Why is “American Idol” ending next year?!

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Season one winner Kelly Clarkson (middle) poses with current judges Jennifer Lopez (left) and Keith Urban (right).

After debuting in 2002, American Idol quickly became the #1 series on TV for 8 seasons, and was nicknamed FOX’s “Death Star” for its ability to crush rival shows. The singing competition show peaked in 2006 with about 38 million viewers during its finale, but has lost ratings almost every season since. This year was Idol‘s least popular season ever, and now, the once unbeatable juggernaut will take a bow after its 15th season in 2016.

Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. will judge the last season, as they have for the previous two, and long-time host Ryan Seacrest will make sure the show gets a proper sendoff. Blasts from the past will make surprise appearances, so expect to see popular winners and judges make a cameo.

The show’s original three judges were Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and the feisty Simon Cowell, whose sharp-tongued British wit caused as many tears as laughter. Over the years, the show has produced some major musical successes, like Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Jennifer Hudson.

Featured image courtesy of FOX. Image of Clarkson courtesy of Kelly Clarkson Facebook.