Kelly Clarkson, pictured in concert in 2015, is the first -- and best --“American Idol.” (Courtesy Manuel Nauta/NurPhoto/Zuma Press)

Kelly Clarkson, pictured in concert in 2015, is the first -- and best --“American Idol.” (Courtesy Manuel Nauta/NurPhoto/Zuma Press)

Scoop: A moment like this — ‘Idol’ memories, for better or worse

As “American Idol” comes to a close on Thursday, here’s a quick roundup of highlights and low points – an informal compilation of online commentary. Yes, everybody’s a critic!

Could it be that the best thing about current Season 15 — with judges Harry Connick, Jr., Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban — is that it’s several weeks shorter than Seasons 1 through 14?

There aren’t many memorable moments from Season 14, with “old” winner Nick Fradiani, now 30.

In season 13, winner Caleb Johnson went to the prom with competitor Jena Irene; Season 12 had the famous Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj feud in which the diva judges battled about Summer Cunningham’s “country” status.

In season 11, Ace Young proposed to Diana DeGarmo — apparently it wasn’t staged, they’re actually married — and judge Steven Tyler livened things up on Season 10, with gems like, “Hellfire, save matches, f— a duck and see what hatches” in response to Scotty McCreery’s (the ultimate winner’s) audition.

Season 9 had the infamous “Pants on the Ground” viral video audition of 62-year-old Larry Platt, about which our favorite judge Simon Cowell remarked, “I have a horrible feeling that song could be a hit.”

Adam Lambert’s rendition of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” lit up the world in Season 8; in Season 7, David Cook beat David Archuleta, and it was the first time the contestants could play instruments onstage.

Sanjaya (Malakar) and his infamous “ponyhawk” and Melinda Doolittle’s early exit distinguished Season 6, and Prince made a surprise appearance during Season 5.

Constantine Maroulis thrilled with “Bohemian Rhapsody” on Season 4, and was eclipsed by country superstar Carrie Underwood.

William Hung made news with his “She Bangs” audition, and Jennifer Hudson, who went on to win an Oscar, left early during Season 3.

In Season 2, Ruben “Velvet Teddy Bear” Studdard beat Clay Aiken, but that didn’t stop Aiken’s growing “Claymates” cult.

Still, Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, a bona fide pop star, remains the quintessential “Idol,” and ubiquitous host Ryan Seacrest was there to oversee it all.

Scarily, Simon Fuller, who created the “Idol” format in 2001, told the Hollywood Reporter, “There will no doubt be another format or refinement or elevation of the format.”


It looks like The City’s movers and shakers are, so far, successful in their efforts to put a statue of Tony Bennett on Nob Hill.

The Historic Preservation Committee today is slated to hear a Planning Department-recommended report about the installation of “a freestanding bronze statue in the likeness of Tony Bennett on the southwest corner of the front lawn at the Fairmont Hotel.”

The plan is to have the art work in place by Bennett’s 90th birthday in August, according to social scene reports of a January fund-raising reception attended by Bennett, his wife Susan, Charlotte Mailliard Shultz, Willie Brown, Thomas Klein, Mayor Ed Lee, Stanlee R. Gatti and George P. Shultz.

Apparently, the statue also will play the tune “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”


Musician Robert Glasper is 38. … Actress Candace Cameron Bure is 40. … Actor Zach Braff is 41. … Actor Paul Rudd is 47. … Actress Marilu Henner is 64. … Actor John Ratzenberger is 69. … Actor Billy Dee Williams is 79. … Singer Merle Haggard is 79.

— Staff, wire reports

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email

American IdolKelly ClarksonlastRyan SeacrestSimon CowellstatueTony Bennett

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