In the seventh season and with a jury consisting of Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie, American Idol has been the mother of talent show since it premiered in 2002.
Changing judges “as a girl changes clothes,” as Katy Perry would say, and changing networks in the hope of going “cold” and uninspired to return to “hot” and interesting, American Idol is struggling to remain relevant in 2019.
Although the show ended in season two with an average of 24.5 million viewers, according to By The Numbers, the show is currently far below that and has not peaked since its early days on Fox.
Although American Idol has seen a modest recovery since the 16th season, many feel that it is no longer worth watching, because the premise is no longer relevant. The question is: why do so many fans feel that American Idol misses the mark when it comes to contemporary entertainment?
‘American Idol’ is a wagon wheel in a world of Ferraris
The first and most cited argument is based on the obvious: the show is simply outdated, and is defeated by other competition shows with a newer atmosphere, a fresher look.
American Idol paved the way for shows such as The Voice, The X Factor and America’s Got Talent. And while it is a great gift to be the catalyst for such a crucial transformation in terms of entertainment consumption, there is a major consequence that coincides with the first: one day all students will become the new masters. And that is exactly what is happening now.
American Idol is the wagon wheel of talent show shows; which means that the groundwork is greatly appreciated, but everyone is now opting for the Ferrari.
The Voice is unique and focuses on coaching participants and improving their skills. America’s Got Talent offers a platform for individuals with enormously different opportunities to emerge. American Idol, however, continues to rotate, generating the same generic formula that is always preserved, but nevertheless changes judges in the hope of conquering viewers based on star power.
Many claim that American Idol is no longer the phenomenon it once was, simply because it is no longer unique and is unable to find an original twist to reinvent itself.
The debacle surrounding ‘American Idol’s’ bad auditions
Although American Idol has greatly reduced its exploitative nature since the end of late – because viewers no longer believe that every participant reaches the jury panel – some not so talented participants still appear. However, most participants without self-awareness are not total vocal disasters, but are clearly not talented enough for the show. What is Idol doing here? What is the point of showing these auditions?
Many claim that by sticking to the poor auditions, the show retains to some extent an identifying facet and at the same time modernizes itself to suit a contemporary audience. The problem: you can’t have your cake or eat it.
Representing “less bad” auditions is not a beneficial compromise; it is an obvious depiction of fear: fear of completely removing it and fear of leaving it as it was, because the recoil of the viewer would inevitably result. So instead, the makers spray bad auditions here and there for a good measure. Perhaps a risk – going for one extreme – would have paid off.
Does the American public still wish to choose an “Idol?”
What does it mean to choose an idol? Selecting someone who should ‘admire, love and respect’ the audience, as the definition implies, does not seem a healthy goal for a talent competition. Instead of focusing on talent, many claim that the entire concept of American Idol is flawed because the public is asked to choose the best “image” or the candidate that is most worthy of starry.
If you accept the above statement as true, the show is not about talent, but rather as a shallow fixation on the ‘it’ factor, which takes into account various uncontrollable attributes – apart from singing. Many claim that this propagates a fixation on the superficial, which is already sufficiently emphasized in a society cherished by social media. If the show is marketed as a singing competition, shouldn’t it be about “the voice” (pun intended)?