Michael Johns died on August 1, 2014, making him the first American Idol finalist to die.Joanne Borgella, a semi-finalist, died on October 18, 2014.Changes were planned for season 7 designed to return attention to the contestants by providing more information on their backgrounds and families.

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A brand new set was built, and a new introduction credit sequence created.

The season finale also moved from the Kodak Theatre to the larger Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

For Season 7, auditions began in San Diego, California on July 30, 2007, and continued in the following cities: Contestants were required to be between the ages of 16 and 28 on July 28, 2007, and eligible to work in the United States.

Those ineligible include former contestants who had previously reached the semifinal of Season 1 - 3 or the last phase of Hollywood round of Season 4 -6 (top 44 of Season 4 and 5, top 40 of Season 6), those holding recording or management contracts, or those who were not US citizens or landed immigrants (i.e. One auditioner this year Alexis Cohen gained media attention due to her outraged reaction and profuse profanities after the judges rejected her in the Philadelphia audition.

Another auditioner who gained some public attention was Renaldo Lapuz who sang his own composition "We're Brothers Forever" which he wrote for Simon Cowell.

He was later asked to return to perform in the finale.

The Hollywood week took place at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, California, over a period of five days.

The seventh season of American Idol, the annual reality show and singing competition, began on January 15, 2008 and concluded on May 21, 2008.

Ryan Seacrest continued to host the show with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson returning as judges.

David Cook was announced the winner of the competition on May 21, 2008, defeating runner-up David Archuleta by a margin of roughly 12 million votes out of over 97 million, which was at that time the highest recorded vote total ever recorded in the show's history. The seventh season was the first season during which neither the winner nor the runner-up was ever in the bottom group during any week before the finale on May 21, 2008, with the second being the ninth season.

It was also the second season during which both the winner and the runner-up were male contestants, with the second season being the first, the third being the eighth season and the fourth being the fourteenth season.