Fox is calling this the farewell season of “American Idol,” but the show’s stars sound unconvinced.
“I think the Eagles had at least three farewell tours,” judge Keith Urban told a TV critics’ meeting.
Given the show’s record of success and heritage, “does that mean this is the end?” longtime host Ryan Seacrest said. “I’m not so sure.”
Fellow judge Jennifer Lopez said a return is possible, adding later, “I’ll always be there when they call.”
Executive producer Trish Kinane declined to address why Fox decided to end “Idol” after 15 seasons. But the show’s ratings have steadily eroded, with the 30 million-plus viewers it attracted at its 2006 peak a distant memory — hence Fox’s announcement last May that this season would be its swan song.
“American Idol,” which averaged about 11 million viewers last season, has rebounded a bit and is on track to match last season’s viewership. Fans appear inclined to take a last look at the show that produced stars including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.
Whatever the show’s future, the network is making the most of the season by bringing in former winners and contestants including Ruben Studdard, David Cook and Jordin Sparks, and with pop stars promised for the typically grand finale.
Clarkson, the show’s inaugural winner, isn’t letting her pregnancy keep her from taking part, Kinane said: She will be a guest judge on Feb. 25.