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May 11, 2015

FOX announced today that the long running American Idol will come to an end after next year’s fifteenth season.  Currently in season 14, American Idol is FOX’s second highest rated show this year behind the new sensation Empire.  Idol is averaging over 9 million viewers a week, which would be a huge success for almost any show on television.  It is hard to believe that the show once averaged 30 million viewers, which would arguably put it in the conversation of most successful television shows of all time.


Since 2002, American Idol has provided a platform to create musical superstars following in the footsteps of its English inspiration Pop Idol.  We may have never heard of Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood if American Idol never existed.  The rock band Daughtry might have never taken the world by storm.  Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell would probably not be household names.


Besides providing notable winners such as Clarkson, Underwood, Jordin Sparks, Fantasia, David Cook, Scotty McCreery, and Phillip Phillips, non-winning contestants have also found success.  Jennifer Hudson (7th place) has won an Oscar and a Grammy.  Katharine McPhee (2nd place) became a successful actress and currently stars in CBS’ hit show Scorpion.  Chris Daughtry (4th place) formed the aforementioned group Daughtry.  Katie Stevens (8th place) starred in the MTV series Faking It.  Adam Lambert (2nd place), Pia Toscano (9th place), and Kellie Pickler (6th place) have had musical success.


While some winners such as Taylor Hicks and Lee DeWyze struggled to make it big after Idol, the show was ultimately successful in becoming a pop culture fixture by creating superstars.  Other musical shows, such as The Voice, have been unable to duplicate Idol’s success in making their contestants relevant in music and entertainment.  

The importance of talent show judges was also popularized by American Idol.  Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Harry Connick, Jr. have all sat at the judges’ table and critiqued the contestants to numerous cheers and boos.  The current panel of Lopez, Urban, and Connick will return for the final season.


American Idol wraps up its now second-to-last season tomorrow and Wednesday night as it will crown its fourteenth champion.  Next year the sensation comes to a close in what will be a season-long celebratory event of the show according to FOX.  American Idol will draw its last breath in 2016.


Well, until FOX undoubtedly resurrects it years down the road.


Follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffLane22

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