The third season of American Idol premiered on 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 American Idol 6. This season also featured Academy Award-winning actress and Grammy Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson.

The third season is the only season where both the winner and the runner-up ended up in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale. It is the first season to have a finale with two female contestants(season 12 is the second) while the second, seventh, and eighth seasons had a finale with two male contestants.

Auditions[edit | edit source]

Auditions were held in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Atlanta, and Honolulu.

The early part of the season became well-known for the introduction of William Hung, a University of California, Berkeley student, who became popular following his rendition of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs". His performance as well as his attitude facing judge Simon Cowell's criticisms (which was a stark contrast to other contestants' confrontational, angry reactions) made him instantly popular, and landed him a record deal with Koch Records.

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." Security quickly escorted Jonathan out, and Houston police questioned him, but released him after Simon decided against pressing assault charges on him. The entire incident was caught on tape and was broadcast.

Hollywood rounds contestant Taryn Southern later appeared on the Project My World series and wrote and performed the 2007 "Hott4Hill" viral video.

Hollywood[edit | edit source]

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 groups is 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 3 group and placed in separate rooms, with one group sent home. 32 contestants remained for the semi-finals. Hollywood rounds contestant Taryn Southern later appeared on the Project My World series and wrote and performed the 2007 "Hott4Hill" viral video.

Semi-Finals[edit | edit source]

The contestants who reached this stage were referred to in the show as the Top 32 finalists. This is the first time that two contestants who previously tried out for American Idol (Matthew Metzger and Lisa Leuschner) made it to the top 3 of their semifinals group. Both contestants were eliminated during Hollywood round in the previous season. George Huff replaced Donnie Williams in Semifinal Round 4 after Williams was disqualified following a DUI arrest. 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.

Diana DeGarmo Marque Lynche Ashley Thomas Katie Webber Erskine Walcott Jennifer Hudson Matthew Metzger Fantasia Barrino
Matthew Rogers Briana Ramirez-Rial Noel Roman Kara Master Lisa Leuschner Jesus Roman Camile Velasco Marisa Joy
Elizabeth LeTendre Eric Yoder Amy Adams Jon Peter Lewis Charly Lowry Jonah Moananu Leah LaBelle LaToya London
Suzy Vulaca John Preator Heather Piccinini John Stevens Jasmine Trias George Huff Lisa Wilson Tiara Purifoy

Wild Card Round[edit | edit source]

After 8 singers advanced on to the Top 12, eight contestants were chosen by the judges to compete in the Wild Card Round. The eight competing were Jennifer Hudson, George Huff, Leah LaBelle, Elizabeth LeTendre, Jon Peter Lewis, Matthew Metzger, Suzy Vulaca & Katie Webber. In the end the Judges chose, Hudson, Huff and LaBelle to continue on in the competition as of Lewis was chosen by public vote.

Top 12[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were Season 3's Top 12

The Finalists; 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 | edit source]

Top 12 perform[edit | edit source]


During the first round of the finals, the Top 12 performed a Soul song for a spot in the Top 11.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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Leah LaBelle was the first contestant to be eliminated on March 17, 2004 bringing the total down to 11 remaining contestants.

Top 11[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 11.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • Soul Medley

Top 11 perform[edit | edit source]


During the first round of the finals, the Top 10 performed a Country song for a spot in the Top 10.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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Matthew Rogers was the second contestant to be eliminated on March 24, 2004 bringing the total down to 10 remaining contestants.

Top 10[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 10.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 10 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 10 performed a song from the Motor City for a spot in the Top 9.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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Amy Adams was the eliminated contestant on March 31, 2004, bringing the total down to 9 remaining contestants.

Top 9[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 9.

Performances[edit | edit source]

Group Performance:

  • "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Top 9 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 9 performed a song from Elton John for a spot in the Top 8.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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Camile Velasco was the eliminated contestant on April 7, 2004, bringing the total down to 8 remaining contestants.

Top 8[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 8.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • Boys - "Daniel"
  • Girls - "Bennie and the Jets"
  • Group - "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting"

Top 8 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 8 performed a song from a soundtrack of a movie for a spot in the Top 7.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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Jon Peter Lewis was the eliminated contestant on April 15, 2004, bringing the total down to 7 remaining contestants.

Top 7[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 7.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

  • George Huff - "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins (Against All Odds)
  • Jennifer Hudson - "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston (The Bodyguard)
  • Jon Peter Lewis - "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis Presley (Jailhouse Rock)
  • Diana DeGarmo - "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion (Titanic)
  • Fantasia Barrino - "Summertime" by Abbie Mitchell (Porgy and Bess)
  • Jasmine Trias - "When I Fall in Love" by Doris Day (Sleepless in Seattle)
  • John Stevens - "As Time Goes By" by Dooley Wilson (Casablanca)
  • LaToya London - "Somewhere" by Reri Grist (West Side Story)

Top 7 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 7 performed a song from Barry Manilow for a spot in the Top 6.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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Jennifer Hudson was the eliminated contestant on April 21, 2004, bringing the total down to 6 remaining contestants.

Top 6[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 6.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • Group feat. Barry Manilow - "Let Freedom Ring"

Top 6 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 6 performed a song from Gloria Estefan for a spot in the Top 5.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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John Stevens was the eliminated contestant on April 28, 2004, bringing the total down to 5 remaining contestants.

Top 5[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 5.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • Gloria Estefan medley

Top 5 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the Finals, each contestant will perform two songs from big bands for a spot in the Top 4.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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George Huff was the eliminated contestant on May 5, 2004, bringing the total down to 4 remaining contestants.

Top 4[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 4.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

  • Diana DeGarmo - "Someone to Watch Over Me" by Gertrude Lawrence, "Get Happy" by Ruth Etting
  • George Huff - "Cheek to Cheek" by Fred Astaire, "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
  • LaToya London - "Too Close for Comfort" by Eydie Gormé, "Don't Rain on My Parade" by Barbra Streisand
  • Jasmine Trias - "The Way You Look Tonight" by Fred Astaire, "Almost Like Being in Love" by Nat King Cole
  • Fantasia Barrino - "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen, "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? by Julie Andrews

Top 4 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, each contestant will perform a two disco songs for a spot in the Top 3.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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LaToya London was the eliminated contestant on May 12, 2004, bringing the total down to 3 remaining contestants.

Top 3[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 3.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "Bad Girls"/"Hot Stuff"/"Heaven Knows"/"She Works Hard for the Money" by Donna Summer

Top 3 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 3 performed a song of their choice, a song picked by the judges and a song picked by Clive Davis for a spot in the Top 2.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

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Jasmine Trias was the eliminated contestant on May 19, 2004, bringing the total down to 2 remaining contestants.

Top 2[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and advanced on to the Top 2.

Performances[edit | edit source]

(The first round of performances was the contestant's choice, the second round were chosen by the judges and the final round was chosen by Clive Davis). The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 2 perform[edit | edit source]

During the final round of the finals, the Top 2 performed their first winning single and two of their previous songs from the past round for a spot as Season 4's American Idol.

Runner-up[edit | edit source]

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Diana DeGarmo was the runner-up of Season 3. Fantasia Barrino being the winner.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Winner[edit | edit source]

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Fantasia Barrino was the winner of American Idol Season 3 on May 26, 2004.

Results Performances[edit | edit source]

Notable past Idol contestants[edit | edit source]

  • Jon Peter Lewis, who finished in 8th place, later auditioned for season 4 of the NBC show The Voice in 2013 as part of the duo Midas Whale with Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine as their mentor. The duo were eliminated in the Knockout Rounds.

Controversy[edit | edit source]

Wild card eliminations[edit | edit source]

Viewers raised many complaints when, during the semifinal Wild Card round, 4 of the contestants were eliminated on the spot without being given a chance to sing, leaving only eight out of 12 contestants fighting for a chance to earn a spot in the top 12 that season. Singer Marque Lynche, brother of season 9 finalist Michael Lynche, walked out after being eliminated while the other 3 stayed behind.

Season 3
Finalists
Fantasia Barrino  · Diana DeGarmo  · Jasmine Trias  · LaToya London  · George Huff  · John Stevens  · Jennifer Hudson  · Jon Peter Lewis  · Camile Velasco  · Amy Adams  · Matthew Rogers  · Leah LaBelle
Semifinalists
Elizabeth LeTendre  · Matthew Metzger  · Suzy Vulaca  · Katie Webber  · Heather Piccinini  · John Preator  · Tiara Purifoy  · Lisa Wilson  · Charly Lowry  · Jonah Moananu  · Eric Yoder  · Lisa Leuschner  · Marisa Joy  · Kara Master  · Briana Ramirez-Rial  · Jesus Roman  · Noel Roman  · Marque Lynche  · Ashley Thomas  · Erskine Walcott
American Idol
Seasons
1  · 2  · 3  · 4 · 5  · 6  · 7  · 8  · 9  · 10  · 11 · 12 · 13 · 14 · 15 · 16 · 17 · 18 · 19
Judges
Simon Cowell (Seasons 1-9)  · Paula Abdul (Seasons 1-8) · Randy Jackson (Seasons 1-12) · Kara DioGuardi (Seasons 8-9) · Ellen DeGeneres (Season 9) · Steven Tyler (Seasons 10-11)  · Nicki Minaj (Season 12)  · Mariah Carey (Season 12) · Jennifer Lopez (Seasons 10-11,13-15)  · Keith Urban (Seasons 12-15)  · Harry Connick, Jr. (Seasons 13-15)  · Katy Perry (Seasons 16-)  · Luke Bryan (Seasons 16-)  · Lionel Richie (Seasons 16-)
Hosts
Ryan Seacrest (Seasons 1-16) · Brian Dunkleman (Season 1)
Winners
Kelly Clarkson · Ruben Studdard · Fantasia Barrino · Carrie Underwood · Taylor Hicks · Jordin Sparks · David Cook · Kris Allen · Lee DeWyze · Scotty McCreery · Phillip Phillips · Candice Glover · Caleb Johnson · Nick Fradiani · Trent Harmon · Maddie Poppe · Laine Hardy · Just Sam
Runners-up
Justin Guarini · Clay Aiken · Diana DeGarmo · Bo Bice · Katharine McPhee · Blake Lewis · David Archuleta · Adam Lambert · Crystal Bowersox · Lauren Alaina · Jessica Sanchez · Kree Harrison · Jena Irene · Clark Beckham · La'Porsha Renae · Caleb Lee Hutchinson · Alejandro Aranda · Arthur Gunn
Coronation Songs
"A Moment Like This" · "Flying Without Wings" · "I Believe" · "Inside Your Heaven" · "Do I Make You Proud" · "This Is My Now" · "The Time of My Life" · "No Boundaries" · "Beautiful Day" · "I Love You This Big" · "Home" · "I Am Beautiful" · "As Long As You Love Me" · "Beautiful Life" · "Falling" · "Going Going Gone" · "Flame"
Spin-offs
From Justin to Kelly · Juniors · Christmas

on

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