American Idol is in it to end it, dawg.
E! News has learned that the show's 15th season, slated to start in January, will be its last.
According to Fox, judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban all will return for the last hurrah, which will be a celebration of the past 14 seasons. No word yet on the number of episodes, but the final season is expected to be cut back.
The cancellation news doesn't really come as much of a surprise, given that ratings have been on a downward spiral for the past few years, despite some significant changes to the series, including a new showrunner. None of it really worked. Idol's audience has continued to hemorrhage and has been hovering around less than 9 million viewers, a far cry from its heyday when 38 million people tuned in to watch the season two finale with Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard.
Ryan Seacrest, who has served as the show's host for its entire run, issued a heartfelt statement about the show's cancellation: "American Idol has been a big part of my life for so long, it's frankly hard to imagine it without it. It's been a remarkable journey, and I feel very fortunate to have been part of a show that made television history in countless ways. It's a show about chasing and fulfilling dreams, and truth be told, it helped some of my own dreams come true too.
All the American Idol producers, judges, crew and everyone at Fox have been heroic in their efforts to create, produce and sustain such a groundbreaking show for so many years. I'm so glad they're going to give us a season-long send off. The last season will undoubtedly be a special and emotional one, but first I'm looking forward to closing out Season 14. The finale is always my favorite part—two live shows with lots of surprises, and, of course, one winner!"
This season, for the first time ever, three finalists are duking it out in the final week of the season—Clark Beckham, Nick Fradiani and Jax. The winner will be announced Wednesday on Fox.
We're covering the NBC and FOX upfronts in NYC all day today. Stand by for more breaking news and scoop!
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Do you think its the right time for Idol to end? What we're saying here is...Do you have eyes and ears and a thinking brain? Thought so!
#RIPIdol. An end of an era, for sure. Some people wait a lifetime...
(Originally published May 11, 2015, at 5:00 a.m. PT)