The Final Bow

Me with the Season 12 finalists during the “American Idol” Live Tour.
I woke up Monday morning, looked at Facebook, and learned the news: FOX had decided to cancel its long-running competition show, “American Idol” – ending the show in 2016 after its 15th season.
I didn’t know how to react at first. I was angry and confused. Heck, I knew this day would come eventually, but it felt strange to see it in black and white. “Idol” has undoubtedly transformed television. No talent competition show will ever come close to making an impact like “Idol” has and will continue to do next season. From the start, I knew that “Idol” would be a huge success. Kelly Clarkson became a household name literally overnight thanks, in large part, to the show. Many “Idol” alumni have spoken out since the news broke of FOX’s cancellation, noting how the show has given them many opportunities they never thought they would receive.

It’s funny, I just came across a couple t-shirts the other day that I bought several years ago – one with the “American Idol” logo on it and one from my first of many “American Idol” Live Tours – season two with Clay Aiken. I also remember my time meeting the finalists during the tour in 2010, including North Carolina’s own and “Idol” champ Scotty McCreery (pictured right). It’s hard to believe but, two years ago this summer, I also met all of the finalists from Season 12 on the “Idol” Tour – and wrote a post about it here.

“Idol” has been a huge part of my life and the only show that I’ve watched and made memories while doing so. Sitting down and watching the good and downright awful auditions with the fam. Watching the infamous, drama-filled “Hollywood Week” round. Tuning into the finale each season in anticipation of a winner being crowned. Going to the summer tour and being stoked to finally meet the finalists and see them perform live since I couldn’t make it out to L.A. for a live show.

What upsets me the most about this is how the reaction has been on social media in the wake of the show’s cancellation. Tons of people have said that no one cares and that NBC’s “The Voice” is better anyway. Oh, give me a break. Name one former contestant on “The Voice” that has amounted to any career that matches Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson or Chris Daughtry. Sure, some have seen marginal success but nowhere close to that of those I just mentioned. People watch “The Voice” because of the “coaches” – a.k.a judges – to see if their team wins. The “Blind Auditions” is nothing more than a gimmick, in my opinion. People think the “Blind Auditions” are based solely on the vocals of the contestant but, has anyone ever thought that prospective contestants meet with producers before stepping foot on these talent competition shows?

But that’s enough about “The Voice” as I’ll never watch that show even if it was the last one on television. While I’m at it, I’ll no longer watch any show on FOX once “Idol” is over. It was the only reason I watched FOX anyway since the network cancelled several of my other favorite shows like “The X-Factor USA,” “Surviving Jack” and “Red Band Society.” Canceling “Idol” is the last straw for me.

I’ve never been a contestant. Playing music is more my style than singing. Nor have I ever been to a live taping of the show, and I guess I never will. However, I’ll always remember “Idol” for being the show that truly transformed television. FOX execs said Monday that the show’s final season will be one of celebration of the past 14 years. I sure hope so because this show should have the proper send-off it deserves.

Stay tuned to my blog for celebratory posts, memories and more in the coming year.

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