American Idol's Christian Stars Bid Farewell as Show Enters Final Season

Judge Jennifer Lopez waves during the American Idol XIV 2015 Finale at Dolby theatre in Hollywood, California, May 13, 2015.
Judge Jennifer Lopez waves during the American Idol XIV 2015 Finale at Dolby theatre in Hollywood, California, May 13, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

"American Idol" has launched the careers of some of the nation's favorite Christian singers, including Mandisa, Colton Dixon and Danny Gokey. As the show enters into its final season in 2016, many artists are sharing their reflections about the experience.

The final season of "American Idol" is scheduled to premiere on Jan. 6 and the Fox network has announced that its final season will include judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. Television and radio personality Ryan Seacrest, the competition's longtime host, will also return for the show's 15th season.

News of the series coming to an end was announced in May 2015 and since that time the show's successful alumni have publicly reacted to its cancellation. According to The New York Times, at the height of its popularity, "Idol" drew over 30 million viewers. The highest season on record being season 5, which featured gospel and contemporary Christian recording artist Mandisa.

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When the Dove Award-winning singer heard about the cancellation, she took to Facebook with a throwback photo of herself and fellow season 5 contestants posing with then President George W. Bush.

Performer Danny Gokey poses at the party for the 12 finalists of the television show 'American Idol' in Los Angeles, California, March 5, 2009.
Performer Danny Gokey poses at the party for the 12 finalists of the television show "American Idol" in Los Angeles, California, March 5, 2009. | (Photo: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni)

The photo's caption reads: "Earlier this week I got the news that next season of 'American Idol' will be its last. ... I know it was time, but I'm sad to see it go, and nothing but thankful for the amazing platform it gave me! Wouldn't it be great if they brought back all of the finalists from the 15 seasons back for the grand finale next year? I'll let you know if I get a call!"

Fellow "Idol" contestant Colton Dixon, from season 11, told Billboard that the popular show paved the way for so many. "I am forever grateful for the opportunities it provided for me and the experiences I've had because of it. I'm honored to be part of an amazing legacy and can't wait to see what the final season has in store."

In a more candid interview with BREATHEcast last year, Dixon maintained that he is "sad" yet "proud of them for making the decision. I think they realized, quit while they're ahead. There's still 'American Idol.'"

Season 8 contestant Danny Gokey hosted an "Idol" finale celebration on Canada's popular TV show "100 Huntley Street" in 2015, and upon hearing the news of the Fox network cancellation decision, the former finalist had nothing but kind things to say. "A.I. changed so many lives, but for me it gave me the ability to dream and hope through one of my darkest moments. I salute you ‪@AmericanIdol," he tweeted.

Newcomer, Save the City Records artist Jeremy Rosado also got his start on "American Idol" and is now using his gifts in Christian music as well. The season 11 competitor just released his debut album Heartbeat and took to Facebook on New Year's Eve to share his thoughts as the final season of "Idol" approaches.

"I can't believe the show that changed my life is coming to an end. I remember being 10 years old, watching @americanidol and telling my parents one day I would be on the show. It's been 3 and 1/2 years since I made the top 13 and I'm still blown away at how God allowed my EXACT DREAM to come true and how being on this show still opens tremendous doors for me to continue pursuing my music career everyday! Thank you Jesus and thank you ‪#‎Idol‬ I love you!" he wrote.

Created by Simon Fuller, "Idol" held the No. 1 spot for television shows on broadcast television. The success of the series can arguably be described as unparalleled. According to The New York Times, the series was said to be "the most impactful show in the history of television" by a rival TV executive.

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