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American Idol finalists Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez on stage with host Ryan Seacrest on the Fox TV show Tuesday night.
May 23, 2012 Once, American Idol helped establish a new pop songbook and distilled the essence of contemporary stardom. NPR Music's critic, Ann Powers, says those days are gone.
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Contestant Creighton Fraker performs on the first week of American Idol's semifinals week.
February 29, 2012 As American Idol enters its semi-final phase, we reflect on the endless options, from Internet to contestants on televised singing competitions, that divide our attention so effectively that real connections can feel impossible to make.
It's like a charm school talent show out there on this season of American Idol, but Jen Hirsh is showing signs of personality.
February 24, 2012 American Idol's Judgment Week narrows down the field of contestants to 25, and illuminates the problem with the show's female contestants.
Britnee Kellogg (left) and Courtney Williams react to the judges verdict during American Idol's Las Vegas round.
February 17, 2012 The show's most brutal week is a metaphor for the dilemma facing aspiring pop stars: there is no glory without sacrifice. But why can't the show find some middle ground?
Jamar Rogers performs the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" on Monday night's episode of The Voice.
February 10, 2012 Call it drama in real life — where Fox's long-running show offers rags-to-riches fantasy, NBC's singing contest doesn't shy away from the hard work that goes into the dream of pop stardom.
Randy Jackson, Ryan Seacrest, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry at the Tonight Show's studios last month.
Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images
February 3, 2012 The show is effecting established artists' careers just as much as it's birthing new ones.
American Idol hopeful Magic Cyclops auditions in Aspen, Colo.
Michael Becker /FOX
January 27, 2012 A modest proposal for reinvigorating the struggling, but still-relevant, singing competition.
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