[edit]

Lisa Leuschner[edit]

  • Sing Me Home (Album, 2004)
  • Reality (Album, 2007)

Alan Ritchson[edit]

  • This Is Next Time (Album, 2006)
  • "Mojito" (Single, 2014)

Other Contestants[edit]

  • "Love, Lipstick and Poetry" (Kiira Bivens - Single, 2005)
  • Str8up Band (Dina Lopez's band Str8up - Album, 2005)
  • "Love, Lana" (Lana Phillips - Single, 2005)
  • I'll Be Seeing You (John Preator - Album, 2005)
  • Sun Shiney Day (Lisa Wilson - Single, 2006)
  • Just Like Magic (Donnie Williams - Album, 2008)

Concert tour[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]