'American Idol' creator Simon Fuller: My overriding emotion is pride, we made history
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/06/2016
American Idol creator Simon Fuller is reflecting on 15 successful seasons of the reality singing competition that changed pop culture forever.
Heading into the two-part finale of the franchise's farewell season, Fuller toldThe Hollywood Reporter the "overriding emotion" he feels is "pride."
"It's been an amazing 15 years and it's the first time ever that I've been able to look back and think, 'Wow, that was pretty good.' We made our mark; we made history. It's exceeded all expectations," he said.
"In the entertainment industry, you very rarely get to look back. For the first time, I've managed to do that in these past two or three weeks and that will carry me through the finale. Saying goodbye to a lot of people I may not work with again, that's the only sadness for me. [Along with] my partners at Fremantle, I think the group [working on the] show has been pretty much the same since day one."
Fuller explained that he doesn't feel much has changed about the show since its 2002 debut.
"I'm pleased that the final show will still have the warmth and the excitement as the first show 15 seasons ago. In many ways it still feels youthful," said the 55-year-old CEO of XIX Entertainment.
Fuller noted American Idol's appeal to people of all ages is "one of the legacy points."
"It was a show that the family could watch. Music unites people. Whether you're five or you're 55 or 85, the musical tastes of the world are more aligned than they ever have been. There was a time when what a teenager liked would be polar opposite to what their parents would like. That's not the case anymore," Fuller told The Reporter.
Fuller also shared his personal highlights from over the years.
"The first season finale with [Kelly Clarkson] and [Justin Guarini], I thought that was a very special moment. Finding Carrie Underwood was significant. When you saw her, even in her innocent, raw state, you knew she had the potential to be a big star. Kelly and Carrie represent the purity of Idol -- the perfect American dream," Fuller said.
"I think Chris Daughtry's journey was a significant one. People thought he had a good chance of winning and he got knocked out early, but his talent saw him through. It allowed him in some ways to reinvent himself and create the band Daughtry. He had this rock persona that maybe would have been a little bit harder for him to achieve if he had been a solo winner and won the whole show. And he went on to sell millions of records and so in the most unlikely way, he achieved all his dreams too."
Fuller's favorite performance on the show happened to be Adam Lambert singing "Mad World."