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Farewell American Idol

written by Lea Michelle Cash/Celebrity Showcase  Published 04/28/2016

      I remember as if yesterday fifteen years ago when I received a press release about this new reality television show named AmericanIdol.  Curious as to what the show was about off I went to Hollywood.  It was summer, the year 2002.  The show was being taped at the Kodak Theatre located on Hollywood Blvd.   It was Season 1, and there was a handful of media present and the young Idols with glitter and stars in their eyes, joyfully mingled with us. 

     There was little fanfare for the inaugural season, but to me the show was a hit.  I absolutely loved it.  My heart belonged to Idol contestant Tamyra Gray, a frontrunner throughout the first season.   Evidently, she was voted off and that broke my heart.  In time I found joy in following Idol’s top two vocalists Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson.  Clarkson took home the prize. I was there to congratulate the first American Idol.  

     Had my heart broken again in Season 3, when Jennifer Hudson was eliminated.  I never stopped being a fan.  Therefore, I was there to congratulate, the second, third, fourth and so on season winners of American Idol.  Within fifteen years, I never missed a season.  As America tuned in to watch opinionated judges Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell, by 2006 reaching over 37.4 million weekly viewers, remaining TV’s No 1 show through 2010 and 2011, the show became a phenomenal sensation. 

     For the most part, I feel it safe to say, we all went Idol crazy.  I know I did.  There was Ruben and Jordin, Fantasia, Scotty, Jessica, Katharine, Clay, Joshua, Bo, Danny, Taylor, Kellie, Sanjaya, Adam, Candice, Carrie and David—so very many insurmountable talented vocalists paraded before us.   Therefore, at this year’s Season 15 finale, held at the Dolby Theatre, (formerly known as The Kodak Theatre), recently on Thursday, April 7, I was emotional back stage in the media room.   And, I was not alone.  It was difficult for many to say farewell. 

     To my surprise, however, once again like the beginning, there was a handful of media.  Unlike previous years, with long red carpets, hundreds of fans lined up shouting their Idol’s names at the Nokia Theatre downtown Los Angeles.  This was a low budget, farewell.  The atmosphere though celebratory, held a quiet sadness and I witnessed an occasional tear.  

      As the Idols took centered stage, dancing and singing their songs, reflecting their stories as a tribute to the past 15 seasons, it was difficult to watch the curtain coming down on the iconic singing competition.   It was bitter sweet watching a no-name host who rose to stardom, Ryan Seacrest get choked up at saying his final words, “The real reason our lives have changed forever is you at home. We know that. We appreciate that. And one more time, this is so tough, we say to you from Hollywood, good night America… for now,” and then the show was closed—the last chapter, the end of an era.  I will forever miss Idol.

     For Season 15, the top two competing for the title were Trent Harmon and La’Porsha Renae.   Trent Harmon from Amory, Mississippi, wins American Idol: The Finale Season.  I was there to congratulate the last. 

    Here is a look back at some of my Idol photos over the years.   Farewell American Idol