American Idol 2013 has been making a lot of headlines this week, but not for its amazing singers, exciting live performances, or even Ryan Seacrest’s dating life (well, that one’s gotten a bit ofcoverage), but rather it’s about what some are calling the final collapse of this long-running show.
A bomb was dropped this week when The Hollywood Reporter broke a story about the producers planning to drop Mariah Carey mid-season and replace her with former judge Jennifer Lopez. The secret plot was allegedly foiled when Mariah’s peeps threatened litigation. Of course, the official word from FOX reps is that this is just another rumor, but we’re not quite sure we’re buying that. There as a cloud of smoke around this rumor so think you could cut it with a knife. And where there is that much smoke, well, somewhere there has to be at least a spark of truth.
Add to that controversy the fact that American Idol ratings have steadily declined, week after week, and the show even lost last Thursday to repeats of the CBS juggernaut The Big Bang Theory. The situation is grim. All this unfortunately coincides with the rise of The Voice 2013, which beat Idol (and everyone else) for the first time in both total viewers and the advertising sweet spot demographic of adults 18-49. The Voice also took American Idol’s usual spot in the Emmy nominations last year for the Outstanding Reality Competition category.
So do you think American Idol will bow out gracefully, and try to exit the game while it has a shred of dignity? Wanna know what we think? Absolutely not! The show, despite its declining ratings, is still a cash cow. The show brought in $836.4 million in ad revenue last year, which is more than $100 million more than in 2011. That’s a hard amount of dough to walk away from to be sure.
We tend to the think the show has run its course but, because we know the powers that be will not be giving up that kind of cashola any time soon, so here is what we suggest:
Things to Keep:
Keep Ryan Seacrest! There have been rumors that the popular host will be replaced next year. While it may happen anyway if the sources talking about him taking Matt Lauer’s place at Today are true, we think he truly is the face of American Idol. He handles that show like a well-oiled machine, without ever breaking a sweat.
Keep producing stars. Whatever they’re doing to help guide these folks in their careers is (generally) working. Look at Phillip Phillips! His win was only last year and the guy’s star is already on an epic rise. This is their way to still remain above the competition, as The Voice has yet to produce a true star.
Keep the brand. Keep the cheesy intro music, the stage, and everything else that identifies you as American Idol. Stand proud behind that because this show has made history, if nothing else.
Keep delving into the backstories of the contestants. Some might complain that it adds bias, but most people eat that up!
Things to Get Rid Of:
The entire judges panel! Honestly, if they were maybe going to keep one, we’d say keep Keith Urban. He’s actually doled out some stellar advice this season, represents country, and is great eye candy. Randy Jackson hit his expiration date about three seasons ago, and if we hear “she’s in it to win it, dawg” one more time, we will scream. At first, we thought Nicki Minaj should stay for shock value, but the public demands her exit. And Mariah Carey has added next to nothing to the show but yawns (sorry, dahlings).
The formal setting at the judges table. This is where we think they need to look at what The Voice is doing right. Make it a more informal setting among the judges that allows for fun and laughs so it’s not so tense.
The gender split. Talent is talent, and we hated watching talented girls go while Lazaro Arbos remained. Sorry, Lazis!
- The themes! Or at least rework them to make them more current. They are SO TIRED! One more season of “one hit wonders,” and we’re Ryan Seacrest outing ourselves. Get rid of 80% of the music that wasn't recorded in the last two decades.
- More? Kill the cheesy Ford commercial filler that makes the whole show seem like an advertisement. Get rid of the Brady Bunch group numbers and replace them with more solos, duets or insider looks at what goes on behind the scenes. We'd love to see more of what is happening to the Idol finalists when they aren't in front of an audience.
Things to Add:
We like the idea of having an American Idol alum at the table. Even better, rotate them each season, which gives them a chance to work on their careers, too.
Bring back the celeb mentors. Jimmy Iovine deserves respect but we miss seeing people like Harry Connick, Jr. and Jamie Foxx interact with these folks.
- The duets are great, so what about adding a week where they only do duets? How about revisiting celebrity duets? We’re not sure how that would work with the voting but, if they could somehow figure that out, it could be a huge hit.
- Bring back better guest performers. The trip down Idol memory lane was fun.. kind of. We miss having the celebrity guest mentors and performers to give a little more oomph to the show.
What else do you think could breathe new life into American Idol?