Fox has announced the end of American Idol after its upcoming 15th season. Though many television watchers will question the relevancy of this news (who even won Idol in the past…eight years?), we can’t forget just how revolutionary this singing competition once was.
“Idol was once dubbed Fox’s Death Star, a series so popular it decimated any rival that dared to air at the same time,” writes Entertainment Weekly. “At the musical competition’s ratings peak in 2006, Idol drew more than an incredible 36 million viewers for its season finale.”
So even if we can’t recall this season’s judges (P.S. it’s JLo, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr., with host Ryan Seacrest), we owe Idol an ounce of our grieving and gratitude. Not only has the LGBT community welcomed talented gay, lesbian, and queer artists from the show (and Adam Lambert is still proving that he has staying power), we must also speculate whether competition hits like Dancing with the Stars and The Voice would even exist if Kelly Clarkson hadn’t taken the stage 15 years ago.
With all that said, RIP American Idol.