Simon Fuller: For the last 15 seasons we’ve been very protective of the TV show. The touring and merchandising has always been thoughtful.I think we’ve had great integrity [in] protecting the brand so it wasn’t tarnished. In the entertainment industry, you very rarely get to look back.For Wednesdays, the episode will be dropped to a one-hour airing and will now start at 8 p.m. The Thursday night show event, meanwhile, will retain its two-hour runtime which begins at 8 p.m. The show will also reportedly crown a winner this coming April 7. Last Thursday, "American Idol" premiered its Farewell Season with a two-night Season XV special.The opening segment saw a lot of hopefuls from Little Rock and San Francisco getting handed with Golden Tickets. As detailed by the website, the 2016 edition of the singing contest kicks off with more than a handful of surprisingly incredible performances from talents across all walks of life.Not overt, more like — Well, hang on, this is bypassing the development process, the A&R process, the talent scout process, the producing and it can’t have value because you can’t do that.
There will be 12 solos tonight and it is the solos that are going to be important.For me the most exciting thing is we can really now dive deep with all the new technology that’s coming. [Along with] my partners at Fremantle, I think the group [working on the] show has been pretty much the same since day one. There was a time when what a teenager liked would be polar opposite to what their parents would like. Looking back on the 15 years, what are your personal highlights? I think Chris Daughtry’s journey was a significant one.I’m pleased that the final show will still have the warmth and the excitement as the first show 15 seasons ago. Observing the studio audiences over the years, it’s clear that has appealed to all ages and that it's been one of the rare series entire families watch together. The first season finale with Kelly [Clarkson] and Justin [Guarini], I thought that was a very special moment. When you saw her, even in her innocent, raw state, you knew she had the potential to be a big star. People thought he had a good chance of winning and he got knocked out early, but his talent saw him through. On tonight’s episode, Showcases continue with the remaining 12 contestants of the Top 24 performing.On the last episode, favorite former IDOLS returned to mentor and sing with the contestants.And he went on to sell millions of records and so in the most unlikely way, he achieved all his dreams too. Whether that’s all the people employed, the hotels that have been booked, the hundreds of thousands of concert tickets sold, all that music that’s been sold, all the merchandise, all those people that are fueling other shows, Broadway and the movies that our stars have been in. We had that wonderful close relationship with i Tunes for many years.