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American Idol Will Come to a Close After Season 15

A host of Broadway stars like Justin Guarini, Constantine Maroulis, Fantasia Barrino, and more got their big breaks on the hit singing competition.

American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez, and Harry Connick Jr. will launch the series' 15th and final season in January 2016.
(© Fox Broadcasting Co.)

American Idol, the envy of all other television singing competitions for over a decade, will come to a close after its 15th season, which will premiere January 2016.

Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., and Keith Urban will return to Fox as the show's Season 15 judges, along with host Ryan Seacrest.

"It's the right time to bring this run to a close," said Fox TV Group chairman-CEO Gary Newman. "We really wanted to do it in a way that felt special and celebratory...and send it off in a way that is as significant as the run it's had on our network."

The talent search will proceed as usual throughout the season, which will also serve as a "celebratory event," honoring the past 14 seasons of contestants, winners, and fans.

Created by Simon Fuller, American Idol debuted on Fox in 2002 with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson as its three original judges and Seacrest (who has remained with the show ever since) as its original host.

The show launched the careers of several vocalists who went on to Broadway careers including Tony nominee Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages); first-season runner-up Justin Guarini (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Wicked); Frenchie Davis (Rent); Diana DeGarmo (Hairspray, Hair) and her fellow Idol alum Ace Young (Grease, Hair); and Fantasia Barrino (The Color Purple, After Midnight). Oscar winner and third season finalist Jennifer Hudson will make her Broadway debut this fall in the revival of The Color Purple.