6. AMERICAN IDOL (Fox, 2002-present)
Once a year, Idol gives the public a chance to overthrow the Auto-Tune-ocracy known as the record industry by catapulting an undiscovered talent (or two) to superstardom. Who says the revolution will not be televised?
Best Season: 8 The judges wanted a Danny Gokey-Adam Lambert finale, but viewers had other ideas, pitting Lambert, the outré, octave-scaling showman, against Kris Allen (above), the unassuming, song-rearranging cutie, in the show’s buzziest, most unpredictable season ever. Throw in a deep bench — led by Little Rocker That Could Allison Iraheta — and crazy Aunt Paula’s farewell, and it’s no wonder Idol fans still say season 8 can never be topped.