“American Idol” is showing its age. The 11th season of the Fox TV hit got the lowest numbers in its history this Wednesday with a 17 per cent drop in total viewership and a 24 per cent drop in ratings from season 10’s premiere.
Thursday’s episode was even worse: It slipped another 20 per cent from Wednesday’s premiere and 28 per cent from last year.
So what could be the reason? We have three possible explanations:
- The show is just old. In it’s 11th season, what more can it really do to stay fresh?
- A slew of new reality singing competitions are chipping away at AI’s fanbase (like “The Voice” and “The X Factor”). What’s more exciting, seeing the same show over and over again or discovering a new way to find America’s next singing sensation?
- Randy Jackson needs to go. What may have “American Idol” in the “dawg” house is one of its original elements. Randy Jackson has been with the show from day one and he’s been known for catchphrases and losing a lot of weight. It’s about time he changed his routine or made room for another new face.
After Simon Cowell left the show (and was followed by Ellen Degeneres and the firing of Kara DioGuardi), Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez turned out to be pretty decent replacements. The show was fun again — Lopez provided experience and knowledge about singing while Tyler provided … let’s say “colour commentary.”
But Jackson stayed with his tired patter, such as, “You could sing the phonebook, dawg!” or “It wasn’t for me, dawg.” It’s all so four seasons ago.
Maybe it’s time the show’s producers bring in a different music producer to take Jackson‘s seat. It would be interesting to bring a more hip producer a la Pharell Williams or Timbaland to the bunch so that the younger crowd will tune back in.
The other variable is Ryan Seacrest. If he decides to leave after this season there will be no familiar faces from its original incarnation. That could trigger the end of the show.
And that, in turn, would be a disaster for Fox because “Idol” still won the night in ratings and the network is heavily dependent on the $10 million it gets from Coca-Cola and other advertisers who want to buy ad space in and around the show.