American Juniors

This article is about the reality TV show. For the group that emerged from it, see American Juniors (group). For that group's album, see American Juniors (album).
American Juniors
Genre Interactive talent show
Reality show
Created by Simon Fuller
Directed by Bruce Gowers
Presented by Ryan Seacrest (episodes 1-5, 7-17)
Gladys Knight (episode 6)
Judges Debbie Gibson
Gladys Knight (episodes 1-5, 9-17)
Justin Guarini (episodes 1-4, 6)
Nick Carter (episode 6)
Lamont Dozier (episodes 7 and 8)
Mary Wilson (episodes 7 and 8)
Brian McKnight (episodes 9 and 10)
Jordan Knight (episodes 11 and 12)
Monica (episodes 13 and 14)
Dionne Warwick (episode 15)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 17
Executive producer(s) Nigel Lythgoe
Ken Warwick
Production company(s) FremantleMedia North America
19 Television
Distributor FremantleMedia Enterprises
Original network Fox
Original release June 3 (2003-06-03) – August 19, 2003 (2003-08-19)

American Juniors is an American reality television singing competition series that was broadcast for one season, in 2003, on the Fox Network. The series was a spin-off of American Idol, but with younger contestants, and had the same production team as American Idol: it was created by Simon Fuller and 19 Entertainment, along with FremantleMedia, and directed by Bruce Gowers, and produced by Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. However, unlike American Idol, the goal of the competition was not to find a single winner, but rather to create a singing group of five of the contestants. In this way, American Juniors more closely resembled the British series S Club Search, which had produced the group S Club Juniors.

The show spawned the singing group American Juniors, which disbanded in 2005 after lackluster sales.

The show was taped in Hollywood, California.


Two thousand children and teenagers auditioned for the show. From there, a selected group of kids and their parents were flown out to Hollywood to participate in "Hollywood Week." During "Hollywood Week", several cuts took place, eliminating all but 20 of the children and teens who originally auditioned. These kids were shown on TV during 2 top-20 episodes, which each showcased 10 kids. For each top-20 episode, America voted for the 5 kids they wanted to see in the top-10. Once the top-10 was formed, America voted each week for the one contestant they wanted to put into the group. The results were aired the following evening with the next round beginning the following week. Taylor Thompson was the first contestant voted into the group. She was eventually followed by her younger sister, Tori Thompson, Chauncey Matthews, Lucy Hale, and Danielle White.

Top 20 Semi-Final 1: Contestant Choice

Contestants Song (Artist) Percentage of calls
Morgan Burke Why Do Fools Fall in Love (Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers) Top 5
Kara Lieberman Hopelessly Devoted to You (Olivia Newton-John) Eliminated
Kristinia DeBarge Reflection (Christina Aguilera) Eliminated
AJ Melendez Isn't She Lovely? (Stevie Wonder) Top 5
Grace Leer To Sir, with Love (Lulu) Eliminated
Danielle White Colors of the Wind (Vanessa L. Williams) Top 5
Chauncey Matthews A Whole New World (Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle) Top 5 (Highest votes)
Julie Dubela Rainy Days and Mondays (The Carpenters) Eliminated
Tyler Foehr Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic (The Police) Eliminated
Katelyn Tarver Ain't No Mountain High Enough (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell) Top 5

Top 20 Semi-Final 2: Contestant Choice

Contestants Song (Artist) Percentage of calls
Jordan McCoy Stupid Cupid (Connie Francis) Top 5
Lucy Hale Get Here (Brenda Russell) Top 5
Quinton Caruthers You Are the Sunshine of My Life (Stevie Wonder) Eliminated
Lauren Klena L-O-V-E (Nat King Cole) Eliminated
Chantel Kohl Open Arms (Journey) Top 5
Brennan Hillard That Thing You Do (The Wonders) Eliminated
Mercedes Ruiz Can't Fight the Moonlight (LeAnn Rimes) Eliminated
Taylor Thompson The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss) (Betty Everett) Top 5
Canyon Grove You've Got a Friend (James Taylor) Eliminated
Tori Thompson Let 'Er Rip (Dixie Chicks) Top 5 (Highest votes)

Advanced to Top 10 Finals: Tori Thompson (Highest votes), Taylor Thompson, Jordan McCoy, Lucy Hale, Chantel Kohl

Top 10

Theme: Songs of 1969


Top 9

Theme: Songs of 1970


Top 8

Theme: Songs of 1962


Top 7

Theme: Songs of 1980


Final Round

Theme: S.Club Songs


Ratings and aborted second season

American Juniors became one of the highest-rated television shows of the summer season, with approximately 11.9 million viewers on June 3, though the numbers dropped 40% toward the end of July. Nonetheless, the producers were satisfied of the strong teen demographic. A second season was planned for fall 2003, later postponed to the summer after American Idol (season 3), then called off.

Following the show

The show led to the creation of the five-member group American Juniors. The group made a brief appearance on the December 2003 American Idol Christmas special, An American Idol Christmas. Their debut album American Juniors was released on October 26, 2004, after a year's delay from its original scheduled date.

The group American Juniors disbanded in 2005, after having received relatively little publicity.

Lucy Hale is currently by far the most successful contestant from American Juniors, having acted in a number of films and television series, most notably the series Pretty Little Liars, which premiered in June 2010. She returned to her musical roots after a number of years in 2014 with the release of the country album Road Between for Disney Music Group's "Nashville" label.

In 2011, Tori and Taylor Thompson resurfaced on NBC's The Voice as a singing duet. They were selected and coached by Cee Lo Green but were voted off in the first live show.

Katelyn Tarver released a short-length album as well as her debut album Wonderful Crazy and her debut EP A Little More Free. She also got her big break in acting as Jo Taylor in Big Time Rush.

Jordan McCoy was signed to Diddy's label, Bad Boy Records, having only released demos. She is currently part of the revival of the late girl group, Dream (also formed by Diddy), now called Lady Phoenix.


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