Here's another one of my "What if...?" articles. For some odd reason, the whole world hated my previous one, but hopefully, this one will be a little more successful. This one is going to be based around Fox's hit TV series, American Idol.
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What if that show originated in 1967? I've compiled a list of possible artists who would have won each year, as well as what their winning single would have been. Before I list the Idol winners, I'm going to start by doing a possible history of the judges and hosts of the show as well as how the show would evolve overtime.

Keep in mind, I am writing this as if it really happened. This isn't what really happened, so just pretend that it did.

The Judges

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If the show's first season was in 1967, the three original judges may have been jazz rock icon Billy Preston, songwriter Carole King, and record producer George Martin. The judges would change overtime.

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In 1982, Randy Jackson would replace Billy Preston and would remain in that spot for seasons to come.

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In 1987, Carole King would be replaced with pop singer, Linda Ronstadt.

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In 1993, the show's most popular judge, Simon Cowell, would make the scene replacing George Martin.

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In 2001, Linda Ronstadt would intentionally quit the show because she was fed up with Simon's criticisms. She would be replaced with pop singer/coreographer, Paula Abdul. Thus making the team of judges we all know today. (Although, there is a rumor that Cowell would be leaving this year.)

The Hosts

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The original host of the show would have been Ed Sullivan begining in 1967. His last season would have been 1974 due to his death.

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Beginning in 1975, the host of American Idol would have been comedian, Dan Aykroyd. He would continue to host until 1980. He would stop to focus more on his acting career (especially with "Blues Brothers" and "Ghostbusters").

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In 1981, the host would become writer/comedian/musician, Steven Banks. At this point, he would have been the host the show had the longest by far. The last season he would host would be 1995.

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From 1996 to 2001, Drew Carey would be the American Idol host. Even though he had no musical experience, he was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood at the time.

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Beginning in 2002, the host of American Idol would become the show's current host, Ryan Seacrest.


The process of voting and decision-making would also change overtime. (Please note that there will be no pictures in this section because that would be really hard to do.)

When the show started out in 1967, not as many people would have auditioned for the show as there are today. It would have only been like a couple hundred. It would start out with the judges listening to each singer perform a song they selected for them to sing, and they would have two go head to head at singing the song. The one they liked the least of those two would be eliminated for the rest of the competition, and this would continue to go until they get down to the 8 singers they liked the best, and that's when the big show starts.

During the big stage show, the judges would decide which performance they like the best, and everyone in the studio audience would vote for their favorite as well. The contestant with the lowest number of votes would go home that week. There would be a tiebreaker if there are any ties.

In 1972, they would upgrade the Top 8 singers to the Top 10 singers.

1975 is when they would allow viewers to vote. The viewers would vote for their favorites by mailing a message to where the show is being broadcasted indicating who they want to stay in the competition.

In 1979, the voting method would be replaced with a telephone system. Here, callers would call one of many people who work on a phone line and cast their votes. This would be upgraded in 1987 to a recorded message and a touch-tone method of voting.

In 1981, the elimination method would change (as the number of people trying out was increasing). The people who audition would audition in front of the judges first, and the judges would decide either yes or no for that person. After that, they would go through a special process of elimination until they get their top 10 (which would change year after year).

In 1985, the crew would start traveling to other places around the country so that anyone who auditions wouldn't have to travel all the way to Hollywood to audition. At first, the auditions would always be in the same 7 locations: San Fransisco, Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta and Dallas. In 1997, they would change this to 7 random cities.

Some contestants have complained that the show wasn't too gender-friendly, since throughout the 80's, there seemed to be more girls in the top 10 then there were guys. To be more fair, they decided in 1988 to have the top 10 singers be the top 5 guys and the top 5 girls.

In 1991, the top 10 would be upgraded to top 12.

In 1993, weekly song themes would be introduced.

When the Internet was launched in 1995, the American Idol website was launched. Here, in addition to having the touch-tone feature of voting, they also could allow people to go online and vote.

In 1998, they would upgrade the top 12 to a top 24. The top 24 would perform on a mini stage, and once it got narrowed down to 12, they would move on to the big stage.

In 2002, the online voting method discontinued due to server issues, and the touch-tone voting method would be replaced with a text-messaging method of voting.

Okay, enough of this. Let's move on to the part you guys are all waiting for!

The Idol Winners

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Jimi Hendrix
Winner for season of 1967
Winning Single: "Are You Experienced?"

The first American Idol winner ever would have been Jimi Hendrix. Jimi would have already been working on this album while the season was in session, and the album would have been released in the UK as the season was drawing to a close. Since he won, the album made a US release a few months later, and his winning single would be the title track of the album. Little did the fans know, this was only the beginning of Hendrix as the album would also include some other huge hits of his like "Foxey Lady", "Manic Depression", "Fire", "Hey Joe", "The Wind Cries Mary" and "Purple Haze". Jimi was more known for his guitar-playing skills than he was of his singing. Sadly, Hendrix's career would end only three years later when he choked on his own vomit, having released only three studio albums and becoming one of the most iconic guitarists of all time.

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Janis Joplin
Winner for season of 1968
Winning Single: "Piece of My Heart"

Throughout the 60's, Janis Joplin had been showing a lot of powerful singing and making a lot of good friends. She had previously worked with Big Brother and The Holding Company, but she soon thought that if she would win on American Idol, she'd gain more recognition and be able to launch a solo career. Her strong vocals on her winning single, "Piece of My Heart" blew the world away. After which, she released two solo albums, but in between the two, she sadly died from a heroine overdose, making her by far the winning Idol with the shortest music career.

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Elton John
Winner for season of 1969
Winning Single: "Your Song"

Throughout the 60's, Elton John auditioned to be a vocalist for numerous bands but failed each attempt. Eventually, he would team up with Bernie Taupin who helped him write his songs. He was already working on an album called "Empty Sky", which was released in the UK shortly after he won American Idol, but that album wouldn't be released in the US until six years later. His winning single, "Your Song", would be the leadoff track of his self-titled album, which would come out the following year. This would launch one of the biggest careers in the history of rock & roll.

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Carly Simon
Winner for season of 1970
Winning Single: "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be"

Carly Simon would start her music history in 1964 with her sister, Lucy. The Simon Sisters released one minor hit, but they sadly faded away after which. Carly Simon would decide to make a comeback for the 1970 season of American Idol. After winning the season with her winning single, "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be", she started to gain more recognition. She would later gain more fame with her smash hit, "You're So Vain", and her unforgettable James Bond theme, "Nobody Does It Better".

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Bonnie Raitt
Winner for season of 1971
Winning Single: "Since I Fell for You"

Bonnie Raitt won the 1971 season of Idol with her cover of Buddy Johnson's "Since I Fell for You". She started out as a blues-like rock singer but would later evolve into a country singer. She later became known as the first American Idol in the Country genre.

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Bruce Springsteen
Winner for season of 1972
Winning Single: "For You"

Hoping to become the next Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen hit the American Idol stage in 1972. His winning single, "For You", would appear on his debut album along with "Blinded By the Light". Little did the fans know, the Boss would later deliver a number of timeless classics like "Born to Run", "Hungry Heart" and "Born in the U.S.A."

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Billy Joel
Winner for season of 1973
Winning Single: "Piano Man"

Before trying out for American Idol, Billy Joel already had a record deal, and he already had an album out called "Cold Spring Harbor". He won with his winning song, "Piano Man", which would become the title track for his following album as well as his nickname. He would later gain even higher recognition with his hit love song, "Just the Way You Are".

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Natalie Cole
Winner for season of 1974
Winning Single: "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)"

The daughter of legendary crooner, Nat King Cole, decided to launch a singing career in the mid 1970's. She became the winning American Idol in 1974 with her winning single, "This Will Be", and that song hit #1 on the R&B charts. She would later become a major influence on future Idol contestants.

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Donna Summer
Winner for season of 1975
Winning Single: "Love to Love You Baby"

Donna Summer had already had a record deal when she came onto American Idol. She by far had only one album, which not many people appreciated. However, "Love to Love You Baby" became the title track of her breakthrough album, which for that album, she extended to be a 16-minute song. Since then, she's been a major influence on a lot of other performers in the Disco genre.

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Tom Petty
Winner for season of 1976
Winning Single: "American Girl"

When he tried out for American Idol, Tom Petty had just formed a band called the Heartbreakers. After winning the 1976 season with "American Girl", as a way of congratulating him, the other band members decided to give him top billing in the band's name. Of course, what most people weren't expecting, Mr. Petty would later release even more big hits, especially the late 80's classic, "Free Fallin'".

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Elvis Costello
Winner for season of 1977
Winning Single: "Allison"

It's a little ironic that this Elvis launched his career the same year the other Elvis died. Costello became one of the first artists of the New Wave genre, and his winning single, "Allison", still remains his most popular hit to date. Costello's songs have always been short but sweet.

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Eddie Money
Winner for season of 1978
Winning Single: "Two Tickets to Paradise"

Eddie Money had previously released his self-titled debut album when trying out for American Idol containing his two most classic hits, "Baby Hold On" and "Two Tickets to Paradise". Even though he did win, he sadly wasn't able to make any more unforgettable hits afterwards with the exception of 1986's "Take Me Home Tonight".

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Pat Benatar
Winner for season of 1979
Winning Single: "We Live for Love"

Pat Benetar was a contestant who showed a lot of attitude, and that's what the fans loved about her. Her winning single, "We Live for Love", appeared on her debut album, "In the Heat of the Night", along with her covers of "Heartbreaker" and "I Need a Lover". Throughout the 80's, Benetar would dominate the decade with many awesome hits like "Treat Me Right", "Hit Me With Your Best Shot", "Hell is for Children", "Promises in the Dark", "Love is a Battlefield" and "We Belong", making her one of the 80's Ladies.

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Huey Lewis
Winner for season of 1980
Winning Single: "Trouble in Paradise"

Huey Lewis and his band, the News, started their career as a pub rock band. While he did win with his winning single, "Trouble in Paradise", the band's self-titled debut album was only a minor success, but the following album would be their breakthrough. Since then, Huey Lewis had been performing movie hits in the 80's as well as making a lot of great covers and duets.

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Belinda Carlisle
Winner for season of 1981
Winning Single: "Skidmarks On My Heart"

Belinda Carlisle became the winner for American Idol's 1981 season. After which, she had formed the 80's bubble-gum-pop band, The Go-Go's, which offered other 80's classics like "We Got the Beat", "Our Lips are Sealed" and "Vacation". She would go solo after the band's breakup in 1985.

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Billy Idol
Winner for season of 1982
Winning Single: "Dancing with Myself"

An Idol named Idol, Billy Idol became the first hard-rocking male to win on American Idol. His winning single, "Dancing with Myself" still remains a classic of his, and his cover of "Mony Mony" turned out to be one of the most memorable performances in Idol history. Even though his career slowly faded away, "White Wedding" and "Rebel Yell" still remain some of the biggest hard rock hits of the 80's.

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Winner for season of 1983
Winning Single: "Holiday"

Of all the pop musicians who defined the 80's nobody dominated it like Madonna. After winning the 1983 Idol season with "Holiday", her self-titled debut album was a spot on success, and even after the 80's, she still managed to release a number of outstanding hits, and today, she still remains one of the greatest pop artists in the world.

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Whitney Houston
Winner for season of 1984
Winning Single: "Greatest Love of All"

Whitney Houston made the scene on American Idol in 1984, and she won with a record-breaking number of votes along with her winning single, "Greatest Love of All". Since then, Whitney became a legendary singer, and a major idol to a lot of girls who loved to sing. Most notably, she's known for her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" from the 1992 movie, "The Bodyguard".

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Samantha Fox
Winner for season of 1985
Winning Single: "Touch Me"

Anxious to become a pop star, Samantha Fox auditioned to be a part of the 1985 season of American Idol. All her hard work paid off, and her winning single, "Touch Me" became the leadoff title track of her debut album. Sadly, Fox didn't do very much with her music career after 1988 and moved on to start an acting career after that.

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Rick Astley
Winner for season of 1986
Winning Single: "Together Forever"

Rick Astley proved that you don't have to have a high voice to be a good singer. More importantly, this guy knew how to have fun. His 1987 debut album, "Whenever You Need Somebody", included his winning idol single, "Together Forever", as well as the infamous 'Rick Roll' song, "Never Gonna Give You Up". Of course, Rick didn't do very much after that, and none of which was as successful.

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Paula Abdul
Winner for season of 1987
Winning Single: "Forever Your Girl"

Believe it or not, before she became a judge on American Idol, she was an idol herself. Known for her great coreography, Paula Abdul took the stage by storm with her amazing tallent. "Forever Your Girl" would be the title track of her upcoming debut album along with countless classics like "Straight Up", and "Opposites Attract".

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Lenny Kravitz
Winner for season of 1988
Winning Single: "Let Love Rule"

Lenny Kravitz had his own unique style of music. Mixing elements of rock, funk and soul and delivering essence from many famous 60's bands, he stole the hearts of many girls, and his winning single, "Let Love Rule", really proved it. It was his hard work in experimentation that helped him win the 1988 season of American Idol and launch a career.

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Mariah Carey
Winner for season of 1989
Winning Single: "Vision of Love"

After performing for the last Idol season of the 80's, Mariah Carey had such mind-blowing tallent with her five-octave voice. "Vision of Love" was just the beginning of her big career. She would become the biggest-selling artist of the 90's and wind up with more #1 hits than anyone else in the music industry.

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Celine Dion
Winner for season of 1990
Winning Single: "Where Does My Heart Beat Now?"

Celine Dion wowed the world with her theatrical appearance in her performing on this season. Randy Jackson even claimed that she had the most beautiful voice he had ever heard in his life. She continued to make people cry with her beautiful vocals on other great hits of her's ("If You Asked Me To" and "Because You Loved Me"), cover songs ("The Power of Love" and "All By Myself") and movie hits ("Beauty and the Beast" and "My Heart Will Go On").

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Tevin Campbell
Winner for season of 1991
Winning Single: "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do"

After winning American Idol in 1991 with "Tell Me What You Want Me To Do", Tevin Campbell was one of the more soothing R&B artists of the 90's. While he may not be as well-recognized as most of the other Idol winners, he still managed to deliver some solid work throughout the decade. While he is more of a guy who does soft music, he managed to show some hard-sounding efforts in the songs he performed for "A Goofy Movie".

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PJ Harvey
Winner for season of 1992
Winning Single: "Water"

PJ Harvey released her debut album, "Dry", shortly after her victory on American Idol's 1992 season. Since then, she has proven brilliance in her work album after album turning inside-out what many would traditionally expect out of female artists in the rock genre.

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Winner for season of 1993
Winning Single: "Blackhole"

While a little strange on the musical side, Beck managed to win American Idol in 1993 with his single, "Blackhole", along with major appreciation to his uniqueness. "Loser" became a big hit for the mid 90's making Beck's debut, "Mellow Gold", one of the most creative alternative rock albums of all time.

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Jeff Buckley
Winner for season of 1994
Winning Single: "Hallelujah"

Jeff Buckley stole many hearts with the beautiful melodies he delivered. His winning single, "Hallelujah", made him another winner for American Idol. Buckley's debut album, "Grace", was a masterpiece, but sadly, he died from drowning before he could release a follow-up; thus making him the third Idol winner to pass away in the midst of his career.

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Natalie Merchant
Winner for season of 1995
Winning Single: "Wonder"

In the 80's and 90's, Natalie Merchant has been the lead singer for the band, 10,000 Maniacs. For American Idol's 1995 season, she decided to go the Janis Joplin way and gain more recognition as a solo artist. Her winning single, "Wonder", helped her launch a solo career.

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Brian Littrell
Winner for season of 1996
Winning Single: "Quit Playing Games With My Heart"

Brian Littrel was currently working with a band he had formed known as the Backstreet Boys. The other members encouraged him to try out for American Idol so that they could promote their debut album. It was worth it since "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" became one of the album's biggest hits. Of course, Littrell wouldn't release a solo album until 10 years later.

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Robbie Williams
Winner for season of 1997
Winning Single: "Angels"

Not to be confused with the comedian, Robbie Williams turned out to be one of the most successful pop artists of the 90's in the UK. He knew through past seasons of Idol that it was risky for someone like him to compete, but his winning single, "Angels", turned out to be one of the most beautiful-sounding songs of the decade. His debut album, "Life Thru a Lens", also turned out to be one of the strongest Brit-Pop debuts of all time.

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Brittney Spears
Winner for season of 1998
Winning Single: "Sometimes"

As the 90's drew to a close, Brittney Spears wound up being the American Idol winner for 1998 with her winning hit, "Sometimes". After winning, she broke out of her shell with her debut album, which caused no one to listen to pop music the same way again. She knew how to deliver power with her later hits like "...Baby One More Time" and "Oops!...I Did It Again".

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Jessica Simpson
Winner for season of 1999
Winning Single: "I Think I'm In Love with You"

Another Idol winner who won due to her chemistry. Jessica was a singer who knew how to have fun mixing her pop and country styles and making them enjoyable to listen to. "I Think I'm In Love with You" would appear on her debut album, "Sweet Kisses". While she did fail to join the Mickey Mouse Club, she succeded at becoming the next American Idol. She was a born pop star with "hooks to match her looks".

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Jill Scott
Winner for season of 2000
Winning Single: "Show Me"

For a singer, Jill Scott was quite unique. She was sort of the David Bowie of soul music. She happened to be working on her debut album (appropriately titled: "Who Is Jill Scott?") while performing as a finalist on American Idol. While "Show Me" was her winning single, the album she released would offer some bigger and more recognized hits like "A Long Walk".

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Avril Lavigne
Winner for season of 2001
Winning Single: "Complicated"

In 2001, Avril Lavigne turned out to be by far the youngest Idol winner in history. She won at the age of 16 with her winning single, "Complicated". Unfortunately, her debut album wouldn't be released until a full year later since she couldn't get a record deal until then.

Of course, from this point on, I'm sure you all know who the winners will be...

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2002: Kelly Clarkson
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2003: Ruben Studdard
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2004: Fantasia Barrino
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2005: Carrie Underwood
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2006: Taylor Hicks
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2007: Jordin Sparks
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2008: David Cook
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2009: Kris Allen

Alright, I guess that wraps up this rather huge article. Oh, and just so I'd remind you all of the purpose of this article. These are just my assumptions, so if you can think of other singers who would have done better, then let's just say they made the finals that season but started a career anyway (many Idols have done that, you know). Some of my assumptions may not sound right to some of you, but remember, this is a "What If?" article. Well, I've probably wasted enough time on this article so...The End.