-- It's certainly the end of an era for “American Idol."
The iconic singing competition that launched the careers of so many talented performers wrapped up its 15-season run last night.
"It opened doors for a lot of talented young people," said season 3 winner Barrino, who has her fifth album on the way. "It's bittersweet to see it go away. I'm praying that it will come back, but I thank them so very, very much...I just thank them for seeing something in me that I probably wouldn't have seen in myself."
The show, which launched the careers of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, proved you didn’t have to win to have an impact. Contestant Adam Lambert released hit singles and Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar.
“The reality talent competition didn’t exist before ‘American Idol' and made so many stars in the process, which really sets it apart from the other shows that are out there right now,” said Kate Coyne, executive editor of People magazine.
Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard's new single, "Can't Nobody Love You," is just another example of how "Idol" made show biz dreams come true.
"I've wanted to do this job since I was 5 years old," Studdard said. "Despite everything I tried, nothing worked and 'American Idol' was the thing that worked and so, I appreciate them so much."
Season 1 runner-up Justin Guarini said he credits the show for his career success.
"How has it not changed because of 'American Idol?'" Guarini said. "I spent the past five to six years on Broadway. I leave on Sunday to go to Sweden for 11 days to work on my next album, so life is good and I have 'American Idol' and all these wonderful people who came after me to thank...I truly feel blessed."