The decision that American Idol will end next year has baffled many – why now, for a show that’s been wildly successful over 14 seasons?

Fox chairperson and CEO Dana Walden called it a “pretty emotional decision”, and revealed that the current and final season will feature appearances from former judges and contestants.

Co-chairperson/CEO Gary Newman said, “It was a collective decision that the right way to send this show out is right in the time period it has been for the last [few] years. It still has a great deal of popularity in viewing, and we’re going to deliver a special season”.

This “special” season will be celebratory in nature, according to the big bosses.

The last run of the show will have the same judges as the last two cycles – Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr – along with host Ryan Seacrest, who’s been there right from the start.

At its peak in 2006, American Idol drew over 36 million viewers for its season finale.

It launched the careers of world famous musicians including Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Hudson – remember these auditions?

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