Tuesday 27 Sep 2016

Whither the Idol
Matt Seinberg

This past week, gossip news leaked about changes to “American Idol” next season. On Thursday, 9 May 2013, Randy Jackson announced he was not going to return for the thirteenth season. That was just his way of leaving, without an official firing.

To me, Jackson was the only one worth keeping. Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and Keith Urban could leave; no one would notice. Out of the later three, only Urban had a clue of what he was supposed to do; he certainly grew into the role of judge as the season progressed.

Also announced this week was “Idol” ratings were down a whopping 25%, from last year. The producers can’t pin all the blame on the judges. The format has grown old and moldy, with too much predictability.

I believe the role of the judges should include  mentoring, which the “The Voice” is doing. Let the audience assign each judge to four. The mentors help guide contestants through the “Idol” experience.

How about having the top three “Idol” contestants, from past years, return to help? Chris Daughtry or Adam Lambert might work with a group of contestants for a week. By not making it just past winners, you go from a pool of eleven mentors to thirty-three mentors.

Let’s consider past “Idol” winners. Off the top of your head, how many can you name? I bet you can name one, maybe, Carrie Underwood. I thought so.

The names that came to me right away are Kelly Clarkson, Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips. Underwood and Clarkson are true international recording superstars. The two guys are recent enough that the television audience might remember.

The other winners are Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze. They all have had marginal success, but not like the others. Fantasia has had success on Broadway, while the others recorded some notable and not so notable albums.

Including this year, season twelve, there are five female and seven male winners. So many factors come into play for winning “Idol,” but two of the most important are popularity and talent. Let’s face it; if they can’t sing by now, they’re not going to be in the Top twelve.

In past seasons, “Idol” has had guest mentors. This year, it had only one, Smokey Robinson. If they want to attract younger viewers, they have to bring in performers like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Pink, Drake and Alicia Keys.

In baseball, if a team is having a bad season, the first person blamed is the manager, the easiest to replace. The second is the general manager. Only then, if the firings don't sufficiently shake-up the players, can the new manager and general manager start to trade or release players.

On television show, producers and writers that are blamed first. Then the performers catch blame. On “Idol,” once the producer lines up the contestants, it’s up to the viewers to vote for their favourites. If the ratings are suffering, it’s up the producers and writers to come up with a new strategy to keep, and increase the show’s ratings.

This season, I think the television audience got it wrong; Angie Miller should have stayed and faced off against Candice Glover. Although I think Kree Harrison is talented, I truly believe that Angie is the total package and could have won the title of “American Idol” 2013.

If “American Idol” wants to retain its former glory, changes must happen. The changes must happen quickly for the show to survive another season. I wonder if Ryan Seacrest will stay.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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