The ninth season of American Idol premiered on January 12, 2010. Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi all returned as judges. Paula Abdul did not return as a judge. Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Shania Twain, Kristin Chenoweth, Avril Lavigne, Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, and Joe Jonas were guest judges during the auditions. A new judge was Ellen DeGeneres, who made her first appearance during the first day of Hollywood Week. Before the season started, Simon Cowell announced that season 9 would be his final season. Ellen DeGeneres and Kara DioGuardi also left the show after the season ended.

This season was won by 24-year-old singer-songwriter Lee DeWyze.

Auditions[edit | edit source]

The auditions locations were revealed after Kris Allen was crowned as the next American Idol.

  • Boston, Massachussets: Gillette Stadium June 14, 2009: 32 tickets
  • Atlanta, Georgia: Georgia Dome June 18, 2009: 25 tickets
  • Chicago, Illinois: United Center June 22, 2009: 13 tickets
  • Dallas, Texas: Cowboys Stadium June 26, 2009: 31 tickets
  • Los Angeles, California: Rose Bowl June 30, 2009: 23 tickets
  • Orlando, Florida: Amway Arena July 9, 2009: 31 tickets
  • Denver, Colorado: Invesco Field July 14, 2009: 26 tickets

Contestants are required to be between the ages 16 and 28, and eligible to work in the United States. Contestants are ineligible if they were part of the top 40 from previous seasons (exception being for those who reached the top 50 from season 7), if they hold recording or management contracts, or if they are not U.S. citizens or landed immigrants (i.e. temporary residents). In season nine, 181 tickets to Hollywood were given out. This is 32 more tickets than the previous season.

"Pants on the Ground"[edit | edit source]

During the Atlanta auditions, 62-year-old activist Larry Platt appeared and performed his original song, "Pants on the Ground." The song talks about people who wear pants that sag. Platt was ineligible to continue, due to being well over the show's age limit of 28 years old. His performance has since become a viral hit, and several celebrities performed the song in the days that followed the original airing of his audition in Atlanta, Georgia. Even Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre & his teammates celebrated a victory by singing the song.

Hollywood Week[edit | edit source]

Held at the Kodak Theatre for the second straight year, the first day of Hollywood Week featured the 181 contestants from the auditions round (although only 181 contestants were listed on the American Idol website) singing solo with the option of playing an instrument. 181 contestants advanced. The next round required the contestants to split up into groups and perform. 181 advanced to the final round of Hollywood requiring a solo performance. 181 made it to the final round where the judges take contestants one by one and tell them if they made the final 180.

Semifinals[edit | edit source]

The semi-final format used through seasons 4–7 has been revived for this season. Starting with 36 women and 36 men, the women and men perform on weekly separate shows and on the result shows, the bottom 2 women and the bottom 2 men are eliminated from the competition. The semi-finals took place over three weeks until there are six women and six men forming the top 12. From this point on in the show, this season's exit song, "Leave Right Now" by Will Young, was played over eliminations.

The following contestants were Season 9's Top 48

Males:

Todrick Hall Aaron Kelly Jermaine Sellers Tim Urban Joe Muñoz Tyler Grady Lee DeWyze John Park
Michael Lynche Alex Lambert Casey James Andrew Garcia Jermaine

Purifory

JB

Aufua

Thaddeus

Johnson

David Gowryluck

Females:

Paige Miles Ashley Rodriguez Janell Wheeler Lily Scott Katelyn Epperly Haeley Vaughn Lacey Brown Michelle Delamor
Denise Jackson Rose Flack Tasha Layton Mary Powers Keira Masters Keia Johnson Kimberly Carver Crystal Parizanski
Maddie Penrose Shelby Dressel Christian Spear Charity Vance Liz Rooney Tori Kelly Genesis Moore Tisha Holland
Didi Benami Siobhan Magnus Crystal Bowersox Katie Stevens Frankie Jordan Jessica Cunningham Jessica Furney Angela Martin

Top 20[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were Season 9's Top 20.

Top 16[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were Season 9's Top 16.

Top 12[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were Season 9's Top 12.

Females

The Finalists; Back Row: Casey James, Aaron Kelly, Didi Benami, Siobhan Magnus and Michael Lynche; Middle Row: Tim Urban, Andrew Garcia, Crystal Bowersox and Paige Miles; Front Row: Lacey Brown, Katie Stevens and Lee DeWyze

Males

Finals[edit | edit source]

Top 12 perform[edit | edit source]


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

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Lacey Brown.png

Lacey Brown was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 11 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on March 17, 2010.

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:

Top 11 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 11 performed a song from Billboard's Number 1 Hits for a spot in the Top 10.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Paige Miles.png

Paige Miles was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 10 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on March 24, 2010.

Top 10[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and remained in the Top 10.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performance:

  • "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!

Top 10 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 10 performed a R&B/Soul song for a spot in the Top 9.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Didi Benami.png

Didi Benami was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 9 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on March 31, 2010.

Top 9[edit | edit source]

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

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 9 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 9 performed a song from the Lennon-McCartney Songbook for a spot in the Top 8.

Saved Contestant[edit | edit source]

Michael Lynche.png

The judges used their save on Michael Lynche who received the lowest amount of votes and the total was kept to 9 remaining contestants.

Top 9[edit | edit source]

The following contestants were safe from that round and remained in the Top 9.

Performances[edit | edit source]

The contestants performed in the following order:

Group Performances:

  • "Here, There and Everywhere" / "Got to Get You into My Life" / "The Fool on the Hill" / "All You Need Is Love" / "She Loves You" / "The End" by The Beatles

Top 9 perform (redux)[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 9 performed a song from Elvis Presley for a spot in the Top 7.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Andrew Garcia.png

Andrew Garcia was one of the two eliminated contestants bringing the total down to 7 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on April 14, 2010.

Katie Stevens.png



Katie Stevens was one of the two eliminated contestants bringing the total down to 7 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on April 14, 2010.

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:

Group Performances:

  • "Teddy Bear" / "Burning Love" / "Return to Sender" / "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis Presley

Top 7 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 7 performed a song that is inspirational to them for a spot in the Top 6.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Tim Urban.png

Tim Urban was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 6 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on April 21, 2010.

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:

  • "Keeping the Dream Alive"

Top 6 perform[edit | edit source]


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

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Siobhan Magnus.png

Siobhan Magnus was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 5 remaining contestants. She was eliminated on April 28, 2010.

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:

Top 5 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 5 performed a song from Frank Sinatra for a spot in the Top 4.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Aaron Kelly.png

Aaron Kelly was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 4 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on May 5, 2010.

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:

Group Performances:

  • "The Lady Is a Tramp" / "It Was a Very Good Year" / "I've Got the World on a String" / "Night and Day" by Frank Sinatra
  • "We Are in Love" / "Come by Me" / "Hear Me in the Harmony" by Harry Connick, Jr.

Top 4 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 4 performed a song from the Cinema for a spot in the Top 3.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Michael Lynche.png

Michael Lynche was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 2 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on May 12, 2010.

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 Performances:

  • Crystal Bowersox & Lee DeWyze - "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová (Once)
  • Casey James & Michael Lynche - "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?" by Bryan Adams (Don Juan DeMarco)

Top 3 perform[edit | edit source]


During this round of the finals, the Top 3 performed a song of their choice for a spot in the Top 2.

Eliminated Contestant[edit | edit source]

Casey James.png

Casey James was the eliminated contestant bringing the total down to 2 remaining contestants. He was eliminated on May 19, 2010.

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 and the second round were chosen by the judges). The contestants performed in the following order:

Top 2 perform[edit | edit source]


During the final round of the finals, the Top 2 performed a song picked by Simon Fuller, a song of their choice, and their winner single for a spot as Season 9's American Idol.

Runner-up[edit | edit source]

Crystal Bowersox.png

Crystal Bowersox was the runner-up of Season 9. Lee DeWyze being the winner.

Performances[edit | edit source]

(The first performance was a song from their favorite performances, the second was a song chosen by Simon Fuller, and the last was their winner single). The contestants performed in the following order:

Winner[edit | edit source]

Lee DeWyze.png

Lee DeWyze was the winner of American Idol Season 9 on May 26, 2010.

Results Performances[edit | edit source]

Group Performances/Ford Music Video[edit | edit source]

  • Top 24: "American Boy" by Estelle and Kanye West
  • Top 20: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas
  • Top 16: "Haven't Met You Yet" by Michael Bublé
  • Top 12: "Tick Tick Boom" by The Hives (Ford Music Video)
  • Top 11: "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!; "Our Time Now" by Plain White T's (Ford Music Video)
  • Top 10: "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas (Ford Music Video)

Special Guest Performances[edit | edit source]

Top 24[edit | edit source]

Top 20[edit | edit source]

Top 16[edit | edit source]

Top 12[edit | edit source]

  • "Jumpin' Jack Flash" by David Cook3
  • "According to You" by Orianthi
  • "Blah Blah Blah" by Ke$ha and 3OH!3

Top 11[edit | edit source]

  • "When I Look At You" by Miley Cyrus
  • "Make a Wave" by Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato

Top 10[edit | edit source]

  • "Don't Make 'Em Like U No More" by Ruben Studdard
  • "OMG" by Usher and will.i.am
  • "Hello, Good Morning" by Diddy and Dirty Money

1 Cover of the song by The Beatles. Was made available for digital download on iTunes, with all proceeds going to Haiti charities.
2 Cover of the song by Billy Joel.
3 Cover of the song by The Rolling Stones.

Controversies[edit | edit source]

Top 72 Leak[edit | edit source]

During the Hollywood week, Michael Lynche's father told the local newspaper that Michael had made the top 72. Idol contestants and family members are not allowed to announce whether they made it or not until the show airs. This caused many to think Michael would be disqualified, but he wasn't.

Chris Golightly[edit | edit source]

Chris Golightly was originally selected as a semi-finalist. However, Chris was disqualified on February 17, 2010, after already being told he was in the top 24, over an old record contract. The contract had expired by the time the top 24 began to tape, but they disqualified him because he was under contract at the time of the tryouts, in violation of Idol rules. He was replaced by Tim Urban at the last minute of the last part of Hollywood Week.

Ryan Seacrest Twitter post[edit | edit source]

Lacey Brown's elimination stirred up controversy after host Ryan Seacrest had tweeted the results before the elimination show had aired on the west coast. This caused anger among the fans of the show and as a result, the elimination show may have had lower ratings than usual.

Siobhan Magnus vote-off[edit | edit source]

The elimanation of contestant Siobhan Magnus caused a stir among the show's fans when it was discovered that a phone number posted on a Facebook page was not for Magnus as it was intended but for fellow contestant Aaron Kelly. Some wondered if the phone number mix-up had resulted in Magnus' elimination. An unsuccessful petition drive to bring her back onto the show was started by her fans. There have also been conspiracy theories that Magnus had not been the lowest vote-getter during Shania Twain week, considering the fact that she had never been in the bottom 3. Some claim it is unreal,and for her to be eliminated, she would need a 20% vote drop-off, which according to the theorists, seems very unlikely. It was later implied that the reason for the following week's lower ratings, which was the lowest among the 18-49 demographic since 2002, was due to disgruntled fans not tuning in.

Notable past Idol contestants[edit | edit source]

  • Luke Edgemon, who was cut in Hollywood week, later auditioned for season 4 of The Voice in 2013 and got country music superstar Blake Shelton as his mentor after his original mentor, Latin superstar Shakira, had eliminated him in the Battle Rounds. Edgemon ended up being eliminated in the Knockout Rounds.
  • Kelsey Ray, who was cut in Hollywood week, later auditioned for season 1 of The Voice in 2011 and got R&B star Cee Lo Green as her mentor. She was eliminated in the Battle Rounds.
  • Keith Semple, who had auditioned in Chicago but was disqualified due to immigration issues, later auditioned for season 9 of The Voice in 2015 and got Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine as his mentor. He finished in the top 24.
  • Singer Tori Kelly auditioned for the show and made it all the way to the final day of hollywood before being cut just shy of the top 24. Since her Idol journey, Kelly has gone on to become one of pop music's rising stars with a hit album and two Grammy nominations.
  • Jackie Tohn, who finished in the semifinals, is now one of the stars of the hit Netflix series GLOW.
  • Carvena Jones, who was cut in Hollywood week, later tried out for the Fox competition show The Four: Battle for Stardom in 2018, getting eliminated in the seventh week.
Season 9
Finalists
Lee DeWyze · Crystal Bowersox · Casey James · Michael Lynche  · Aaron Kelly · Siobhan Magnus · Tim Urban · Katie Stevens · Andrew Garcia · Didi Benami · Paige Miles · Lacey Brown
Semifinalists
Lilly Scott · Alex Lambert · Todrick Hall · Katelyn Epperly · Haeley Vaughn · Michelle Delamor · Jermaine Sellers · John Park · Tyler Grady · Ashley Rodriguez · Joe Munoz · Janell Wheeler
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
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