TODAY'S QUESTION: How long will 'American Idol' stay on the air?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010 | 9:14 a.m. CDT

American Idol” is one of the most popular TV shows in history, but almost every hit show runs its course.

Despite drawing 19.4 million viewers for its April 27 episode, 17 percent less people watched this year compared to the same week last year. Also, the show is losing its most controversial and iconic judge, Simon Cowell, after this season.

The show has frequently been No. 1 in prime time since 2005. Even as shows with similar premises have popped up — “Dancing with the Stars” and “America’s Got Talent” — “Idol” has remained at the top more often than not.

The show starts each season by auditioning tens of thousands of contestants for their vocal skill, or lack thereof, which is good for laughs. If a contestant passes the screening stage, he or she has one song to impress Cowell and the panel of judges, who decide whether the contestant will advance to Hollywood. There, a much smaller group competes to become the "American Idol," which brings with it a recording contract.

Some of the show's most successful alumni are Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, Ruben Studdard and Carrie Underwood.

How long will "American Idol" stay on the air? Will the show suffer when Cowell leaves after this season?

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Debra Lancaster May 5, 2010 | 10:02 a.m.

Idol has run it's course and should go.

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