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NEW YORK — With Simon Cowell’s days numbered and Paula Abdul already gone, this season is shaping up to be the end of an era for the nation’s most-popular show, Fox’s “American Idol.”

But when it comes to living up to its title — creating a superstar act that captures the imagination of millions — the power of “Idol” has been ebbing for years. (The new season of “Idol” starts Tuesday night (8 p.m. EST.) While the show produced multiplatinum sensations in its earlier days, starting with Kelly Clarkson and ending with Carrie Underwood, recent “Idol” winners or runners-up have not had similar chart success.

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