But in an increasingly crowded genre, can one of TV's veteran singing competitions still make sweet music for viewers?
The judges clearly think so. In a recent interview, Randy Jackson referred to Idol as the "Picasso" of singing shows, the original that's been widely imitated.
Yet Idol hasn't produced a true breakthrough superstar in a while – and it could use one in its battle against upstart rivals like The Voice and Simon Cowell's The X Factor.
Of course, along with the talented singers, there's always the goofy ones who ambush the auditions with hilariously bad performances, forcing the judges to respond in the most diplomatic way possible – or fall apart in an explosion of giggles.