Ending on a High Note: Celebrating 15 Seasons of American Idol

1000px-American_Idol_logo.svg.pngIn the summer of 2002, I was in high school, rocking spiky hair and a puka shell necklace while playing Snake on my lightning bolt face-plated Nokia 5110. Little did I know, FOX was about to change the face of American television, pop culture and the music industry. As a small-town girl from Burleson, Texas took the stage in front of the entire nation, a star was born, along with a franchise. This…was American Idol. And I was hooked.

On Thursday night, the confetti will rain down for the final time at the Dolby (formerly Kodak) Theatre. One talented singer will live on in history as the “bookend to Kelly Clarkson.” As a loyal fan throughout all 15 seasons, I must say that Idol’s departure leaves me with mixed emotions. Whether you’re an Idol super fan like me (I might have attended the Season 5 American Idols LIVE! tour) or you tuned out years ago, it’s hard to deny the impact this show has made. So, let’s take a look back at Idol’s legacy. Kieran, dim the lights, here we go…

Kelly. The original Idol, and arguably the best. Gracious, incredibly endearing and with a killer set of pipes, this girl had star power from the start, and she’s living proof of Idol’s power. If you haven’t yet, watch her Piece by Piece performance from this season…and grab some tissues.

Memorable Auditions. I’ll be honest and say that the Idol auditions were always my least favorite part of the process. But between the delusional hopefuls and the shockingly poignant back-stories, the auditions were where we fell in love with each season’s unique group of contestants. Also, they gave us this.

Incredible Performances. Fantasia’s Summertime. Carrie’s Alone. Katharine’s Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Blake’s You Give Love a Bad Name. Adam’s Mad World. Jena’s Can’t Help Falling in Love. When it comes to amazing vocals, American Idol has had too many to list. Thank goodness for YouTube, and if only the iTunes recordings had come out sooner!

Dramatic Eliminations. I remember being on a school field trip during Season 3 and finding out from my mother via text that, shockingly, the three divas (Fantasia Barrino, Jennifer Hudson and LaToya London) were in the Bottom 3 during Barry Manilow Week, with Jennifer going home (obviously it worked out for her). And let’s not even talk about Chris Daughtry’s elimination in Season 5…it’s still too soon. If you must relive both eliminations, here you go. Nobody did watercooler moments quite like Idol.

More than any other American singing competition, American Idol has produced legitimate superstars. Idols have recorded albums, performed on Broadway, hit the silver screen, starred on TV and so much more. It’s been a great 15 seasons, Idol. Thanks for the music.

Not quite ready for the final “Seacrest, out”? Check out our American Idol alumni Spotify playlist.

Jason is the Email Coordinator at Half Price Books Corporate.


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