American Idol will kick off a three-night “grand finale” April 5 with the 90-minute “American Dream” retrospective on Fox. Host Ryan Seacrest and original judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson offer “never-before-revealed stories about how Idol came to be,” according to Fox.
The following night, a final vote will take place when the remaining finalists, including Mackenzie Bourg and La’Porsha Renae, battle it out live from Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
On April 7, former Idol winners Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood return to the stage to perform during the two-hour show, before the 15th and final Idol is crowned. Other guests include Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Danny Gokey, Elliott Yamin, Justin Guarini, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler and, yes, season six surprise finalist Sanjaya.
Ratings have been slipping for Idol, which once famously devoured Nielsen points. Last week’s show rated a 1.7 in viewers 18-49, according to Nielsen’s overnights, down 6% from the previous week.
American Idol is produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment. The series was created by Simon Fuller.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.