Fixing American Idol

American Idol’s numbers are down and it seems everyone knows how to fix it.  I think the solution is pretty easy, but I’m sure the producers won’t implement my recommendations.

In the first few years, American Idol was about the American Dream.  We got to watch some talented kids compete for a million dollar recording contract.  As viewers, we thought that winning was important.  But after Season 2, we saw Clay Aiken become a star by coming in 2nd.  And almost all  of the entire Season 5 finalists ended up with some type of recording contract.  So, my first recommendation is that all contestants, except the winner, can’t release an album until 1 year after the finals.  Winning needs to mean something and the winner deserves the priviledge of not having to compete with the non-winning contestants.  And since winning will mean so much more, the viewers votes will become important again and the contestants will actually try to win.

Cut the time spent on bad singers in half.  It served its purpose the first couple of years educating us about about the range of skills of the contestants.  But making fun of people doesn’t attract long time viewers to Idol.  Neither does Simon calling someone a monkey.  Quit going for the lowest common denominator and make this really about talent.  Spend more time on background.

The judges aren’t pulling their weight.  Randy and Paula add nothing of value in their critiques.  Randy adds little to the show and Paula only adds to the show when she pulls a Paula.  Replace one of them now and if the other doesn’t improve, get rid of him/her next season.  Simon needs to tone back the rudeness.  Being mean just to get ratings is not fair to the poor person that is his target.  He can be painfully truthful without being demeaning.

Quit trying to manipulate the viewer.  The producers and judges pick the finalists and then the viewers pick the winner.  Why not just let the viewers pick the person they want to win?  Many viewers feel insulted by the constant manipulation. 

So basically. the show can be fixed by making it about what it was in Season 1 – finding the best singer.


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