"American Idol" announced Monday that it is lowering the minimum age restriction for contestants from 16 to 15, allowing even younger aspiring pop stars to forgo their hairbrushes and stuffed-animal audiences in exchange for a real microphone and millions of TV viewers.
In the spring of 2008, Wal-Mart threw an annual shareholders meeting befitting its stature as the world's mightiest retailer. It was a gala event hosted by rapper and actress Queen Latifah and featuring performances by American Idol winners David Cook and Carrie Underwood, teen sensation Taylor Swift, '80s rockers Journey, and country stars Keith Urban and Tim McGraw.
Over the years, "American Idol" has been a lot of things: a launching pad for undiscovered talent, fodder for national conversation and even a blending of politics and pop culture (remember the "red state-blue state" debate last season during the Kris Allen-Adam Lambert showdown?).