After 15 seasons American Idol will finally end in January 2016. The 15th and final season of the show will, of course, recap and relive the show’s most memorable moments, as well as conduct the search for its final Idol. Simons Fuller and Cowell introduced the show to American audiences back in 2002, drawing heavily from its British counterpart Pop Idol.
Cowell was a judge on the British program and brought his hard-hitting, acerbic criticism to the American version — an element that has been lacking from the show since he departed in 2010 at the end of Season 9 to launch his own singing competition show, The X Factor. At one point, American Idol was the #1 show in the country but it has been steadily declining for the last few years. Along with spawning an entire genre of singing competition reality shows — The X Factor, The Voice, America’s Got Talent — it is one of the most successful reality shows ever.
Host Ryan Seacrest has been with the American Idol since its first season, and especially following Cowell’s departure, a revolving slate of superstar judges have appeared on the show. Among them are Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Ellen DeGeneres, Mariah Carey, Kara DioGuardi, Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr., and Steven Tyler. The show also produced several bona fide stars over the course of 15 years, most notably Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Jordin Sparks.
Fox has seen huge success with their new scripted music-industry show Empire, so perhaps we’ll be seeing more shows of that kind in the future? The end of Idol feels like the end of an era, but the show is also well past its prime. Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. will be the judges on the show’s final season next January, along with the ever-present Seacrest.