Has American Idol Jumped the Shark?

Has American Idol lost its touch?  Is it sacrificing the charm of the show for the almighty rating point?  Or has the show just reached its prime and is now in the downslide?

I’m fairly new to the phenomenon known as American Idol.  Having only joined the millions of fans in Season 6 my frame of reference is narrow, but even I can see that the show isn’t what it used to be.  In its eighth season, the show is definitely starting to show its age.

When the show launched the season with a two-hour audition in Phoenix, I was hopeful that we’d see some real talent this year.  Boy was I mistaken.  I’m not saying there aren’t some gems among the rough, but they are few and far between.

While Phoenix and Kansas City were fruitful, the other audition cities were bogged down with mediocre talent that took up screen time.  The only saving grace was that these episodes were limited to an hour.

Idol might have tried the kinder gentler version by showing less train wrecks, but it failed two fold.

First, from what I understand a distinct portion of the audience tune in for the express purpose of watching the train wrecks.  While I’m not big on the mean factor and those that just want to throw tantrums, the parade of weird and bizarre is entertaining.

Second, Idol didn’t fill the extra minutes with quality screen time of real contenders.  Instead we got montages and lots of filler that amounted to nothing.  How many times can we see a hodgepodge of clips of the judges saying no?  And why did we need to devote 10 minutes to each reject telling us how their life is over because they didn’t get a ticket to Hollywood?

Instead, some of us would really like to see people sing.  I’m not naïve enough to think that Idol is a true talent contest, but let’s pretend that the show is about singing. 

I would’ve even taken more back stories on those Hollywood bound . . . anything so I don’t have to watch Bikini Girl try to make out with Ryan again.

Of the 147 that made it to Hollywood, we only got to 61 of them during the audition phase.  But I, like others, endured the audition phase thinking it’s okay we’ll get to really hear people sing in Hollywood.  Wrong answer!

Hollywood was expanded this year – something I think I even wished for last year – to five hours over four nights.

You know how they say be careful what you wish for?  If I’d know what I was going to get, I would not have asked for more Hollywood week.

In the five hours of air time, I think we got to see maybe – and that’s probably a stretch – two hours of actual singing.  And we still didn’t get to hear everyone sing.

Much of the time was given to backstage drama and the contestants causing that drama.  In the first round of Hollywood, we only got to see three contestants that we didn’t see during the auditions.

And others that were given much hype during the auditions – Michael Castro, Joanna Pacitti, David Osmond, etc – were conspicuously absent from the Hollywood footage.  We didn’t even get to see what caused an Osmond to get cut (turns out, according to David’s blog, it was a case of laryngitis).  Now that’s drama I would have liked to see.

But apparently, it doesn’t matter if you have any vocal talent. It’s all about how well you perform for the camera backstage.  You must be mean, nasty, unstable and/or prone to emotional outbursts.

In fact, it was 30 minutes into Round 2 before we got to hear anyone sing.  And then again most of the time was give to those that stirred up ruckus not those that could be our contenders for the rest of the season.

It’s hard to become vested in the contestants and chose your favorites, if you don’t really get to see who the contestants are.

We were actually able to see more contestants in Round 3, but the convoluted elimination by room scenario made it hard to determine the fate of the singers we got to hear.

And why did we have an elimination in Round 3, when Round 4 is the big cut.  I know it adds another night of ad revenue for the people at Fox.  But did it offer anything for the viewers?

To top it off, we aren’t even getting our Top 24 at the end of Hollywood Week.  Instead we are only down to 36, adding a few more weeks to the Idol season and letting those drama-ridden contestants steal the focus from the singing for a little longer.

I’ve never been a fan of the audition and Hollywood phases, but this year my opinion dropped another notch.  Now let’s get on with the real show.  I want to see some singing.

Related Posts

Nick, Nathaniel, Tatiana Make the Cut as Idol Announces Top 36

Drama Queen Survives Idol’s Hollywood Round 3

Drama Queen Survives Idol’s Hollywood Round 3

Bikini Girl Blows Idol’s Hollywood Round 2

Funnyman Norman Gentle Shines during Idol’s Hollywood Round 1

Confidence Abounds at Idol NY, San Juan Auditions

Osmonds Headline Salt Lake City Idol Auditions

Idol Jonesing for Talent in Jacksonville

Idol Looking for Thoroughbreds in Kentucky

Talent a No-Show for Idol San Francisco Auditions

Idol Judges Find Another Castro in Kansas City Auditions

American Idol Launches Season 8 in Phoenix


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