The fifth season of American Idol began on January 17, 2006, and concluded on May 24, 2006. Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell returned to judge, and Ryan Seacrest returned to host. It is the most successful season to date ratings-wise and also with 18 contestants (including all of the top 10 and a few semifinalists) getting record deals – nine of them with major labels. It is the first season with a male winner (Taylor Hicks) and a female runner-up (Katharine McPhee), the second being season 9, the third being season 10, and the fourth being season 11. It was also the first season of the series to be aired in high definition.