The (Mostly) Definitive (But Totally Fan-Driven) History Of American Idol: An Interactive Timeline

kelly clarkson wins american idol
Photo by LUCY NICHOLSON/AP/REX/Shutterstock

If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.

American Idol is back. After less than two years since it bid farewell on FOX, the show has been revived for primetime by ABC, with new judges, Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie sitting at the panel, and Ryan Seacrest returning as host.

But are viewers ready for another go-around of Idol? Once the crown jewel of television shows, Idol has seen reality competition rivals like The Voice and the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu slowly replace it at the top of the viewing throne.

And yet, as this look-back of American Idol reveals, there’s something startlingly spellbinding about the show, which has managed to capture our collective hearts and our nation’s attention for almost two decades.

From the shocking eliminations, to the most memorable performances, and even that season with Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, we’re offering our fan-driven account of one of the greatest television shows of all time. This… is American Idol.