American Idol is a popular reality TV singing competition that aired on FOX from 2002 through 2016. It is part of the Idol franchise which spans across the world. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, each season it narrowed down a series of finalists until one of them is chosen as the American Idol. Notable winners and finalists that have worked with the Muppets have included Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Jennifer Hudson, Matt Rogers, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks. After ending on FOX in 2016, the series was brought back on ABC.
The original three judges for the first eight seasons were Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. Other celebrity judges during the series run included Mariah Carey, Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler and Keith Urban. Nigel Lythgoe served as a long-running executive producer.
- During the "Results Show" broadcasts aired each week, the remaining contestants are featured singing in a commercial for a Ford automobile. Kermit the Frog has appeared inside the featured car at the end of a few of these spots.
- During the "Idol Gives Back" special on April 25th, 2007, Miss Piggy appeared several times during a celebrity montage video of "Stayin' Alive". Other celebrities included Rob Schneider, Jason Biggs, Helena Bonham Carter, Goldie Hawn, Helen Mirren, Dr. Phil McGraw, Teri Hatcher and Forest Whitaker.
- Kermit appeared in the May 21, 2018 finale episode, performing "Rainbow Connection" with finalist Maddie Poppe. Poppe had previously been shown on the show singing the song for her audition.
- On the January 30, 2007 episode of the program's sixth season (Birmingham, Alabama auditions), a contestant named Margaret Fowler appeared, dressed in bright yellow feathers. She claimed to be 26-years-old (the maximum age for eligibility to compete is 28), but was later revealed to be 50. Host Ryan Seacrest remarked, through voice-over, that she looked like Big Bird, and a few bars of the "Sesame Street Theme" were played.
- Statler and Waldorf showed their audition video for American Idol in episode 22 of From the Balcony only to get insulted and heckled by the judges.
- Sesame Street spoofed the game show as "American I" in Episode 4142. Prairie Dawn hosts with a panel of judges consisting of Rosita, Oscar the Grouch and Dawg the Dog. Three contestants, a B (performed by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph), a W (performed by Tyler Bunch) and an I (performed by Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) compete to become the next American I, despite the fact that not all of them are Is. In the end, the panel of judges pick Prairie Dawn as the winner.
- The 2007 book Sesame Street Superstar is a takeoff on American Idol. The book comes with a built-in microphone and mini-karaoke machine. After each song, there's a comment from the panel of "judges" -- Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster.
- Deutschland sucht den Superstar, the German version of the show, were spoofed as "Deutschland sucht die Superkuh" in the Sesamstrasse episode 2348. Another reference have been made as "Deutschland sucht die Super Grautsch"
- "PEOPLE EXCLUSIVE: Margaret Fowler's Poem for Simon!", People Magazine, January 31, 2007.