American Idol is going back to where it all began.
The Fox singing competition announced a change of venue for its 14th season finale, moving from downtown Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre to the Dolby, previously the Kodak Theatre until it changed names in 2012.
The 3,332-seat indoor theater, located on Hollywood Boulevard, is hallowed ground in Idol history. It is on that very stage that the show crowned Kelly Clarkson the winner in 2002. It hosted all the show’s finales up until season 7, with the exception of season two in 2003, which had its finale held at the now-defunct Gibson Amphitheatre.
From the season 7 finale on- beginning with the David Cook/David Archuleta finale through the season eight Kris Allen/Adam Lambert finale until now — the show switched to the much larger Nokia, which accommodates 7,100 people.
Why the switch? “It’s iconic and we’ve been there before,” executive producer Per Blankens told Billboard on Wednesday night, referring to taping Hollywood Week there last year.
During Idol’s Wednesday broadcast, in-house Scott Borchetta ushered each of the remaining singers into the empty theater and to the stage “to get the feeling,” Blankens explained. “It’s only three weeks away. … We’re close to the finish line.”
The finale will air on May 12 and 13.