'American Idol' Cancellation: Scotty McCreery, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Hicks & More Alumni React
American Idol, the defining reality TV singing competition of the 21st century, will end after its next and 15th season, according to Fox.
Following the sad but not shocking announcement, Billboard reached out to veterans of the show's groundbreaking run for their thoughts on what is truly the end of an era. Here's what everyone -- from breakthrough artists like Adam Lambert to self-described "z-list" celebrities like Jon Peter Lewis -- had to say:
"It all feels so bittersweet. I truly believe people will miss this monumental show much more than they think. I hope everybody recognizes what a game changer and dream-maker American Idol has been for well over a decade now. It is the originator. Sure, there are other shows quite similar, but we all know where they sprouted from. I feel honored to be a part of the Idol family, which has united families around the globe. I have taken my experience, the amazing platform given and continued to grow. I'm proud of these roots. After the show and all the touring, I believed, if I could get through Idol, I could accomplish anything. Still do. A series like this can only become one thing -- legendary."
-- Haley Reinhart, season 10
"American Idol changed my life. It was a great way for me to pursue my dreams of being a country music singer and introduce myself to the nation. I am so thankful to the show, the producers, the judges, and the audience for everything they did for me. American Idol has been a dominant force in our pop culture for almost a decade and a half, but all good things must come to an end. I wish everyone involved with the show my best and know they will all continue to do great things.”
-- Scotty McCreery, season 10 winner
"Idol was groundbreaking television. I am very fortunate to have won the show at the time. Idol changed my life and I am thankful. Looking forward to an entertaining final season."
-- Taylor Hicks, season 5 winner
"I will always be thankful and grateful for not only the opportunities while being on the show, but the people and opportunities since the show. Being a part of a legendary show such as Idol is not only an honor, but an experience that is unlike any other. Being one of what will be only 15 people to have won the show is a pretty cool thing, but even more so, to know I was a part of all those who came on the show from the auditions to all the contestants -- for all the talent that has come and gone and to know I was even a part of it is truly an honor. From the camera and stage crew, to most importantly the fans who are really the engine behind the machine that is American Idol, it was truly an amazing thing. Bringing the audience so many different stories, so many different styles of music, personalities and performances is what made the show what it is -- an incredible platform for artists to get their names out there in an industry that can be unforgiving yet so rewarding at the same time. And to all my fans, and fans of the show, thanks for the support not only for me, but for all who seek a chance to have their voices heard, their songs sung and their stories told. You the fans are what made American Idol special. Thanks for the opportunity and the memories, American Idol. Well done."
-- Lee DeWyze, season 9 winner
"They had a great run. And thank you, Idol, because I wouldn’t be here without you."
-- Adam Lambert, season 8 runner-up
"Not many people can say they auditioned for American Idol three times and came back and won. So this show holds a big piece of my heart. I had the chance to meet so many amazing people. The platform is amazing. It’s a legendary show that was the number one show for so long and it’s going to be hard to see it go."
-- Candice Glover, season 12 winner
"It’s a real moment for our culture. Idol is one of the biggest juggernauts and has been such an amazing platform to showcase unknown talent to the public. It's had an amazing run. Not a lot of shows of that nature have produced actual stars. I’m just really honored and blessed to be a part of that legacy -- it’s changed my life. It’s really a dream come true for singers in general and will always be the O.G."
-- Caleb Johnson, season 13 winner
"Idol provided many new performers with an opportunity to be heard. Like Bandstand, it will hold a pop culture nostalgia for America long after the studio is dark. I couldn't be more proud to have been part of that."
-- Justin Guarini, season 1 runner-up
"Everyone knows that all good things must come to an end. Our only true constant is change. American Idol has been a cultural phenomenon that made its stamp on the entertainment industry from the stars it helped produce to the television history it has created. I am honored to be in the Idol family and have it also be a part of my professional resume."
-- Diana DeGarmo, season 3 runner-up
“I am so thankful for my American Idol experience and how the show opened the door for me to pursue my dream of being a country music artist. It’s hard to believe that next year at this time we will be watching the ultimate finale. I am sure the final season will be a very exciting and memorable one.”
-- Kellie Pickler, season 5
“American Idol has been a huge part of music history, of television history, of my history. Before I could even audition for the show, in my childhood I dreamed of doing something like this. This show is going to be missed. I’m just glad I got in before it’s gone because it’s probably going to be tougher to stand out next season. It will be the last opportunity. I encourage everybody to take advantage of this. There’s never been a singing competition that has produced so many careers.”
-- Rayvon Owen, season 14
"I will be sad to see American Idol go. It's meant the world to me on so many different levels. It still has a great fan base, and still is a great show for the whole family. It's a show about dreams and it is still a productive show. Phillip Phillips is all over the radio. It's still a great vehicle for young talent. It will go down as one of the biggest shows in television history and being a part of it is so cool. All good things come to an end, for sure, and I think the program looks great. I think the production is great, but again when something is so successful for so long and those first nine seasons were dominating, eventually there are going to be other spin-offs and shows like The Voice, and the internet and the interest is going to wane. But you can't name anyone off those other shows. American Idol is still a great brand. Everything is cyclical. There have always been talent shows from the beginning of time. It will go away and when I am old and grey, it will come back and be new again.
"I think Jax is really cool. I have caught a bit of that. I have tuned in this season. My friend Megan Michaels got bumped up to executive producer, my buddy Charles got bumped up to executive producer, Patrick is there, some of the old faces are back. They are all buddies of mine and we are all peers and they are happy for my success and they are kicking it. The show looks great, and it just is what it is. When something is on top for so long we forget. It's like a long running Broadway show. Mama Mia! Rock of Ages. We get so accustomed to seeing the brand open and it's out there that we sort of lose the stakes of it and the energy. There is no stakes anymore because people are finding stars on the Internet. But I think it's been tremendous and it will live on and that is what is really cool about it. Look at the body of work and the people that its put out there. There are dozens of us that have careers and fans and fond memories of it and some people that are stratospheric stars. It did what it was supposed to. It's crazy. I hope they bring Simon Cowell, I hope they bring Randy Jackson and Paul Abdul back to see it off. I hope we all get to go back to be honest."
-- Constantine Maroulis, season 4
"American Idol changed the face of television and music forever! As a fan of the show, I'm definitely sad. As a former contestant, I'm forever grateful. And as an optimist, I can't wait to see what this last season will hold!"
-- Melinda Doolittle, season 5
“It started a whole new industry and was a whole new way to get noticed. It gave a lot more people opportunities, including me. That was huge for me, to go from singing on the street to being in front of millions of people. That’s something I’ll never forget.”
-- Daniel Seavey, season 14
“It’s sad that a lot of people aren’t going to get the opportunity that I had. It’s such an amazing place to make friends and learn so much. I couldn’t have imagined learning as much as I did in such a short time.”
-- Maddie Walker, season 14
“All great things must come to an end. They should all be very proud. I wish endless happiness and success to every single person who was ever involved.”
-- Allison Iraheta, season 8
“It’s heartbreaking that one of the greatest music shows is coming to an end but at the same time you know that everything good must come to an end.”
-- Tyanna Jones, season 14
“Anybody who has been holding out on auditioning for American Idol, you better get your behinds out there to audition! Because it’s the last season. This show is too good of a vessel and has created many superstars. Even if there are shows that have higher ratings, who’s brought the most talent to the market? American Idol. It’s crazy when you look at the stats and you look at the people who have been a part of the show who haven’t even won and you see what American Idol has done for their careers.”
-- Qaasim Middleton, season 14
“The show has impacted me so much, positively. It’s changed my life. I’m excited for the next batch of kids who are going to experience the same thing that I did.”
-- Adanna Duru, season 14
“Fifteen seasons is such a long time. Who do you think you are, The Sopranos? It’s the best vocal competition that exists. We have Grammys, we have everything. I think we’ve really proved ourselves. Idol takes care of their people. We’re family. I’ve never felt more taken care of in my life when it comes to a competition like this. I’m not contestant number 39072, I am Joey Cook. They really care about us here. For us to be our best, we have to feel our best. But every good thing comes to an end. I’m happy I got to be on Idol before it’s over.”
-- Joey Cook, season 14
"Honestly, it broke my heart a little to hear that American Idol announced their last season!! What will me and my daughters do on Wednesday nights now!? I am SO grateful to have become a part of the Idol family and that the show provided me with some of the most memorable moments in my life, opened so many doors and taught me so many lessons. We will miss you Idol. I'm sure you will go out with a bang! #LegendaryStyle"
-- Naima Adedapo, season 10
"It has been a good long run and I am so proud to have my name attached to this show...this machine! Idol gave hope to so many artists that just needed a chance and worked as a stepping stone for so many of us. I could never put into words the gratitude I feel for being an Idol kid."
-- Kimberly Caldwell, season 2
"American Idol changed both music and television forever. When I was on Idol, there was no other show like it and I am not sure there ever will be. This show will forever be a part of television and music history and I am proud to have been a part of it."
-- Kimberley Locke, season 2
“It’s going to be something epic. It’s going to be the end of a great empire but I feel like it’s going to be the beginning of something more. I have a gut feeling that something else is going to spawn from it. I’m grateful to have been part of it and I know next season is going to be phenomenal.”
-- Quentin Alexander, season 14
"For 15 years Idol has made dreams come true. For 15 years Idol has been turning singers into superstars. It gave my fellow alumni and I the chance of a lifetime and the chance to change our lives. At the same time they've crushed dreams and exploited people's weaknesses in front of millions. Fifteen years is an amazing run for anything, especially a TV show. Ya take the good, ya take the bad, ya take em both. And THIS…is American Idol! Thanks for the chance and thanks for the memories. RIP Idol."
-- James Durbin, season 10
"It's the end of an era. Idol changed the face of television and I'm so honored to have been a part of it. There will never be another American Idol. I'm sad to see it go- but I'm grateful for the opportunities and friendships forged along the way. All the former idols are a part of this amazing, unique family, and I treasure the bond we share. I know we're all going to miss the show."
-- Didi Benami, season 9
"American Idol has been in my life since I was 13 years old, and it was my absolute favorite show. It creates the impossible dream that is super-stardom and having a career in the music industry. American Idol makes it possible. I met the most incredible people. I have had so many opportunities from this show and I can't believe that it is ending. I am sad, and I know all good things come to an end, but I am incredibly grateful that I could be part of this beautiful monstrous family that is American Idol."
-- Pia Toscano, season 10
"Wow! What an incredible run American Idol has had. The show was the first of its kind, breaking TV records and bringing households together every week to vote for someone who was like an extended member of their family. Thanks to AI and the team for adding my gift to living rooms across the world. The light might be going out for the show, but the stars you've created, no matter what place they landed, certainly will never be the same. Huge thanks to Ryan, Simon, Paula, Randy, Simon Lythgoe and Simon Fuller for setting the bar.
Extended love to [Debra] Byrd & Michael O [Orland] for your dedication to us as individual people, keeping up with the daily lives of each seasons' contestants, showing us how much you cared past the show. And lastly, much love and success to every contestant now and forever more. We are all family for life!
-- Trenyce, season 2
"The legacy of American Idol will continue to speak for itself many years from now. The tagline 'The search for a superstar' was realized season one, and it has produced stars ever since. I am forever thankful for the amazing platform that launched me into my childhood dream come true."
-- Mandisa, season 5
"I'm in a bit of disbelief. In a way, I could see it coming, with so much competition nipping at its heels. American Idol is the pioneer in the field of reality TV singing competitions, and it gave a lot of extremely talented artists the time to shine and make a name for themselves. Idol churned out stars like no other singing show, and its rate of successful cast members is still unparalleled and probably will be for a long time. I was very blessed to have my time on Idol and I'll cherish the memories for the rest of my life. I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the AI family."
-- Erika Van Pelt, season 11
"The few months I spent on Idol were some of the most profound and pivotal moments of my life. I certainly had no idea what I was getting into at the time and maybe would have done some things differently in retrospect, but I suppose there are far worse places to start. Idol started me down a career path that has brought me some incredible experiences and immense joy. Despite not winning the competition, many of my boyhood dreams have sprung out of it. I've performed on television to millions of viewers, rocked out with thousands of screaming fans, written songs, released records and become a z-list celebrity (really, the best kind of celebrity. Some of the perks, none of the hassle). Fleer even made me into a trading card and Monopoly gave me piece on their board... It was an interesting ride."
-- Jon Peter Lewis, season 3
"I think Idol paved the way for so many. I am forever grateful for the opportunities it provided for me and the experiences I've had because of it. I'm honored to be part of an amazing legacy and can't wait to see what the final season has in store."
-- Colton Dixon, season 11
"I can't believe American Idol will be coming to an end next year. Though I knew it was going to happen eventually, I didn't think it was going to be next season. The fact that Idol now comes to an end really saddens me. But I will focus on celebrating everything that Idol has done for pop culture for the last 15 years. Idol has truly changed my life and career as it did for so many others. Idol has transformed how talent is being discovered, it transformed television! I will forever be grateful for everything that Idol and my Idol family have done for me. This show has had an iconic run and has produced superstars! American Idol will forever live on as one of a kind."
-- Anthony Fedorov, season 4
"American Idol has been a huge part of my life. The experience single-handedly changed my life and I am eternally grateful for everyone who has worked to make my experience memorable. I'm sad the show is ending, but happy that I got to be a part of something so phenomenal."
-- Sarina-Joi Crowe, season 14
"To all my friends in production, congratulations on an amazing 15 years! You have all changed television forever. I can't wait to see what you all create next."
-- Ace Young, season 5
"Every single door that has opened for me in this business, starting with an actual career, is attributed to my experience on season 5! Idol has afforded me so many opportunities, which have taken me all over the world since my tenure on the show, to places I've only dreamed of! I've met some lifelong friends and had lasting relationships with countless people associated with the show over the years. Although I am sad it's coming to an end, I am in debt with gratitude for having been a part of such an incredible run in American television history!"
-- Elliott Yamin, season 5
"So honored to have been a part of this monumental moment in history! From delivering the mail in a small town in Florida to now traveling the world and pursuing my dreams, I owe it all to American Idol. Thank you so much for giving me such a great platform and a true chance at a career in the music industry. Can't wait to see what the last season of Idol has in store. I really hope I get to come back and see all of my Idol friends once again!"
-- Vonzell Solomon, season 4
"Ever since I was a little girl, I always wanted to sing and I was going to do whatever it took to be able to sing for the rest of my life. American Idol really was the launching pad. I feel so blessed to have the fans that I have through that show. Those fans are the reason I was able to release my EP (Weathered) independently and the reason why I still get to sing and perform shows today. It was because of the launching pad that I had on Idol and I felt so blessed to be a part of something that was such an incredible part of television history. It will definitely go down in history as the show that changed TV. Next year, there will be another group of kids -- another top 10 -- who will be able to experience that. I was third, and next year there will be someone else in third place. I just hope that all the people who have been on Idol continue their music career to the best of their ability. That is what I am trying to do every day, and will always continue to do. I learned so much -- the good and the bad. It made me a better artist today, and I am able to release music today that I am so proud of. I will never ever forget those times of discovering myself on national television. I will never forget those moments of being able to sing my original song on national TV. I will never forget those moments ever. "
-- Angie Miller, season 12
"I feel that American Idol had a great run and was regarded as one of the best reality TV shows of it's time. Also, Ryan Seacrest held it down strong, while maintaining a fun and professional attitude. I believe it is definitely time for the show to end and maybe even a few years sooner would have been better, but I respect the producers for not giving up and trying new changes to keep people interested and getting talented people exposure."
-- Elise Testone, season 11
"Idol gave me the opportunity to share my story and voice with the world. They gave me a voice when I didn't have one and they reminded me I was worthy enough to do anything if I just set my mind to it. And as cliche as it sounds, dreams do come true if you just believe and have enough courage to go after them."
-- Lazaro Arbus, season 12
"I’m sad to hear that American Idol will be coming to an end next year. I have amazing memories from my time on the show, which has had such a major impact on my life. If it wasn’t for American Idol, I most likely wouldn't have been able to pursue my passion for music and realize my dream of becoming a singer. It has given me and so many other artists a life-changing opportunity and a platform to be discovered in a way that didn't exist before the show. To have had such massive exposure and to have been able to launch my career on the biggest television stage in the world is unbelievable. It’s something I’m grateful for every day.
"American Idol has inspired millions of people around the world and embodies the spirit of the American dream. It has paved the way for the countless reality TV singing competition shows that have followed. But for me, it isn't just the star talent American Idol has discovered that made it so successful. The show has also brought the nation closer together, with families at home watching it every week, cheering on their favorite Idol. It galvanizes entire regions of people who rally behind their hometown contestant, just as mine did for me, especially in Hawaii and the Filipino community across the country. Having been broadcast in over 100 countries, the impact of American Idol worldwide is immeasurable.
"I couldn't be more proud to have been a finalist on American Idol and feel privileged to be part of its history. I truly appreciate everything that has happened in my career since the show and it's all thanks to the opportunity I was given. There will always be a special place in my heart for American Idol and the incredible experiences I had on the show. Others will try, but in my opinion, there will never be another TV show quite like American Idol."
-- Jasmine Trias, season 3
"Idol will be remembered as one of the biggest culture-shaping television shows of our history. I'm honored to be a part of that history and to know that my music has inspired so many people."
-- Scott MacIntyre, season 8
-- Reporting by Michele Angermiller, Fred Bronson & Shirley Halperin