After its fifteenth and final season, American Idol will finally end — finally or tragically, depending on your point of view. Fox has decided to shove the show into the vault, along with other relics of American pop culture that have long since been forgotten. The show's ratings have been in decline over the past several years, and none of the more recent winners have skyrocketed to fame like many of the contestants of the past. All of these factors probably contributed to Fox's decision to pull the plug on the show. Still, it will be fun to take a look back. According to Deadline, the final season of American Idol will focus on the influence of the show and its notable alumni, as well as the competition itself.
Honestly, had it not been for my exciting evenings at my neighborhood laundromat, I would never have even known that Idol still came on television. To be fair, Idol has not always been as lackluster as it is now. When the show initially premiered in the summer of 2002, it was a true highlight of my prepubescent life. Idol has also turned out some sensational talent.
From pop rocker Kelly Clarkson to R&B/soul sensation Jennifer Hudson, Idol will always hold a pivotal place in our twenty-first century imaginations. Before the Kardashian take over, the goings-on at Idol stayed in rotation in our news cycle. Here are seven times that Idol was actually a big freaking deal.
1. Fantasia Barrino's "Summertime" Performance
Fantasia Barrino would go on to win the third season of American Idol. Her performance of "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess left us all in tears and solidified her place at the top.
2. Corey Clark and Paula Abdul's Alleged Affair
Corey Clark appeared on the second season of American Idol, and he was a favorite until he was booted because of an undisclosed arrest record. Two years after his dismissal, Clark alleged that he'd had a three-month long sexual relationship with his mentor, Paula Abdul. Though the alleged affair stayed in the headlines, no evidence ever corroborated Clark's claims.
3. Jason Castro Judging Controversy
During the seventh season of Idol, finalist Jason Castro blanked on several lyrics during his performance of "Mr. Tambourine Man." Though Castro later said his lapse in memory was due to exhaustion, then-judge Simon Cowell later speculated that Castro forgot the lyrics on purpose. Following his performance in the "Top 4" it also looked like Castro was telling fans, "Don't Vote."
4. Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey Feud
Season 12 made for an extremely tense cycle of Idol. It was apparent that new judges, megastar Nicki Minaj and icon Mariah Carey, could not get along. TMZ even leaked a video of the duo engaging in a swearing and screaming tirade. Needless to say, neither Minaj nor Carey returned to Idol.
5. Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis Dispute
Kelly Clarkson and Clive Davis' feud seemed to have been festering since she received her RCA record deal. However, things came to a head with the Idol alum and music legend during the production of Clarkson's third album, My December. The album did not do as well as Clarkson's previous album, Breakaway. Clarkson blamed Davis for bashing the album before it debuted, while Davis said that Clarkson wanted more artistic control — which in his opinion resulted in poor production.
6. Season 2 Final Voting Controversy
Though Ruben Studdard was ultimately declared the winner of the second season of American Idol, there was a ton of confusion surrounding the winning margin. Host Ryan Seacrest originally announce that Studdard beat Clay Aiken by 13,000 votes, but Fox stated that the correct number was 130,000. Nevertheless, there was still much concern that phone companies had been overloaded, and nearly 230 million phone calls had been dropped.
7. Jennifer Hudson's Elimination
During the third season of American Idol, favorite Jennifer Hudson was eliminated during the "Top 7" show. During that episode, Hudson, along with Fantasia Barrino and LaToya London — all African American — landed in the bottom three. Hudson's mentor, Elton John, called the results "incredibly racist." Though Hudson has seen major success since her time on show, her Idol exit is still considered to be the most shocking of all time.
Images: Fox (1); Getty Images (3)