Season 8 of "American Idol" premiered on January 13, 2009, and concluded on May 20, 2009. Judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson continued to judge the show's contestants, along with Ryan Seacrest as host. The season introduced Kara DioGuardi as the fourth judge on the panel. It was also Abdul's final season as a judge. Kris Allen, a native of Conway, Arkansas, was announced the winner of the competition on May 20, 2009, defeating runner-up Adam Lambert after nearly 100 million votes were cast. This was the second season where both of the final two contestants had been in the bottom three or two at least once before the finale, with the first being Season 3.
Season 8 saw numerous changes to the format of the show. There were 36 semi-finalists instead of 24, and 13 finalists instead of 12, 9 contestants chosen by the public, and 4 by the judges in a wild card round. Another addition was the "save", which was used on the top 7 results show to veto Matt Giraud's elimination.
Multiple contestants from this season were signed to record deals. This included winner Kris Allen, who was then signed to 19 Entertainment/Jive Records, runner-up Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai, Michael Sarver, and Mickey Guyton.
The Season 8 finale took place at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, located in downtown Los Angeles, California. While Shefik was employed as Technical Producer at TIME, he produced a video highlighting the "American Idol" pre-show red carpet event, where he secured Season 6 runner-up Blake Lewis as the correspondent. On the red carpet, Lewis beatboxed for the crowd and chatted with finalists across various seasons: Brandon Rogers (Season 6), Melinda Doolittle (Season 6), Michael Johns (Season 7), Mandisa (Season 5), Kimberley Locke (Season 2), Syesha Mercado (Season 7), and Kristy Lee Cook (Season 7).
Last Updated: April 22, 2023