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American Idol

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American Idol is a reality TV program broadcast in the US and over one hundred countries around the world. It debuted in the summer of 2002, and has become one of the most popular programs on air. It has ranked as the number one show for five seasons in a row. On the program, contestants sing before three judges to be the best singer in the country. The winner usually goes on to win large record contracts.

Although very successful, there has been some controversy too. For example, Sir Elton John called the show "racist" after African American contestants scored poorly. The show also has total control of the careers of each year's winners, a fact which may or may not be favorable to the contestants.


Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. Have you heard of the program "American Idol?" What do you know about it?

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. What can be said about American Idol?
               a. it has been the most popular program on the air since 2002
               b. contestants perform in front of three judges
               c. the show is racist
               d. the show sometimes controls the careers of its winners
  2. What would be the best title for this article? Why do you think so?
               a. "All About American Idol"
               b. "American Idol, Not Without Controversy"
               c. "American Idol, the Best Show Ever!"
               d. "Reality TV"

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Do you watch American Idol and other reality TV programs? Why/not?
  2. Why do you think American Idol has been the favorite program in the US?
  3. Would you be a contestant on American Idol? How about another reality TV show?

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