Credit: Thomas Whiteside/Courtesy of Elle Magazine Photo: Nicki Minaj Belts It Up in Elle Magazine, April 2013

If American Idol 2014 happens next year, the long-running reality show will be in its 13th season. Some probably think that number is fitting, as this year hasn’t exactly been lucky for FOX when it comes to ratings.

 

Despite the steady decline in American Idol ratings each week, FOX still does still win on most Wednesday nights and competes strongly on Thursdays. It’s obviously not a huge disaster, especially considering their major advertisers continue to invest, year after year. However, the show itself is landing record lows in ratings and viewership, while competitors like The Voice bring in the young viewers in droves. So we have to ask the question: Is American Idol really worth saving?

 

We think the answer is “yes,” but with some caveats. There need to be some changes. Here are five of our suggestions:

 

1. Create a more informal atmosphere for the American Idol judges. As we’ve written about before, Idol’s biggest competitor, The Voice, benefits from a light and fun vibe between the judges, and a much looser environment for conversing. With Idol, the critiques seem so forced and, many times, the last person in the order doesn’t even have a chance to say much (right, dahlings?).

 

2. Get rid of Mariah Carey. There, we said it! Sure, she’s a huge name and a musical icon, but she adds very little to the show (some might argue she actually detracts). Even her feud with fellow judge Nicki Minaj was much ado about nothing. On the other hand, we say keep Nicki. There’s been a lot of buzz surrounding her unprofessionalism, especially after she was late to a live show (yes, that was bad!), but there’s no such thing as bad buzz, right? At least she keeps the show relevant.

 

3. Add an American Idol alum to the judging panel. They know that stage. They’ve been there. They get it. Carrie Underwood has already mentioned she’d be open to judging for X Factor. How hard could it be to get her to return to her roots, especially since it’s a lot more successful than The X Factor? Everyone looooves Carrie.

 

4. Get rid of the gender split. We lost so many talented singers because of it this year. Isabel Pasqualone comes to mind. The guys were pretty bad this year and yet, because of the gender split, we had to keep some of the mediocre ones while letting talented ladies leave.

 

5. Stop with the dated themes already! Perhaps get rid of the themes all together! Again, take a page from The Voice’s playbook. Let people sing what they want to sing. The judges are always asking the hopefuls what kind of performer they want to be, and pleading with them to show it on stage. Do you think Burnell Taylor is ever going to be a rock artist?! Come on! If you truly want them to have a long career in music, let them hone their craft in the genre of their choice.

 

Okay, so three of the five of our suggestions have to do with the judging panel, but we do feel like that needs some work. But, P.S. do NOT get rid of Ryan Seacrest. We love him, and he is the face of American Idol!

 

How would you change American Idol?