And the Idol updates keep on coming. This weekend, we learned that American Idol executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick were cut from the series after twelve seasons. Today comes a more formal statement from Lythgoe, along with official word from FremantleMedia that they have hired a new executive producer.
One month ago, a report revealed that there were major changes ahead for American Idol, including the planned replacement of all four judges - including veteran judge Randy Jackson - and also the ousting of longtime producer Nigel Lythgoe. In the weeks since then, one-by-one, those rumors have started to come true.
In unsurprising news, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are both exiting American Idol after one season as judges on the series. The duo follow veteran Idol judge Randy Jackson out the door, leaving Keith Urban as the lone remaining judge yet to confirm his return or departure. Given the rumors about the singing competition looking to start fresh with new judges, there's a good chance it's just a matter of time before we hear word that Urban is out.
Fox announced today that Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment for the network, "votes himself out… Fox Broadcasting Company." Their words. This is pretty major news for Fox, coming in the wake of American Idol's lowest finale numbers yet, not to mention the fact that Darnell has been with the network for nearly two decades, and has played a key role in building the network's reality TV presence on network television.
Not only might all of the judges on this year’s panel be replaced by Season 13, but they might be replaced by former American Idol contestants, who would know exactly what challenges the new contestants must face each week. Now, former contestant Jennifer Hudson is actually in talks to join the veteran singing competition show.
American Idol needs a game changer. While Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj generated plenty of buzz during their tension-fueled stint as judges on the Fox singing competition, their presence did little to improve ratings. In fact, the series closed out its twelfth season to its lowest finale numbers yet. Talk of some major changes, which includes a possible full overhaul at the judges table led to the reveal that Randy Jackson was leaving the show.
It was a big night for Candice Glover on American Idol. The singer won the grand prize in the closer of Idol's twelfth season, beating out fellow female singer Kree Harrison, who took the runner-up prize. While it was a good night for Glover, it was not a good night for Idol. The season finale, which ran over two hours, earned a series low for finale viewers. In fact, the finale took in less than half the number of viewers it earned for its finale two years ago.
Almost from the start, it seemed like this season of American Idol was destined to be a female-led season. The male contestants that managed to make the finals didn't hold a candle to some of the talent on the female side. One by one, the guys dropped out, with Lazaro Arbos managing to hold on as far as the Top 6 before being sent home, leaving five women to move forward. By that point, I would've called the competition for Angie Miller to win. Not only was her vocal talent holding up against her competitors, but she had great stage presence.
From Taylor Hicks beating Katharine McPhee and Chris Daughtry to Kris Allen beating Adam Lambert to Ruben Studdard beating Clay Aiken, the history of American Idol is filled with not only bad choices but choices that were overtly wrong at the time. Why does it happen? Well, it all boils down to the same argument judges on the show have been having since the first season.
It's certainly been a season of great female talent. Whether it was a matter of the girls simply outnumbering the guys in talent this year, or the judges being unable to scout out the better male voices, we were left with an abundance of female talent this season, and it would be difficult to argue that the Top 3 aren't the most deserving contestants. With that in mind, it's virtually impossible to predict which two ladies will go on to the finale.
Jackson brought different things to the show based on what other judges he was surrounded with over the years, but the one consistent element was his incredible musical knowledge. Whether the contestant was singing pop music, R&B or even classical Indian music, he always knew enough to engage the performer in conversation about it and could instantly tell how sharp or flat on certain notes their rendition was.
Just last week, word got around that Harry Connick Jr. had been approached about possibly being a judge in Season 13 of American Idol. On one hand, the producers' reported interest in the artist wouldn't be particularly surprising, especially considering he just mentored the final four contestants. But on the other hand, the news itself was a bit surprising, considering the show currently has four judges.
Likability and musical talent and/or knowledge are key qualities to be a good singing competition judge, and Harry Connick Jr. certainly is likable and musically talented, so he might be a great choice to fill one of the judges chairs in the upcoming American Idol season. That is, assuming there's an empty chair to fill. From what's being reported, that may be the case.
The competition is heating up among the final four contestants on American Idol and tension has also gotten pretty heated at the judges table this season, as Nicki MInaj's latest tweets will attest. But tonight's not about Nicki and Mariah's public feud. It's about three young women getting to the Top 3.
As talented as the final four are this season, last night's episode was kind of a snoozefest, with one odd song choice after another. The "One Hit Wonders" theme had tons of potential for some interesting and exciting covers. While there were some solid vocal performances to around, the only stand-out among the bunch this week was Angie, who may have performed her way to my top pick to win this season.