Monday, May 20, 2013

American Idol Reboot

The Dawg is already gone, Ms. Mariah needs more than tight
dresses to stay at the judges table. Ryan - aint goin' nowhere.
Nicki? We all know she's already gone. Keith Urban, the only
one I would want to see again next season.
I've been watching American Idol since the beginning. I have to admit, the past few years have been a challenge - lackluster contestants (with Adam Lambert being an exception and probably Philip Philips) and a parade of 'celebrity' judges who have not earned their large paychecks. With the lowest ratings in the show's history for this past season, Idol producers need to take note. Do something different. Do something completely different.

So what happened?

I get it. A lot of reality shows thrive on tension and drama ... but American Idol isn't one of those shows. The immature conflicts between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey was painful to watch. So guess what? A lot of people opted not to. Take a look at The Voice which has benefitted from the great and positive chemstry between judges (and a note to Voice producers, keep this foursome!).

Out of the four, the only one I could possibly see coming back would be Keith Urban. Randy has already bowed out. Nicki Minaj has ticked so many people off that she won't be back and really, I know she's 'Mariah' but I don't think she needs to be back either. The best judge isn't even a judge, it's Jimmy Iovine. He knows what he's talking about and gives targeted feedback.

Then there are the contestants. It ended well, (love me some Candice) but getting there was at times painful. Zonette? Really? Some of the people that made it to the live shows had me questioning the judges' train of thought.


Go back to basics. When Idol started, no one knew who Simon Cowell or Randy Jackson were. I'm pretty sure they didn't break the bank to get Paula Abdul. Yet, it became the #1 show. AI made Simon and Randy stars and revived Paula's career.

Find several industry-insiders who can provide some Jimmy Iovine-style credibility and personality and put them at the judges table. Add a star that is past their heyday, but who has some knowledge and put them at the table. Yes, this would be a Paula Abdul-like role, but don't look for the next Paula Abdul.

Save the Drama for your Mama. And truth be told, your mama probably doesn't want to hear all that mess either. Have judges that actually get along.

Enough of the Judges Already! American Idol is at its best when it operates as a singing competition. In other words, make it about the contestants again and less about the judges. Find contestants that the audience can root for. We should be tuning in each week to see what the singers are going to sing not which diva is going to act the bigger fool.

Current Theme Weeks: After this season when the contestants relieved their painful ignorance of archaic, little known acts like The Beatles, I propose losing the decade-based themes. Instead go with different kinds of themes: Best Break-Up Songs, Diva Week, Acoustic/A Capella Week, Best High School Song.

If Idol wants to dominate the ratings again, they will have to do more than a little tweaking.

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