Pop Idol

2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Television

Pop Idol
Pop Idol logo
Genre Talent show
Presented by Ant & Dec
Starring Judges:
Simon Cowell,
Pete Waterman,
Nicki Chapman,
Neil Fox
Country of origin Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom
No. of series 2
Original channel ITV1
Original run October 5, 2001 – December 20, 2003

Pop Idol is a British television series which debuted on ITV1 on October 5, 2001; the show was a talent contest to decide the best new young popular music singer, or 'pop idol', in the United Kingdom, based on viewer voting and participation.

The Idol series has become an international franchise; it has spun off many successful shows such as Idol, American Idol, Idols, Canadian Idol, Australian Idol, Idols West Africa, Indian Idol, Indonesian Idol, New Zealand Idol, Philippine Idol, Nouvelle Star , Deutschland sucht den SuperStar, Singapore Idol, Malaysian Idol, Music Idol, Ídolos Brazil, Ídolos Portugal, and Super Star.

Series format

Unusually, the format was created not by TV producers but by music impresario Simon Fuller, in 1998. Having seen the project as initially web based, the reality TV boom of the late '90's led him to take his format and inject elements of the variety talent shows of the 1970s and Popstars.

One of the UK's top-earning TV format exports, Pop Idol made extensive use of premium-priced viewer interactivity, with viewers voting by telephone, mobile telephone texting, through the " red button" on digital television sets or voting via the official website. The final of the first series of Pop Idol in February 2002 received the highest-ever one-night vote for a UK TV show, making the show one of ITV1's most profitable. The sister show on ITV2, Pop Idol Extra, also made extensive use of mobile phone text messages to raise additional revenue. The first Pop Idol received very high voting figures despite not make use of texting or the 'red button' but only telephone and Internet voting.

In the Saturday night primetime show, hopefuls first auditioned before four judges ( Pete Waterman, Simon Cowell, Nicki Chapman and Neil "Dr" Fox). Besides the successful auditioners, the poorest "singers" were often aired due to their obvious lack of talent or presence. Poor singers often faced harsh criticisms from many judges, mainly Simon Cowell (whose controversial rantings also made him famous on American Idol). The judge's reactions often extended from disgust to nearly open laughter over such performances.

Once auditions wrapped up, judges narrowed down the performers to a final 50, themselves narrowed down in weekly heats to ten (in the second series twelve) finalists by a viewer vote. After that, each contestant performed live. Viewers had several hours following the broadcast of the show to phone in their votes for their favorite contestant. On the night's second episode (live again), the contestant with the fewest votes was sent home. The show was presented by British TV personalities Ant & Dec.

In the first season, Will Young won, with Gareth Gates coming in second. Michelle McManus won the second season contest. However, after the second season Simon Cowell was contracted to produce the first series of The X Factor for ITV (Cowell's Syco TV owns the rights to The X Factor) and the channel decided to focus on this new show, placing Pop Idol on indefinite hiatus. However, its impact was intense and led 19 Entertainment and Fremantle Media to roll the format out globally, currently with over 50 versions in 110 countries.

Series one

Date Bottom Three
15 December Korben Jessica Garlick Laura Doherty
22 December Jessica Garlick (2) Laura Doherty (2) Rosie Ribbons
29 December Aaron Bailey Rosie Ribbons (2) Laura Doherty (3)
Date Bottom Two
5 January Laura Doherty (4) Rosie Ribbons (3)
12 January Rosie Ribbons (4) Hayley Evetts
19 January Hayley Evetts (2) Darius Danesh
26 January Zoe Birkett Darius Danesh (2)
2 February Darius Danesh (3)
9 February Gareth Gates Will Young

Series two

Date Bottom Three
25 October Leon McPherson Kirsty Crawford Mark Rhodes
1 November Brian Ormond Marc Dillon Kim Gee
8 November Kim Gee (2) Roxanne Cooper Michelle McManus
Date Bottom Two
15 November Andy Scott-Lee Susanne Manning
22 November Roxanne Cooper (2) Susanne Manning (2)
29 November Susanne Manning (3) Mark Rhodes (2)
6 December Chris Hide Mark Rhodes (3)
13 December Sam Nixon
20 December Mark Rhodes Michelle McManus

Relaunch of Pop Idol

On October 1st 2006, ITV's licence to produce Pop Idol in the UK ran out and its creator Simon Fuller, with co-producers FremantleMedia and 19 Television, began talking to UK broadcasters about reviving the show in a revamped format on a different channel. Sky One and Five have both expressed interest in buying the show.

Related programs

The Idol format has been launched in dozens of nations worldwide, and there have been many imitations of the program.

A World Idol international television special was held in December 2003, featuring national first series Idol contest winners competing against each other; viewers worldwide voted Norwegian Idol's Kurt Nilsen "World Idol".

The similar Popstars format preceded Pop Idol, and was succeeded in Britain by one series of Popstars: The Rivals and three series so far of The X Factor. After Popstars producers threathened legal action, a deal was struck that, among other clauses, does not allow the use of the word "pop" in the title of Pop Idol editions outside of the UK.


  • During the second season of 'Pop Idol' the American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson made a guest appearance on one of the live finals of the show, performing 'The Trouble With Love Is' from the movie ' Love Actually'. Also at the start of the second season of 'Pop Idol' on the August 9, 2003 episode Many people who auditioned for series one tried out again.

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