'American Idol:' Adam Lambert, Taylor Hicks & More Alumni Lament Cancellation

Neal Preston

" 'American Idol' changed the face of television and music forever!" said Melinda Doolittle.

American Idol, the defining reality TV singing competition of the 21st century, will end after its next and 15th season, according to Fox.

Following the sad but not shocking announcement, Billboard reached out to veterans of the show's groundbreaking run for their thoughts on what is truly the end of an era. Here's what they had to say:

"Idol was groundbreaking television. I am very fortunate to have won the show at the time. Idol changed my life and I am thankful. Looking forward to an entertaining final season." — Taylor Hicks, season 5 winner

"They had a great run. And thank you, Idol, because I wouldn’t be here without you." — Adam Lambert, season 8

"I will be sad to see American Idol go. It's meant the world to me on so many different levels. It still has a great fan base, and still is a great show for the whole family. It's a show about dreams and it is still a productive show. Phillip Phillips is all over the radio. It's still a great vehicle for young talent. It will go down as one of the biggest shows in television history and being a part of it is so cool. All good things come to an end, for sure, and I think the program looks great. I think the production is great, but again when something is so successful for so long and those first nine seasons were dominating, eventually there are going to be other spin-offs and shows like The Voice, and the internet and the interest is going to wane. But you can't name anyone off those other shows. American Idol is still a great brand. Everything is cyclical. There have always been talent shows from the beginning of time. It will go away and when I am old and grey, it will come back and be new again.

"I think Jax is really cool. I have caught a bit of that. I have tuned in this season. My friend Megan Michaels got bumped up to producer, my buddy Charles got bumped up to executive producer, Patrick is there, some of the old faces are back. They are all buddies of mine and we are all peers and they are happy for my success and they are kicking it. The show looks great, and it just is what it is. When something is on top for so long we forget. It's like a long running Broadway show. Mama Mia! Rock of Ages. We get so accustomed to seeing the brand open and it's out there that we sort of lose the stakes of it and the energy. There is no stakes anymore because people are finding stars on the Internet. But I think it's been tremendous and it will live on and that is what is really cool about it. Look at the body of work and the people that its put out there. There are dozens of us that have careers and fans and fond memories of it and some people that are stratospheric stars. It did what it was supposed to. It's crazy. I hope they bring Simon Cowell, I hope they bring Randy Jackson and Paul Abdul back to see it off. I hope we all get to go back to be honest." — Constantine Maroulis, season 4

"American Idol changed the face of television and music forever! As a fan of the show, I'm definitely sad. As a former contestant, I'm forever grateful. And as an optimist, I can't wait to see what this last season will hold!" — Melinda Doolittle, season 5

"It has been a good, long run and I am so proud to have my name attached to this show ... this machine! Idol gave hope to so many artists that just needed a chance and worked as a stepping stone for so many of us. I could never put into words the gratitude I feel for being an Idol kid." — Kimberly Caldwell, season 2

"It's the end of an era. Idol changed the face of television and I'm so honored to have been a part of it. There will never be another American Idol. I'm sad to see it go- but I'm grateful for the opportunities and friendships forged along the way. All the former idols are a part of this amazing, unique family, and I treasure the bond we share. I know we're all going to miss the show." — Didi Benami, season 9

"The few months I spent on Idol were some of the most profound and pivotal moments of my life. I certainly had no idea what I was getting into at the time and maybe would have done some things differently in retrospect, but I suppose there are far worse places to start. Idol started me down a career path that has brought me some incredible experiences and immense joy. Despite not winning the competition, many of my boyhood dreams have sprung out of it. I've performed on television to millions of viewers, rocked out with thousands of screaming fans, written songs, released records and become a z-list celebrity (really, the best kind of celebrity. Some of the perks, none of the hassle). Fleer even made me into a trading card and Monopoly gave me piece on their board... It was an interesting ride." — Jon Peter Lewis, season 3

Reporting by Michele Angermiller, Fred Bronson & Shirley Halperin

This article first appeared on Billboard.com

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