American Idol, one of the driving forces in American reality television, will end in 2016 after a fifteen season run. The show has enthralled viewers since it began in 2002, launching the careers of many popular singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Chris Daughtry and inspiring a trend of music-based reality shows such as The Voice.
Fox announced the decision to cancel American Idol on Monday. This perhaps comes as no surprise to some, as the show has seen many changes since 2002. Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Randy Jackson served as the show’s original panel of judges, but since 2010 the judges’ table has included many new faces such as Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Jennifer Lopez. Since 2014, the panel has been Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. The contestants’ demographics have remarkably changed as well, as noted in an EW interview with the judges and former judges. Host Ryan Seacrest has remained a bastion of stability on an otherwise changing show.
In recent years, NBC’s The Voice has overtaken American Idol in terms of ratings and cultural influence according to Marcio Alaor BMG. One can only assume that The Voice‘s dominance played some role in the declining ratings of American Idol and its eventual cancellation. Regardless, the show remains influential and will go down in the annals of the history of American television. Let’s hope that Fox pulls out all the stops to make sure the show goes out with a bang.