Nowadays, there are plenty of reality shows to keep our television-loving selves addicted year-round. But back in 2002, a man named Simon Cowell was about to change the future of reality competition for good when he brought a little-known series called American Idol to international audiences.
More than a decade later, the series has given us the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, just to name a few. We’ve been entertained by a plethora of judges and musical mentors from all walks of life, (we ALL remember the Nicki Minaj/Mariah Carey feud of 2012, right?!). And who could forget meeting the host with the most, the now omnipresent Ryan Seacrest?
To say Idol had a lasting effect on pop culture would be an understatement.
On Monday morning, Fox made history yet again when it confirmed the upcoming 15th season of American Idol, which will air in early 2016, will be the final season in the show’s long history.
— American Idol (@AmericanIdol) May 11, 2015
Thankfully, there will be no more shifts at the judges table, as Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban will all return, as well as Seacrest himself.
So what special twists and turns can audiences expect before “Seacrest’s out” for the final time? It’s too early to tell, but with 15 seasons under its belt, Idol will surely bring back some memorable faces from the past. Fingers crossed now that that includes Simon Cowell.
Meanwhile, the 14th season concludes next week when a new winner is chosen.
Check out 13 of the show’s most memorable moments to date.
American Idol to end after 15 seasons
A winner emergesKelly Clarkson wins the first crown, Season 1, and performs the goosebumps-inducing “A Moment Like This.”Fox
Naked and AfraidAntonella Barba became an Internet sensation when her “friends” leaked naked photos of her online, Season 6CTV
All the girls crySanjaya Malakar (and his hair) kept getting further, and further … and further in the competition. All the way to the Top 7, even though popular opinion was that he was the worst singer, Season 6.Fox
The Other Man WinsAdam Lambert lost to Kris Allen in the finals, shocking North America, Season 8. Fox
Paula Gets WeirdDavid Archuleta knocks everyone’s socks off with a rendition of “Imagine,” prompting one of the weirdest Paula Abdul quotes to date: “I want to squeeze your head off and dangle you from my review mirror.” Season 7.Fox
This GuyWilliam Hung becomes an overnight sensation thanks to his version of Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs,” Season 3.Fox
In the NudeSteven Tyler gives himself a break from rejecting eager hopefuls, strips down to his boxers, moons the camera and goes for a swim, Season 11.YouTube
It's Getting Hot in HereKara DioGuardi shows up the “Bikini Girl” from auditions, Season 8.Fox
Buddy DramaAll of Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell’s awkward interactions, right up until Season 10 when Cowell left.Fox
Gettin' WhackHarry Connick Jr. tells Quentin Alexander his “whack” comments were disrespectful, and if it’s that “whack” he can go home, Season 14. Fox
Bitter BettysMariah Carey and Nicki Minaj feud … a lot, in Season 12. Neither one is asked back the next year. Fox
Another UpsetKatharine McPhee loses to Taylor Hicks, but then went on to have a successful television career, Season 5. Fox
Idol Gives BackIdol Gives Back raises a whopping $70 million with a two-hour special in 2007.Fox