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By Tara Settembre

Reality Rocks Expo: The American Idol Panel

During the Reality Rocks expo in Los Angles, a conference devoted to everything about reality TV, last year’s contestants of American Idol appeared in a panel to talk about the experience.  Season 9 contestants, Didi Benami, Michael Lynche, Paige Miles, Katie Stevens and Tim Urban were also the last of the Simon era of Idol.


As of January 2011, AI is the most-watched TV series in the Nielsen ratings and is the only program to have been number one for six consecutive seasons, surpassing All in the Family and The Cosby Show, which were both number one for five consecutive seasons. Moderator and American Idol author, Shirley Halperin shared with the audience that the franchise is a global brand worth 7 billion. Since the show started a total of 4 billion votes have been captured. So, whether you’re a fan or not, it’s a force to be reckon with in both the reality and entertainment worlds.

Having watched the all the seasons of Idol, I was interested to learn a few new things from the candid contestants during this panel.

First, they are sworn to secrecy right from the audition stages. So, in the case of Katie Stevens, although her entire high school knew she was going to try out, she had to return to school and tell everyone she didn’t make it to much scorn thanks to typical teenage jealousy.

Second, although they are often asked how the judges were behind-the-scenes, they shared that they don’t really see the judges off-stage, only in passing and before the show. Thus, they don’t get to know them until after being eliminated.

For more from the panel, you can watch the following clip:

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