American Idol (season 3)

American Idol (season 3) The third season of ''American Idol'' premiered on Monday, January 19, 2004, and continued until May 26, 2004. The third season was won by Fantasia Barrino, who defeated Diana DeGarmo by an approximate margin of 2% (1.3 million votes); the vote total (65 million votes) was the highest recorded vote total in the show's history until the May 23, 2007, finale of the sixth season. This season also featured Jennifer Hudson, who would subsequently win the 2006 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. This was the last season to be aired in standard definition, with the only exception being the grand finale.

This was the first season where both the winner and the runner-up had been in the bottom 2 or 3 prior to the finale, and the first season to have a finale with two female contestants. It is also the first season where a Wild Card contestant, Leah LaBelle, was eliminated in the first episode of the finals. It was the first season to have a gender imbalance among the finalists, with eight female finalists and four male finalists.

Both Fantasia and Diana DeGarmo released a single after the finale. Fantasia's first single, released in June 2004 on the RCA record label, entered the ''Billboard'' Hot 100 at number one, making Fantasia the first artist in the history of ''Billboard'' to debut at number one with their first single. In addition to Fantasia and DeGarmo, Jasmine Trias, LaToya London, George Huff, Jennifer Hudson, and Camile Velasco have all released albums since the season ended. Leah LaBelle was signed by Epic Records. Provided by Wikipedia
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