As the lights faded on the 15th and final season of American Idol, and on another disappointing conclusion, a visibly emotional Ryan Seacrest said, “Good night, America.” When the picture faded to black, he said two more words: “For now.” And then the show actually ended.
Earlier, Seacrest notably didn’t say that Trent Harmon was the final American Idol winner after his victory over La’Porsha Renae.
So why the tease? I think it’s because of something the Idol format’s creator, Simon Fuller, said in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
“… Now we can catch our breath. It allows me to rethink the show for the first time. When you’re a No. 1 show, it’s hard to be too bold and brazen about changing the format because it’s working and succeeding. Also, you’re always rushing to get the next season completed. Now we start with a clean sheet of paper.”
“…The next generation of Idol — and Idol will certainly be coming back for sure — will have a youthful glow and it will be pioneering again, just as it was when we first began.”
Whether you view this as a threat or promise, there is a lot of hope there, starting over again. It’s also an acknowledgement that the fear of change, and sticking with the same thing for 15 seasons, may not have been the best thing for the show’s longevity.
Seeing young Ryan Seacrest, and Brian Dunkleman, and footage of the original three judges reminded me of the joy and wonder the series offered in its early years. I hope Simon Fuller can recapture that with a whole new kind of Idol.