“American Idol” is in the midst of its highly-publicized fifteenth and final season, dubbed “The Farewell Season,” but don’t say goodbye to the long-running series just yet.
“This show is like a family member to me,” host Ryan Seacrest said Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., to which judge Jennifer Lopez chimed in, “We’ll always be there when they call.”
Asked by a reporter if Fox made a mistake ending the series after fifteen seasons, judge Keith Urban quipped, “I think the Eagles have had at least three farewell tours.”
Lopez continued to tease the show being revived down the road. “I think you never know with a format like this that can work at any time — it’s possible. Whether they’re making a mistake or not, everyone just goes with the feeling in the moment. If that’s what they’re if feeling than that’s their feeling,” she said of Fox, explaining that she does not know all the factors that went into the network’s decision to cancel “Idol.”
“At the end of the day, you never know,” Lopez said. “This is an amazing, amazing journey to watch and people are still tuning in.”
Speaking more to the viewership, Seacrest said, “The numbers look great this season, they look really good, and I think we’re all pleased that people are watching and some people are coming back to watch … Does that mean it’s the end? I’m not so sure.”
Alternatively, “Idol” mentor Scott Borchetta shed some light on Fox’s decision. “You have the ability to go out on top,” he said. “Why not go out on top?”
Borchetta’s notion brings up a good point: if “Idol” goes out, still a hit — and it will, given it’s current ratings, which will likely sustain or grow as the nostalgia factor kicks in, nearing the season’s end — it will be sensible for Fox to bring back the show at a later date.
Last week, viewers flocked to the final-season premiere of “Idol” with its 3.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 11 million total viewers, good enough to win its night and come within 5% of its year-ago premiere. Even though the show fell off in its second week last night, it still netted a 2.2 in the demo and nearly 9 million total viewers.
Borchetta also suggested that if “Idol” ever does return, it could be reinvigorated and modernized. “For that opportunity to be reinvented and re-imagined and how you can use the current media to reinvent ‘American Idol’ … it’s a really exciting opportunity to think about what that show would be.”
If the show does come back, would the current trio of judges return? Lopez, who is about to start her Las Vegas residency, would definitely consider. “Hypothetically, if that we’re to happen, ‘American Idol’ has a special place in my heart,” she said.
During the TCA panel, Fox’s official “American Idol” Twitter account retweeted this reporter’s tweet about the show returning, acknowledging the possibility of more “Idol” — and perhaps bringing some weight to the show’s potential return.
— Elizabeth Wagmeister (@EWagmeister) January 15, 2016
As for the current final season, exec producer Trish Kinane promises it will be a memorable season, which will welcome back many familiar faces, including original winner Kelly Clarkson who will perform be a guest judge during the live shows on Jan. 25. While plans aren’t firm at this point, original judge Simon Cowell will most likely be back for the finale, which will be exec produced by Nigel Lythgoe.