Let’s be honest. “American Idol” should have ended when Simon Cowell left in 2010. And if not than, it should have ended once that horrible Mariah Carey/Nicki Minaj season was done. Never the less the show still keeps going, with it’s 14th season premiering tonight.
Though this season will be shortened by eliminating the results show, “Idol” is still pretty pointless. There hasn’t been a winner who has turned into a successful artist since Carrie Underwood (maybe Jordin Sparks, though her fame has become less about her music recently, and she won back in 2007). In fact the only winner to actually get a hit on the radio in the past 7 seasons is Phillip Phillips, and he turned out to be a one hit wonder. With the talent not really producing much success, the ratings for the show dropping drastically every season, and the slew of other singing shows proving to be major competition, it’s difficult to understand why “Idol” hasn’t thrown in the towel long ago.
So, what killed the show and why are they still holding on? Let’s get into it.
Judges are the stars of singing competitions nowadays. The judges panel started out as a group of industry insiders who the masses didn’t really know. There was an assumed credibility with the likes of Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell and Kara DioGuardi. In fact when the show started, it’s biggest star was Paula Abdul who at that point was pretty much washed-up. The focus was really on the contestants (or how mean Simon was), now they try to get big name celebs and pay them big salaries and promote the crap out of them. And this isn’t specific to “Idol”, but they definitely fall victim to this idea.
Even worse, when Season 12 first started taping and the infamous Mariah/Nicki feud was “leaked” to TMZ, the show continued to focus more on the fact that the two judges didn’t like each other and much less on the talent on the show. Reducing the singing competition into nothing more than a VH1 Reality Show. This need for big name stars, and the need to try and create drama, takes the attention off the hopefuls. Which sucks because the show is supposed to be about singing, right?
Most would agree that a good number of the REALLY talented acts that audition don’t make it past Hollywood week? And why?
Candice Glover, the amazingly gifted winner of Seasons 12, was rejected twice in previous years. And when Randy was asked why, he would always give a vague answer. That tells me something about the selection process and what the judges and producers are looking for. Which leaves the show with basically the same type of contestants year after year.
Phillip Phillips proved something, if you have the right look and you appeal to the right demographic, that’s all that matters. The guy is talented for sure, and definitely cute, but in comparison to Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet, both incredibly gifted singers with so much power and skill in their voice, there’s no way Phillip should have won what is deemed a Singing competition. And if you really analyze that season, it was basically set up for him to win. So there is a certain TYPE that the judges and PRODUCERS want on the show, and it’s a shame that talent doesn’t matter as much to them.
One of the main things that ruined the credibility of this show were the producers. They were replaced last season, but I think their manipulations tarnished the image of the show in a major way. Past judges Mariah Carey and Ellen Degeneres have both admitted that there is too much Producer input when it comes to who stays and who leaves. Even without their confirmation, it’s clear the Producers had the final say of who they want on their show, which basically makes the judges irrelevant.
It even makes voting unnecessary, because you really cant’ trust that “voting system”. And even if the voting hotline is legit, the producers have their ways of manipulating the viewers AND the judges to make decisions that will benefit their desires. During the Mariah/Nicki season, Michael Slezak (he and former “Idol” contestant Melinda Doolittle do a great vlog about the show on ENTV, also check TVLine) pointed out that there must have been pressure from the producers one night, when a so-so vocal night for Amber Holcomb was hailed by nearly all the judges. Slezak and Doolittle’s only conclusion was that the Producers got in the judges ear and influenced them to favor her.
It’s situations like those that got the previous producers canned, and by the beginning of last season people seemed to just not care about the show anymore. That season ended with the shows lowest ratings ever.
Besides the show being way too long (which plagues all of the singing competitions to be honest), the show needs to really switch up the direction, which would probably mean overhauling the entire behind the scenes team and starting fresh. The reason that NBC’s “The Voice” is much more enjoyable and fresh is because they messed with the blueprint of a singing competition and how it should work. The unique approach drew in viewers and the show quickly eclipsed “Idol” in ratings. That was 4 years ago, and “Idol” is still doing the same old things. The new producers are just not creative enough, and their lack of ideas is making the show boring and redundant.
Plus YouTube and other sites serve as good competition for the show. Why sit through 2 hours (or more) of programming with lame group numbers and countless advertisements, when you can go on YouTube and discover a new star. In fact, there’s been a good number of really successful artists that have gained fame from the video site.
So WHY is it still on?
In the grand scheme of things, the show is pretty much a non-factor… but to FOX it’s still their bread and butter, as that network is plagued with a bunch of shitty shows with low ratings. FOX probably gets their biggest advertising money from “Idol” and for that simple reason, the show won’t go anywhere as long as people pay to advertise on it.
And on that note, the show may be off pretty soon. As mentioned before, the ratings continue to drop. And the show once held the title of being the costliest show to advertise on, once Season 11 was done it lost that title. Now with them cutting back a whole night, things are getting dire for them.
So what’s your take on “Idol”? Do you think this will be the final season, or do they still have a few more seasons to go? And do you think they will produce another superstar?