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American Idol’s Final Goodbye

MA: Fourteen years ago in the Spring of 2002, hundreds of aspiring crooners and divas tried out for a yet unknown talent competition called American Idol, hoping to hear these words.


You’re going to Hollywood! … You’re going to Hollywood! … You’re going to Hollywood!

MA: Of course, most of them heard this instead …


I think I’m going to have to say no dude.


I don’t think it’s right for the competition.


I think you just killed my favorite song of all time.

MA: For those who made it, tens of million of Americans tuned in, launching American Idol into television history. And since it began, American Idol has turned out both bona fide super stars like Kelly Clarkson …

(SOUND: Kelly Clarkson singing A Moment Like This…)

MA: As well as some memorable flops …

(SOUND: Hung singing She Bangs)

MA:  At its peak, the show brought in nearly 40 million viewers. But in the last season, its viewership was around 8 million. And even though those numbers still make it a top 20 show, Steve Johnson, cultural critic for the Chicago Tribune says …


…The trendline for Idol was so clearly down that I think it probably just felt a little sad to everybody. And they wanted to move on to something else when they kept looking at the ratings numbers not going up.

MA: Michael Slezak, is an American Idol Obsessive who covers American Idol for


I’ve seen every episode since season one, from  the premier to the finale, never missed an episode in my life.

MA: And even he agrees with Johnson. He says even though …


Most networks would kill to have a new show draw that kind of number …

MA:  … It was probably time for American Idol to take a break …


You know, all good things must come to an end. And in the TV world, 15 seasons is a really long time.

MA: Still, Slezak says he’ll miss the sense of community around the show. In a world where streaming video let’s people watch whatever they want whenever they want, Idol is one of those rare, shared cultural experiences. That’s less the case now that the show has to compete with Facebook, youtube, and the entire rest of the internet. Still, Slezak still thinks the show could have gone on longer.


I’m a little sad. Maybe we could have found a few more great singers before it was all said and done. I could have gone another five seasons for sure. MA: And Slezak may just get his wish. At the end of last night’s finale, host Ryan Secrest planted the seed for a possible return, signing off, Goodnight America — for now. Adrian Ma, Columbia Radio News.


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