When American Idol first graced our television screens, no one would have known exactly how much of an impact it would make. It quickly became a cultural phenomenon with everyone and their mothers tuning in every week to see the original group of contestants sing, scream, and shriek. It was the season of the original “shocker” elimination (Tamyra Gray) and the season of the original contestant who just wouldn’t go away (Nikki McKibbin). Of course, when Kelly Clarkson was crowned as the winner of American Idol, the country went wild and to this day she remains relevant in the music industry. Over the years, judges left, viewers diminished, and many thought this show was nearing its end, but as it remains at the top of the ratings list, this show is far from over.
It would take a few years for the original UK version of The X Factor to show its competitive face – Simon Cowell’s – to become a force to be reckoned with. The X Factor took Pop Idol’s place in the industry as the go-to singing show and produced stars of its own. With the massive success in the UK, Simon decided to bring his juggernaut of a show to the US. Having quit his position as a judge on American Idol, all eyes were on this “new” show that Simon promised would be bigger and better. It wasn’t. Simon predicted over 20 million viewers, but the series premiere only had a fraction of that with about 12 million viewers. Sure it retained that amount throughout the whole season, but to Simon, it massively underperformed, fueling him to revamp the show and start from scratch.
Enter The Voice, which started out in the Netherlands and was brought to the US with a group of coaches that were sure to turn heads. The combined superstar powers of Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Blake Shelton, and Christina Aguilera exploded onto the chess board and paved its way to glory. It drew in strong ratings for NBC and created buzz all around the internet. All four judges saw spikes in their careers and continued on this path for a second season… where it kind of lost its way. The second season premiered so big that Christina Aguilera’s ego couldn’t hold it in. It outright matched American Idol’s monster ratings and many were deeming it the new face of reality singing competitions. However, after the blind auditions, viewership took a plunge for the worst with numbers going even lower than The X Factor. What happened?
All three of these shows need some serious changes coming into their next seasons. True, they all do share similar deficiencies, but we’ll go with specifics here. With a little compare and contrast, here we go. American Idol, step forward for judging.
1. Voting Similar to The X Factor’s
Yes, I know. “That would make it too similar to the X-Factor, blah blah.” But hear me out, a voting system similar to The X Factor would actually do this show wonders. A main concern with American Idol is that it keeps producing the same kind of winner – a cute white guy with a guitar. For the past five years, a contestant fitting this description has won and in turn has made American Idol completely predictable and completely stale. Who didn’t see Phillip Phillips winning this past season? No one. A voting system which gives the judges more control would benefit this show a lot and would prevent predictability in the future. The measly “judges save” is in simplest terms, stupid. It serves no purpose and remains a gimmick.
2. Shorten Results Shows
Seriously, who likes these? Honestly, all three of these shows need to listen to this one, but American Idol suffers from it the most. The one hour results show feels like watching the Titanic without the sinking ship, the nude scene, and the theme song – a complete waste of time. I don’t care about the Ford commercials. I don’t care about the cheesy group performances. I don’t even care for a recap. Just make these shows 30 minutes and we’ll all walk out of here without running into any glaciers.
3. Judges, Please Be Mean
A huge part of what made American Idol successful was Mr. Cowell himself. He became a star in his own right and probably knows it. He revels in the love-hate relationship between the viewers and himself because he knows it creates drama, interaction, and downright interest. When he left, American Idol went completely dry. Neither Randy, Jennifer, or Steven have a mean bone in them and the end result can be seen as fake, overproduced, and just not interesting. Sure Randy tries, but he has about as much charisma as Simon’s right nostril. The judges need to create a dynamic between themselves as the interest been judges is just as important as the interest between contestants.
- Next Up: Our plans to fix The X Factor. Click next to reveal all…