The Problem(s) With American Idol

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EW.com is running a piece on possible changes to American Idol. American Idol is – as we speak – jumping the shark. Everyone is trying to predict why. I’m going to give you all the reasons right now.

## 1 ##
First and foremost, as Howard Stern said in his broadcast yesterday, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Idol used to be one hour for the contest, 30 minutes for results. This season, it was 2 hours for the performances, 1 hour for results. The results shows are way too long, way too cheesy, the divisions are contrived, the call-taking is stupid, the banter is obnoxious and worthless, and the results are purposely not revealed until the last 2 minutes. In the beginning of the season, it aired thrice a week in 2 hour specials, requiring a SIX hour commitment. And most of the funny “bad” auditions are now from actors trying to be bad to get on TV, making it mostly worthless. Recently, the performance shows have slowly scaled back in time, but should just be performances. Which leads me to…

## 2##
The guest judges are mostly worthless. It used to be they were actual judges. Now they are “coaches.” But those bits are worthless to me, because I’m judging the singing, not the singer, and the producers are making the contestants into people, thereby making the show a popularity contest. That means the winner is not the best singer (as evidenced by Carly’s recent ouster), but rather, the one who inspires the most phone calls. And since it’s mostly younger people calling and texting, the winner is really just whomever 14 year old girls like, explaining the continued success of the entirely mediocre, completely clumsy “Close-eye” Archuletta, a semi-decent singer who continues to receive over-lauded praise for completely average performances, frequent lip-licking, and lots of awkward laughing. Time to return the general themes like “the 1990s” or “country” or even “anything at all written in this decade.” But instead, we get “Mariah Carey.” Yuck. You do not need a special coach every week. In fact, I’d like to see a singer sing something like they might release. I don’t see most guys singing Mariah Carey songs on their albums. Certainly Andrew Lloyd Webber was a fun coach, but what does being able to – or not being able to – sing his music have to do with being a deserving Idol?

## 3 ##
The judges are completely worthless, even Simon. The judges ought to offer CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. Unfortunately, this is what we typically get:

Randy: “It was only a-iiight fah me, dawg. It was only a-iiight. It was pitchy in the front, but you kinda worked it out in the middle, I don’t know if it was your best performance.”
Paula: “Blah blah blah, I’m @#% crazy and make no sense. You look pretty. Blah blah blah.”
Simon: “Dreadful.”

Entirely worthless. I can’t remember the last time I heard something like “you need to focus on annuciating better” or “you should try listening to the words of the song a little closer to get a better connection.” How about “You project really well. I’d like to hear some power in your higher notes though”? The judges should be wholesale replaced. They all are completely and totally tired, boring, and empty. They do no good. Their only job, it appears, is to pimp the producers’ predestined candidate.

## 4 ##
Stop allowing unlimited votes. Period. Limit it to 10 votes per number. Or 1 vote per household. Or 2 texts per phone. Something, anything, to prevent speed dialing tween girls from monopolizing the vote. I know, I know, they are your target, since they are the only ones dumb enough to buy your pre-packaged, vanilla, over styled, dumbed down package you’ll eventually call the Idol, but you condescend to us and we lose interest. We all know when someone has been chosen by the producers to fail and when someone has been blessed by Mr. Lythgoe to succeed.

## 5 ##
Last but not least, get rid of your silly “mosh-pit.” The screaming and over-abundance of teenagers just reminds me, and a large part of your audience, that we are not your target, and we should really be moving on to a new channel IINS.

3 comments

  1. In your points:
    1. I think that the show is big enough to ask for a 6 hour commitment. Besides, it’s not the same every week. It depends how many contestants they have. They can’t do 1 hour of show when they have 10 contestants for example, there’s not enough time. Even when they butcher tghe songs down to 1′:30″ per song.
    2. I much prefer the guest singers as coaches rather than judges. These people do need coaching. And there’s no one better to give the right information but the person who first sang the songs.
    3. I agree that the judges need to be more constructive. I hate Paula, she mumbles stupid shit all the time.
    4. Agreed on unlimited votes.
    5. I don’t mind the girls on the front, if anything, they make it more fun.

    Now, where American Idol should change is in the kind of music they play. Every night we have the same Mariah/Whitney kinds of songs. Tonight, there was Neil Diamond. Look, these are big artists, but their songs are BORING. That’s where the problem is. When David Cook sang the rock version of “Billie Jean” everyone awed. Reason being, that was a good alternative rock song. That’s what most young people want to listen on TV. That, and hip hop. I don’t care if these songs are not the best representatives of “vocal difficulty”. I mostly watch American Idol for fun, not because i really care about their vocal abilities.

  2. Sorry, Eugenia, but if you read sites like EW and E! and other entertainment sites, you’ll see most people are agreeing with me that the shows are too long, the themes are too specific, the celebrities are not relevant and take too much time and pimp their favorite contestants (David A… a “prodigy”?). Also, everyone is growing sick of Paula, and since she revealed last night that the judges comments are either a) based on rehearsals, which is terrible or b) pre-scripted, which is reprehensible, the entire show is crashing anyway.

  3. >take too much time and pimp their favorite contestants

    I don’t think that taking 10 seconds to speak out for someone is too long. I think that 1 hour for a show, or 2 hours when having too many contestants is normal. As for the specific themes, I agree, they are not always modern choices. Paula needs to go too.

    But I have to say again, the main problem is the kinds of songs they sing. It’s like they are singing for 50+ year old audiences.

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