Let's face it. American Idol's heyday is long passed. But just because the series might not be the cultural juggernaut it once was, that doesn't mean it still isn't incredibly fun TV. Because despite the game of judging panel musical chairs that's been happening in recent years, the level of talent on stage has never wavered. And isn't that what it's all about?

Check out 15 reasons why American Idol is still — and always has been — worth tuning in to.

1. Some performances are worth literally bowing down to.

2.Kelly Clarkson did such a great rendition of "Natural Woman" we didn't even care about her dumb outfit. That's powerful stuff.

3. It reminds us winning isn't everything.

4. Idol still has more real world success stories than The Voice.

5. It takes real skill to sing "Bennie and the Jets" without it sounding like bad karaoke.

This year's must-watch new shows

6. There's talent so undeniable that it can even make you fall in love with a white guy with dreads.

7. It can get deliciously awkward, like the time Paula Abdul refused to sing and ran offstage when faced with a microphone.

8. It can push skim milk into being Kanye West for a night.

9. Even the contestants you make fun of are actually pretty great.

10. It showed us that Carrie Underwood should really be an '80s rock star.

TV shows you should be watching (but probably aren't)

11. Smash wouldn't have been the same without it.

12. It does Whitney Houston proud.

13. Because even though "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" is one of the most overdone singing competition songs, Joshua Ledat made it fresh.

14. The arrangements of songs can really surprise you.

15. It gave us Jennifer Hudson. Enough said.

American Idol premieres Wednesday and Thursday at 8/7c on Fox.