After more than 13 years, American Idol is finally on its way out the door with a new and final set of auditions, which will air on Wednesday, January 6 in two parts. This set of auditions for the 15th season aren’t much different than previous years of terrible singing, diamonds in the rough, and nostalgic flashbacks to some of American Idol’s greats.
The same judges will return from the previous seasons, namely Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. The first installment of the episode will show the auditions in Atlanta and Denver on Wednesday and then move onto San Francisco and Little Rock on Thursday.
One thing to look forward to with this set of auditions is a celebrity cameo from Kanye West. While the auditions were being taped back in October, West showed up to the San Francisco American Idol auditions to perform the song “Gold Digger.”
“We were in San Francisco, and [a producer] said, ‘We’ve got a contestant that’s just going to jump into the line,’ Ryan Seacrest, the longtime host of the show, told Rolling Stone. “And up walked Kim and Kanye—Kim pregnant and Kanye enthusiastic and ready to go in there. He walks in there and does a lyric about J.Lo from one of his songs.”
His audition followed the same line as everyone else’s, where he introduced himself and then talked about his dreams, telling a sob story about how hard it was to get where he wanted to be.
“My name is Kanye, I’m from the south side of Chicago,” he began. “I’m originally a producer. I always wanted to rap and no one really believed in me, so I wanted to try some things out, ya know?”
The clever bit showed the judges trying to keep a straight face as he rapped the line from “Gold Digger” with Jennifer Lopez’s name in it. Kim Kardashian is also seen backstage with Ryan Seacrest talking about how much she really believes in her husband’s talent. The clip was leaked early as a sneak peak into the final season auditions.
It’s likely that the producers felt this kind of celebrity cameo was much-needed to give their final season a running start. When the show first aired in June of 2002, it was one of the hottest primetime television shows on the air. This lasted for several seasons as we saw Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, and Adam Lambert rise from the unknown. However, the show eventually began losing steam and fast, particularly after founding judge Simon Cowell announced his departure from the show.
From then on, the ratings dropped dramatically and other talent shows, like NBC’s The Voice, America’s Got Talent, and The X Factor, took its place. Now, there are more hidden-talent shows airing all over the world than you can count, but it’s arguable that American Idol was the pioneer that made these shows big.
There’s no telling exactly what’s in store for this next show, but fans who have stuck through all 15 seasons are praying that it’s a good one. What the show really needs is another Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood to keep their name fresh in everyone’s memories and to go down in television history with good standing.
The first installment of the American Idol auditions will air at 7 p.m. central time on Wednesday, January 6, 2016.
[Image via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]