Since its debut in 2002, American Idol has been one of the nation's most popular TV shows. This year's edition features a new batch of songs, contestants and two new judges - Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Here is a look at the show's connection to sports over its first eight years.
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Jordin and Phillippi Sparks
Jordin Sparks, the daughter of former Giants cornerback Phillippi Sparks, won the sixth season of Idol.
3 of 16Michael Tureski/Icon SMI; Robert E. Klein/Icon SMI
Ayla Brown, who advanced to the Round of 16 in the fifth season of Idol, played for Boston College women's basketball team. She may be best known, however, as one of the daughters of Scott Brown, who won a special election to gain the late Ted Kennedy's seat in the Senate.
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Barry Bonds may have a reputation for being surly with the media and fans, but he was the life of the American Idol party during the Giants' 2006 Spring Training, when he dressed in drag as Paula Abdul.
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Carrie Underwood and Tony Romo
Carrie Underwood captured America's heart when she won Season 4. She soon captured the heart of Tony Romo before moving on to Ottawa Senators center Mike Fisher.
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Kara DioGuardi, who joined the show as a judge last season, was once a weekend sports anchor at KVII-TV in Amarillo, Texas. Her competitive genes were unveiled on Idol when she and Bikini Girl (Katrina Darrell) went at it.
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Paula Abdul and Magic Johnson
Before she became a pop star and Idol judge, Paula Abdul was an NBA cheerleader rooting on Magic, Kareem and the rest of the Showtime Lakers.
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Nikko Smith, the ninth-place finalist on Season 4, is the son of St. Louis Cardinals legend Ozzie Smith.
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Matt Rogers and Simon Cowell
Matt Rogers, one of the finalists on the third season of Idol, was an offensive lineman on the Washington Huskies 2001 Rose Bowl championship team.
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Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard played football at Huffman High in Birmingham and received a scholarship to Alabama A&M University. He ended up passing on the chance to play football to concentrate on his music, graduating with a degree in voice studies.
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Nobody has gotten more out of a bad Idol tryout than cult hero William Hung, whose hilarious version of Ricky Martin's "She Bangs" made him an instant sensation and a popular figure on the sports circuit.
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Jonathan Jayne and Kenneth Swale
Former Idol rejects Jonathan Jayne (left) and Kenneth Swale at Media Day from Miami before Super Bowl XLI between the Bears and Colts.
13 of 16Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images; Stephen Dunn/Getty Images; Steve Grayson/WireImage
Kellie Pickler, David Archuleta, Elliott Yamin and Fantasia Barrino
Dozens of Idol contestants have performed "The Star Spangled Banner" at sporting events, including (clockwise from top left) Kellie Pickler, David Archuleta, Elliott Yamin and Fantasia Barrino.
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Anna Kournikova and Randy Jackson
Anna Kournikova and Idol judge Randy Jackson pose on Arthur Ashe Kids Day before the start of the 2005 U.S. Open.
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David Cook and David Wright
Seventh season winner David Cook shows Mets third baseman David Wright how to hit the drums during the 4th Annual 'Do The Wright Thing' gala in New York City.
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Los Angeles Dodgers hitting coach Don Mattingly talks with Season 8 contestants Adam Lambert and Lil Rounds before a Dodgers game.
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