Warning! The following contains spoilers for American Idol's Season 19 Top 24 Part 2. Read at your own risk!
American Idol rounded out its Top 24 for Season 19 in its latest episode, though it wasn't without controversy. In fact, I can't recall a time in the series' run on ABC that fans have been so mad over the competitors that have been cut before the live shows even began. The latest episode brought even more controversial eliminations and rage, so I ask, is it time to let fans into the series sooner?
American Idol giving fans a chance to vote sooner has long been an idea I've had and would prevent a lot of the outrage currently being seen in Season 19. Fans are mad that contestants they've built a bond with are sent home not because they're bad singers, but because, in the words of judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan, and Lionel Richie, they're "just not right for the show."
And that would be okay if fans believed American Idol truly whittled down its contestants to the best 24 competitors available. The problem is the latest episode showed that wasn't the case, as judges continued to tell contestants that despite their imperfect performances, they'd still advance to the next round. It's personally baffling to me how a competent singer with a different style isn't right for the top 24, but one that has shaky performances but sings pop is.
And whether my opinion on who deserves to be on the show is right or wrong, Season 19 has shown a disconnect in several instances in what the fans believe is worthy of advancement in American Idol and what the judges believe is worthy. It's a problem that could lead to decreased ratings, though with good reason as viewers stop watching after talent they believed was worthy won't be showcased during the season.
The problem is these episodes are filmed way in advance, and these attachments are formed by fans long after a decision has been made whether that contestant stays or goes on American Idol. COVID-19 obviously made 2020 and 2021 terrible years to attempt early audience interaction, but going forward, I think the problem of fans being let down by disappointing judge cuts would be drastically reduced if fans could in some way have a say in who could advance to the live shows.
Had something like that existed in the Top 24 rounds, I have a good feeling someone like Philip Murphy would've gone much further in the competition. Or, if something was introduced as early as the audition rounds, someone like Ace Stiles could've had a chance to really spread their wings on American Idol. Instead, both had their inspirational stories farmed by the series for entertainment and then dropped unceremoniously from the competition without much fanfare. Otherwise, we could continually be stuck with seasons that viewers are mad about before the competition really gets underway, which is never fun.
American Idol airs on ABC Sundays and Mondays at 8:00 p.m. ET. Do you think fans should have a say earlier in the competition? Sound off in our poll, and as the live rounds heat up, stay tuned for more analysis and any controversy in Season 19 that may appear.