The more things change, the more… things go back to how they were before things changed and got worse. In this case, I'm referring to American Idol. which didn't exactly benefit in the ratings after the most recent crop of judges took their seats at the table.
Following a season in which American Idol saw a downward spiral in the ratings, Fox’s singing competition series is putting the show through a huge makeover. Nicki Minaj is out. Mariah Carey is out. Nigel Lythgoe, Ken Warwick, and Randy Jackson are out. However, it seems that Keith Urban will be the lone judge from last season to take a chair when Idol returns to the schedule in the spring of 2014.
We live in a country where some people like to sue one another if there is money to be made. Fox’s American Idol has made plenty of money for the network over the years, and now ten African American individuals hope to make $25 million apiece, thanks to rules and processes related to the competition series that they say are racist.
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.