An empty microphone stand

For the past few years, the show American Idol has been on a downfall. Its ratings have slipped, its ability to produce successful artists virtually no longer exists, and the participants it attracts pale in comparison to the singing hopefuls of its early days.

A singing competition based on the British show Pop Idol, American Idol was created in 2002. It followed the same format as its predecessor, looking for the next megastar. Due to its early popularity, American Idol spurred spin-off competitions worldwide, including the Brazilian version Ídolos, which was cancelled in 2012 and replaced with the Brazilian version of the Got Talent franchise. Unlike Ídolos, American Idol has yet to be cancelled; but some are predicting Season 14 may be the last.

American Idol’s inaugural season saw the victory of Kelly Clarkson, known for her Billboard number-one singles “My Life Would Suck Without You” and “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You).” Her win and subsequent career propelled her to fame and brought American Idol widespread attention. Ever since, Idol has seen its fair share of successful winners and finalists.

Season 2 saw Clay Aiken, known for his Southern drawl and rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” lose to Ruben Studdard in the finale. Still, nobody knows why Season 3 had the Grammy-winning artist Fantasia Barrino and broadway actress Diana Degarmo battle it out for the crown because, ultimately, the seventh-place finalist that season, Jennifer Hudson, became the household name out of the mix. Carrie Underwood, now a country icon who is consistently named as one of the top-selling artists of the Idol alumni alongside Kelly Clarkson, won in Season 4.  Season 5 had Chris Daughtry, known for “Home” and “It’s Not Over”, and Katharine McPhee from the short-lived television show Smash! Strangely, they both lost out to a forgettable gray-haired white guy whose name begins with Taylor.

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Jordin Sparks, known for her song “No Air” with Chris Brown, won Season 6. Season 7 was the battle of the Davids between David Cook and David Archuleta. Then in Season 8, some talentless country singer stole Adam Lambert’s title. The next year’s winner, Lee DeWyze, has failed to be relevant since his rendition of “Hallelujah.” Scotty McCreery somewhat revived the show with his win in Season 10, when his first album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, and Phillip Phillips, the winner of Season 11, continued this trend of mild successes with his top ten song “Home.” Season 12 was known for breaking the pattern of winners that were “White Guys with Guitars” (WGWG), but along with it came a winner who is barely recognizable by even Idol fans: Candice Glover. Season 13 just ended with Caleb Johnson as the winner, but if the show’s decline continues, don’t expect to hear any of his music anytime soon.

Producers have tried revitalizing the show through changes in the judging panel. Most people who followed any sort of media a decade ago have at least heard of the iconic trio of Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. But after Kara Dioguardi joined in Season 8 to create a fourth spot, the judging panel has become unbalanced. Abdul quickly left at the end of that season and was replaced by Ellen DeGeneres. While DeGeneres is a great comedian, she knew little about the music industry, so her place at the judging table was short lived. Cowell then left following Season 8, and fans know that he was the true heart of the show. Ever since, there’s been a weird combination of different artists joining the bunch, including Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick Jr. There was even a brief stint where Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj served together a few seasons ago; their bickering was the highlight of the show.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise to hear that some are predicting Season 14 may be the show’s last. There are a couple of standouts this season. My personal favorites Joey Cook and Sarina-Joi Crowe. But, like any person who has followed this show for over half a decade now, I know it’s only a matter of time before Fox axes it. Fox has already truncated the show from two nights per week to one, so now eliminations happen the same night as performances.

My advice is to enjoy the trainwreck performances, see the early eliminations of clearly the better performers, and watch another contestant be hailed as a winner that everyone loves until it’s time to buy their CD’s. Who knows when Ryan Seacrest will command Keiran to “dim the lights” for the last time?