For years, “American Idol” was the undisputed king of television talent shows. Never before had a vocal competition created such excitement and introduced viewers to singers they would go on to watch and be fans of long after their season of “American Idol” came to a close. But alas, the days of water cooler chatter being filled with talk of who will go home next on “American Idol” seem they may be over.
The 2013 finale of “American Idol” had a staggering drop in viewership of 33 percent.
Why aren’t fans tuning in to “American Idol” in droves as they have in the past? The auditions still show thousands of contestants lined up, waiting for hours for their opportunity to be the next “American Idol.” There was no shortage of talent in this year’s finale – Candace and Cree had pipes easily on par with previous years’ finalists. Here are a few reasons why “American Idol” may have fallen out of grace with fans:
Being a judge on “American Idol” is a pretty good gig for any celebrity and the show has not struggled to draw in household names with big personalities. However there is no amount of talent, fame, or colorful hair that can take the place of the chemistry on the original judging panel between Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul. Their heated banter was often as entertaining as the entertainers and is sorely missed by long-time “American Idol” fans.
Another judging change that isn’t often mentioned is the elimination of weekly guest judges. Early on in “American Idol,” they not only had successful vocalists mentoring the contestants, they also sat in and participated in the judges’ panel. Each week, fans had a new judge sitting in offering a fresh, unique perspective.
The “American Idol” save was put in place to ensure a highly talented contestant did not go home before his or her time due to an inexplicable lack of votes in a given week. Judges are given the option, once each season, to save a singer fans have chosen to eliminate.
The save, at first glance, seems to make sense. Nobody wants anyone really good to go home before someone with lesser talent. But the problem with the save is it takes all of the fun, excitement and drama out of the elimination shows. Every fan knows that if one of the “favorites” is voted off, the judges will merely save the person. What is the point of watching the elimination show if you know that certain contestants won’t be going home regardless of the vote?
As with any endeavor, as competitors enter the market they will inevitably lure viewers to take a look. From “The Voice” to “The X Factor” to “America’s Got Talent,” there is no shortage of competition for “American Idol” and they are all hungry for their slice of the ratings pie. If “American Idol” wants to stay relevant and draw in viewers, they are going to have to respond to the competition and give viewers what they want. Perhaps they need to look no further than the show’s name, “American Idol.” The contestants who viewers will idolize and be drawn to watch the most are not always the individuals with the best vocals.