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The show was renamed American Idol: The Search for a Superstar and debuted in the summer of 2002.
Cowell was initially offered the job of showrunner, but turned down the offer; Lythgoe then took over that position.
The eligible age-range for contestants was fifteen to twenty-eight years old. residents, could not have advanced to particular stages of the competition in previous seasons, and must not have held a current recording or talent representation contract by the semi-final stage Contestants went through at least three sets of cuts.
The initial age limit was sixteen to twenty-four in the first three seasons, but the upper limit was raised to twenty-eight in the fourth season, and the lower limit was reduced to fifteen in the tenth season. The first was a brief audition with a few other contestants in front of selectors which may include one of the show's producers.
making Seacrest the sole emcee of the show starting with the second season.
Dunkleman did, however, return in the initial series finale on Fox.
The concept of the series involves discovering recording stars from unsigned singing talents, with the winner determined by American viewers using phones, Internet, and SMS text voting.
The sixteenth season brought three new judges: singers Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan.
The first season was hosted by radio personality Ryan Seacrest and comedian Brian Dunkleman, but Seacrest remained as the sole master of ceremonies for the rest of the series.
The original judges, for the first through eighth seasons, were record producer and music manager Randy Jackson, singer and choreographer Paula Abdul, and music executive and manager Simon Cowell.
The judging panel for the last three seasons on Fox consisted of singers Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick, Jr.
In the second season, New York radio personality Angie Martinez had been hired as a fourth judge but withdrew only after a few days of auditions due to not being comfortable with giving out criticism.