How ‘American Idol’ Might Have Fixed Itself

It’s official: Harry Connick Jr. has joined the judging table for the 56th season of American Idol. I tweeted this a few weeks back: there are actually 5 seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, Who Will Judge American Idol & Fall. Who Will Judge American Idol is actually the longest season. It just never ends; you know it’s coming, much like winter, but you’re never fully prepared for how exhausting it’s going to be but this year, for the first time in a long while, it was…pretty unventful. Which, for this old broad, is a good thing.

I haven’t watched a full season of American Idol since…maybe…season 8? Maybe season 9? We broke up when Jennifer Lopez joined and I eventually got bored of her, Randy & Steven Tyler speaking in platitudes for an hour, two nights a week. It got old quick and the show lost it’s charm and it’s focus which was always: the singers. Around the time Ellen had been cast as a judge is when the show, I think, jumped the shark. Also when we let Taylor Hicks win. But I digress.


I completely avoided the last season because obviously and, judging by the ratings, so did the rest of North America. It’s not that Idol is sinking ship – because in reality, it really isn’t. It’s just not what it used to be. This show is going in it’s 13th season – ratings are just going to go down, big name judges or not. It is just going to happen. So, even if the ratings don’t go up this year thanks to Harry Connick (which they won’t) this isn’t a bad thing. No. Because again, this is normal. What is a bad thing is that the show lost sight of itself and I think it might have fixed that.

For me and you, HCJ (this is what I’m referring to him as from here on out because I’m busy for his ridiculous name) is a boring choice. Agreed. But American Idol has never been about me and you. It’s been for and about middle America. Which is why it’s two most successful products – Kelly Clarkson & Carrie Underwood are the pride & joy of this show. They are what this show represents: real people becoming superstars & actual talent. Sure, Phillip Phillips may have broken the Male Idol Winner Curse, but he was overshadowed by who was judging the show. Jennifer Lopez returning isn’t inspired or exciting and makes more sense for her than for the show, but it’s safe and it’s cheap(er) than Mariah ever was/will be. And that’s what this comes down to: the older you get, the safer you play. In it’s prime Idol could get away with chosing Ellen DeGeneres to judge a SINGING COMPETITION because when you have 30 million people watching each week, no fucks are being given. Now? Now, as it’s down to 14 million people (and that’s on a good night) now you have to be a little safe. Please the masses. Engage your audience. Nicki might have been a good judge (from what I heard) but she was not accessible. Keith Urban is accessible. Jennifer Lopez is your accessible Diva. HCJ is your accessible fantasy for all of the mothers out there. I mean, well done everyone on Team Idol, well done.

Will it work? Maybe. Maybe not? But it’s not going to hurt it and that’s is the key thing here.



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