'American Idol' judges tease show's potential return after farewell season

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'American Idol' Crew Talks Future, Farewells, and Simon Cowell


"American Idol" is in the midst of its highly-publicized fifteenth and final season, dubbed "The Farewell Season," but don't say goodbye to the long-running series just yet.

"This show is like a family member to me," host Ryan Seacrest said Friday at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., to which judge Jennifer Lopez chimed in, "We'll always be there when they call."

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'American Idol' judges tease show's potential return after farewell season
LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 22: Recording artist Taylor Hicks arrives at Tony La Russa's 3rd annual Leaders & Legends Gala benefitting the Animal Rescue Foundation at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino on November 22, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images for Animal Rescue Foundation)
Finalist Clay Aiken, of Raleigh, N.C., performs during the final competition of American Idol Tuesday, May 20, 2003, in Universal City, Calif. Television viewers have already decided which of the 24-year-old Southern singers will claim the title of "American Idol."
Clay Aiken attends the Broadway opening of "After Midnight" on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 in New York.
American Idol's Constantine Maroulis poses for photographers as he arrives for the New York City benefit premiere of "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith" at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York, Thursday, May 12, 2005. Proceeds from the premiere will benefit The Children's Heath Fund, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing medical care to the nation's homeless and disadvantaged children. (AP Photo)
Justin Guarini, 23, of Doylestown, Pa., sings during the final episode of Fox's television competition "American Idol," in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2002. The winner earns a recording contract, and will release a CD single later this month and a full album in November. (AP Photo)
Justin Guarini attends the Broadway opening of "After Midnight" on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo)
American Idol finalist Fantasia Barrino is emotional after finishing her last performance during the finale of the music competition show Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Fantasia Barrino attends the after party for the opening night performance of Broadway's "After Midnight" on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo)
Constantine Maroulis attends the Songwriters Hall of Fame 44th annual induction and awards gala on Thursday, June 13, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo)
American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo performs during the finale of the music competition show, Tuesday, May 25, 2004, at the Kodak Theatre in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Diana DeGarmo arrives at the 2013 AFI FEST premiere of "Lone Survivor" at the TCL Chinese Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Frenchie Davis attends the 45th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on February 23, 2003 in New York City. (Getty Images)
Frenchie Davis attends For the Love of R&B - A Tribute to Whitney Houston at Tru Hollywood on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Finalist Ruben Studdard, from Birmingham, Ala., performs his first song Burt Bacharach's "A House is Not a Home" during the final competition of American Idol Tuesday, May 20, 2003, in Universal City, Calif.
Ruben Studdard, left, and Candice Glover perform onstage at the 2013 Soul Train Awards at the Orleans Arena on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Contestant Sanjaya Malakar attends an American Idol celebration of this seasons' top 12 contestants held at Astra West Thursday March 8, 2007 in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo)
Singer Sanjaya Malakar attends The 2nd Annual ASPCA Rock n' Roll LA Benefit at The Olympic Collection on October 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)
Bo Bice performs "Long, Long Road" during the "American Idol" live finale in Los Angeles on Wednesday, May 25, 2005. (AP Photo)
Bo Bice arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles.
Jordin Sparks perform "I Saw Her Standing There" during the opening act of the season finale of American Idol on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Jordin Sparks arrives at the American Music Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Contestant Blake Lewis attends an American Idol celebration of this seasons' top 12 finalists held at Astra West Thursday March 8, 2007 in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo)
Blake Lewis arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
American Idol Season 7's Top 24 contestant David Archuleta poses at a party in their honor, Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
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Crystal Bowersox poses backstage after the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 26, 2010, in Los Angeles.
Musician Crystal Bowersox at the Mastercard Priceless Premieres Presents Justin Timberlake event, on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at Roseland Ballroom in New York City, New York.
Kimberley Locke, Rickey Smith and Vanessa Olivarez. (Getty Images)
Kimberley Locke arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
Contestant Melinda Doolittle attends an American Idol celebration of this seasons' top 12 finalists held at Astra West Thursday March 8, 2007 in West Hollywood, Calif. (AP Photo)
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Danny Gokey of Milwaukee, Wis., a finalist on "American Idol," mugs for photographers at the American Idol Top 13 Party in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 5, 2009. (AP Photo)
Danny Gokey arrives at the "American Idol" finale at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live on Thursday, May 16, 2013, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)
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Asked by a reporter if Fox made a mistake ending the series after fifteen seasons, judge Keith Urban quipped, "I think the Eagles have had at least three farewell tours."

Lopez continued to tease the show being revived down the road. "I think you never know with a format like this that can work at any time — it's possible. Whether they're making a mistake or not, everyone just goes with the feeling in the moment. If that's what they're if feeling than that's their feeling," she said of Fox, explaining that she does not know all the factors that went into the network's decision to cancel "Idol."

"At the end of the day, you never know," Lopez said. "This is an amazing, amazing journey to watch and people are still tuning in."

Speaking more to the viewership, Seacrest said, "The numbers look great this season, they look really good, and I think we're all pleased that people are watching and some people are coming back to watch ... Does that mean it's the end? I'm not so sure."

Alternatively, "Idol" mentor Scott Borchetta shed some light on Fox's decision. "You have the ability to go out on top," he said. "Why not go out on top?"

Borchetta's notion brings up a good point: if "Idol" goes out on top — and it will, given it's current ratings, which will likely sustain or grow as the nostalgia factor kicks in nearing the season's end — it will make it easier for Fox to bring back the show at a later date.

Last week, viewers flocked to the final-season premiere of "Idol" with its 3.0 rating in adults 18-49 and 11 million total viewers good enough to win its night and come within 5% of its year-ago premiere. Even though the show fell off in its second week last night, it still netted a 2.2 in the demo and nearly 9 million total viewers.

Borchetta also suggested that if "Idol" ever does return, it could be reinvigorated and modernized. "For that opportunity to be reinvented and re-imagined and how you can use the current media to reinvent 'American Idol' ... it's a really exciting opportunity to think about what that show would be."

If the show does come back, would the current trio of judges return? Lopez, who is about to start her Las Vegas residency, would definitely consider. "Hypothetically, if that we're to happen, 'American Idol' has a special place in my heart," she said.

During the TCA panel, Fox's official "American Idol" Twitter account retweeted this reporter's tweet about the show returning, acknowledging the possibility of more "Idol" — and perhaps bringing some weight to the show's potential return.

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