The end of American Idol represents the end of an era. Since it’s premiere in 2002, the show has done one thing and one thing only: attempt to search the country for the next great pop star. Despite its legacy, the show has fallen on hard times, and as such the powers that be don’t seem to keen on the idea of making American Idol’s final season quite as long as previous outings.

Trish Kinane, FremantleMedia North America president of entertainment programming, recently explained the rationale behind the abbreviated final season of American Idol:
The storytelling works better in [fewer] weeks. Idol was so successful [that the season] got too extended too much. There are only so many hours that ­viewers will devote to watching these shows, so if it is shorter this year, it will be a good thing.

If we’re being honest, Kinane's comments to THR genuinely sound like she’s mincing words. If you look back over the last few years the decline of American Idol has become increasingly apparent. Last season’s finale saw abysmal ratings (aka ratings that would be OK for most programs but showed a massive erosion in the Idol audience), continuing the trend of declining viewership the show has been experiencing for quite some time. Advertising space on the show continues to become cheaper and cheaper, dropping from overall revenue from $628 million in 2013 to $427 million in 2014. In other words, the show's profitability's been a bit pitchy, dawg.

Beyond ratings and money, some of the bigger names associated with the program have spoken out against it. Former hosts Mariah Carey and Ellen DeGeneres both made statements recently explaining that they did not enjoy their time on the show; Carey in particular likened the experience to working in “hell.”

The contestants haven’t fared much better. While the show has most certainly produced hit artists like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, many of the show’s more recent victors could be considered flashes in the pan who have gone on to do very little after winning. That's kind of a letdown when the entire premise of the show is to catapult an ordinary American to stardom, but it hasn’t stopped the series from promoting the finale around the successes it has produced, check out the promo below to see for yourself:



In the end, having a shorter season may actually work in American Idol’s favor. The show’s popularity with audiences may be lowering, but a shorter episode count for the final season may spur more people to tune in. American Idol will begin its final season in a two-night event on January 6th and 7th. While we wait, here's what else is coming up at midseason.

Photo courtesy of Fox.
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