Seasons 1-7 of American Idol were the salad days for the hit entertainment show. As the show has aged, the “water-cooler” factor has declined. The reasons are threefold.
2. Focus on the Judges: Simon Cowell became a caricature of himself over time. The Grouch from Great Britain became the center of the episodes, to the detriment of the singers growing a brand. Comedienne Ellen DeGeneres was miscast at the judges table. Controversy surrounded Paula Abdul and alleged relationship issues with a contestant. Kara DioGuardi appeared to have an axe to grind against any attractive female singer, and Steven Tyler offered less as a judge than one might have suspected. The show became about the judges and not the contestants.
3. The Luck Ran Out: American Idol found Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood in the first four seasons. Season Two had Clay versus Ruben. The show was the very definition of “buzz.” Since then, the quality of the singers has declined. As one “WGWG” (White Guy With Guitar) after another was declared the winner, a backlash developed against the show. Finally, in Season 12, the male half of the Top Ten were eliminated consecutively, assuring the winner would be one of the five female contestants. Some fans saw vote manipulation in that occurrence.
Through it all, American Idol will go down in history as the most successful show of its kind to date.
Season Eight: Idol couldn’t have produced two such disparate characters for their finals than Kris Allen and Adam Lambert if the show had drawn up a script. The unprepossessing Allen was declared the winner and was barely heard from after that. The flamboyant Lambert’s album sales were unimpressive, but he has put together a good career as “actor/singer/personality.”
Photo above right: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Photo judges: Helga Esteb