'American Idol' May Not Be Ending, After All

by Alex Kritselis

If watching the first few episodes of American Idol 's "farewell season" has made you feel all sad and weepy, there's been an exciting development you need to know about: Believe it or not, American Idol may not be ending, after all. Yes, although Fox announced last May that Season 15 would be the long-running singing competition's last, recently, host Ryan Seacrest and judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez have suggested otherwise.

According to Variety, Seacrest had this to say about the future of Idol during Fox's Television Critics Association (TCA) press tour on Fri., Jan. 15: "The numbers look great this season, they look really good, and I think we're all pleased that people are watching and some people are coming back to watch ... Does that mean it's the end? I'm not so sure." Variety also notes that when a reporter asked Urban if he thought Fox had made a mistake by cancelling Idol, he replied: "I think the Eagles have had at least three farewell tours."

Finally, Variety points out that Fox's official Idol Twitter account recently retweeted the tweet below, which features a quotation from Lopez about the possibility of the series returning:

The prospect of Idol continuing on past Season 15 is undoubtedly thrilling for many devoted fans, but not everyone is convinced it's a good idea. For starters, Idol's viewership has been shrinking for years. Although Seacrest said the ratings for Season 15 have been "really good" so far, The Wrap reports that part 1 of the Season 15 premiere actually hit an all-time ratings low for the series in the key 18-49 demographic.

But more importantly, winning Idol just doesn't seem to mean much anymore. Gone are the days of chart-topping Idol-born superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. In fact, many of the show's recent winners have struggled to establish a career, period.

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For example, what's going on with Season 14 champ Nick Fradiani? We haven't heard from the 30-year-old singer since he released his coronation song, "Beautiful Life," in May 2015.

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Season 13 winner Caleb Johnson recently left Interscope Records, claiming that the label didn't "believe" in or "support" his music. Sadly, his debut album, Testify, now holds the record for lowest opening sales total by an Idol winner ever, shifting only 11,000 copies in its first week. Who previously held this record?

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Season 12 victor Candice Glover, of course. All three of the aforementioned winners are extremely talented, but if the general public's interest in Idol artists is dwindling (and I think it is), and record labels are unwilling to invest the time and money necessary to promote their music, perhaps the show should throw in the towel. It had a good run.

However, current Idol advisor Scott Borchetta brought up an interesting point about Idol's possible return during Fox's aforementioned TCA press tour. According to Variety, the Big Machine Records CEO suggested that if Idol does make a comeback someday, its format could be "reinvented" and "modernized" to make it more successful.

Perhaps the show could come up with a way to ensure more effective promotion of its winners, or devise a plan to better integrate social media. Just because Idol isn't working especially well in its current format (which hasn't changed significantly in several years) doesn't mean it has to go away forever. Maybe it can be reconfigured!

Hopefully, Seacrest and co. will shed more light on the possibility of Idol continuing on past Season 15 very soon.

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