American Idol auditions are in full swing, while things behind the scenes have been in a constant state of flux. After a serious decline in ratings this past season, the powers that be at FOX have cleaned house, firing nearly everyone, including longtime producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. Who will fill be sitting at the judges table in 2014 remains to be seen, although the first person to likely fill a spot will be alum Jennifer Hudson. Her $4-5 million contract was hammered out but wasn’t executed due to the mass chaos that seemed to occur after programming director Mike Darnell left suddenly in the spring.
All this leads us to ask, “What can American Idol do to improve its ratings?” Here is one thing we’d love to see –– no gender split! Talent is talent –– period, and last season we were disheartened to see amazing vocalists going home in order to maintain the gender split. Anyone remember Juliana Chahayed or Isabelle Pasqualone? How about Breanna Steer? Those girls, to borrow a phrase from Randy Jackson, were “mad talented,” and yet they didn’t make it into the finals. Meanwhile, people like Charlie Askew and Lazaro Arbos sailed on through each round despite sub par and frankly bizarre performances. Despite flubbing the lyrics several times, a generally bad attitude, and lack of musical knowledge, Lazaro made it to Top Six! Ugh!
Of course, a stellar choice of judges will be particularly crucial as well, but we really think getting rid of the gender split would go a long way to making American Idol better. What do you think?