|Name(s):||American Idol, Idol, AI|
|Scope/Focus:||fandom for the various contestants on the US reality television show American Idol|
|See also:||Adam Lambert|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
American Idol is a televised reality competition in which amateur singers compete to win a recording contract. Part of the Idol franchise, it was created by Simon Fuller as a spin-off from the British show Pop Idol. The show has since become one of the most popular in the history of American television.
The American Idol fandom has spawned large quantities of graphic art, fan vids, and RPF. The majority of fanworks produced for American Idol are based on the contestants. Because each season introduces and features new contestants, American Idol fandom tends to be divided into smaller sub-fandoms based on individual seasons. "Crossovers" between seasons are not uncommon.
The mailing list AmericanIdolFanFic was created on August 16, 2002, during the show's first season. Early stories included slash, femslash, and het involving many of the first season contestants as well as the judges and hosts. The list was fairly busy until 2004, after which activity declined. The last new story was posted in April 2005.
Fandom interest in American Idol has grown steadily since the show's debut in 2002, with surges of activity during and/or immediately after each season, as new contestants are introduced and develop followings. The popularity of a season 7 pairing, Cookleta, and of a season 8 pairing, Kradam (see below), has established American Idol as a major fandom with a high level of fan activity.
Winner: Scotty McCreery
Due to a series of events, season 9 has not produced any kind of major fan interest. For a third consecutive year, the winner, Leon (Lee) Dewyze, is a white male who played the guitar. Although the judges have been saying that season 9 will be a 'girls' season, it became quickly apparent that the girls only hope for the Idol crown was, eventual runner-up, Crystal Bowersox.
Season 8: Kradam
One of the finalists of season 8 was a very flamboyant glamrocker named Adam Lambert (who came out publicly just as soon as season 8 was over). The contrast between Lambert and the other final candidates practically wrote its own story line—especially when Idol made Lambert and the eventual winner, Kris Allen, into roommates in the Idol Mansion for the last weeks of the competition, and then proceeded to film them hugging over and over and over.
Recruitment was aided by buffyx' charming fandom primer (called either "The Epic KRADAM Bromance Guide For Idiots" or WE JUST FELT EACH OTHER'S ENERGY, AND IT WAS NICE) and yeats' wonderfully maintained rec page: Adam Lambert fic that doesn't suck.
AI8 qualified for Yuletide 2009 as a new fandom. Many of the top ten stories for 2009 were Adam/Kris-or-someone.
Main Season 8 "characters"
- Kris Allen -- winner of American Idol season 8, short (occasionally called "pocket Idol"), muscular, laid-back, quiet, married to childhood sweetheart Katy O'Connell
- Adam Lambert -- runner-up of American Idol season 8, tall, Jewish, flamboyant, out, controversial, seen as a party boy, seen as "toppy"
- Allison Iraheta -- in the final 4; 16-17 during Idol; bright red hair; both Adam and Kris called her 'our little sister'; awesome rock voice for a young singer
- Danny Gokey -- in the final 3; generally written as a dick. His wife died during the year he was involved in Idol, and some people felt he used that to get into the finals; some people felt he was a bit self-righteous, religiously.
- Michael Sarver -- made the final 10. Originally seen as having a problem with Adam, and written as a religious dick by the fandom, but as he and Adam seemed to become closer during the tour, his fictional persona became less dickish.
- Matt Giraud -- top 5; is a formidable pianist. Scorned!Matt is a meme started on ONTD_AI when it was known that Kris Allen, who was his roommate during Hollywood Week, became Adam Lambert's roommate in the Idol Mansion. Lambert has 'stolen' his bromance.
- Anoop Desai -- Top 7; Anoop is of Indian heritage. Intellectual, and introvert, Anoop is seen as a serious musician.
- Lil Rounds -- Top 7; mom to a few kids, Lil is known to talk back to the judges.
- Scott MacIntyre -- Top 8; known as the 'blind guy'
- Megan Joy -- top 9; very attractive, quirky, single-mom to a son
Other Season 8 pairings
- Adam/Brad (Adam's first love and only major boyfriend pre-Idol)
- Adam/Tommy (Adam's straight keyboard player—kissed by Adam on the American Music Awards in front of a million people)
- Kris/other (Because Kris is very friendly with everyone, he is often considered to be the 'little black dress' of the season.)
- Kris/Cale (Kris's friend from Arkansas and current bandmate)
- Kris/Jim (Jim is a MTV reporter and they tease each other on camera. They are known as Krim)
Season 7: Cookleta
The finalists for season 7 were two men: David Cook and David Archuleta. Though they had little in common musically, and David Archuleta was v. young, a Mormon, and apparently a virgin, a small fandom (probably a few hundred stories) did spring up around the pairing, partially because astolat became intrigued by them and wrote several lengthy, well received stories. However, the popularity of the fandom was large and growing by the day in itself.
The other idol finalists, especially Carly Smithson, Michael Johns and Jason Castro, became recurring characters in the stories.
Once the next series of idol started, the season 7 finalists started showing up in season 8 stories as well; and as season 8 fandom took off, some of those new fans (completists of a sort?) read back into season 7 as well, setting off a 2009 mini-boomlet of season 7 interest.
Seasons 1 – 6
- Season 1—Winner: Kelly Clarkson, Runner-Up: Justin Guarini
- Season 2—Winner: Ruben Studdard, Runner-Up: Clay Aiken
- Season 3—Winner: Fantasia Barrino, Runner-Up: Diana DeGarmo
- Season 4—Winner: Carrie Underwood, Runner-Up: Bo Bice
- Season 5—Winner: Taylor Hicks, Runner-Up: Katharine McPhee
- Season 6—Winner: Jordin Sparks, Runner-Up: Blake Lewis
Judges and Hosts
There exists a small but active fandom based on the judges, particularly Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul (seasons 1-8), and host, Ryan Seacrest. The main pairing is Simon/Paula, or "Saula", but Ryan/Simon ("Rymon") has maintained a steady, small, but devoted cult following.
- American Idol (Season 7) primer on crack_van, by nsaphrodite
- American Idol - Season Eight primer on crack_van, by onthehillside
- AI8 primer
- AI8 rec page
- MJ's American Idol blog
- Television Without Pity AI Forums
- ontd_ai Livejournal community is the amazingly high-traffic American Idol spinoff of the popular ohnotheydidnt Livejournal community
- First moderator post to idolslash, April 12, 2003. Last accessed March 13, 2010.