American Idol Lives On But For How Long?
American Idol has gone through changes over the years - from the amount of people to go through to the semifinals to how many people go to the finals, to the rounds, etc. - but the show has also gone through changes when it comes to the hosts and the judging panel.
The first season of American Idol started off with two hosts Brian Dunkleman and Ryan Seacrest, but come season two Brian Dunkleman was no longer called to host American Idol, leaving Ryan Seacrest as the solo host. That was a smart move because there really is no point in having two hosts on the show, and Ryan Seacrest was a much better host anyway.
The judging panel on the show consisted of Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, and Randy Jackson, who have been with us through many seasons and have become like family to us. We always thought we'd have three judges on the show but that wasn't always the case. Once in a while guest judges were added to the judging panel during the finals, but come season eight the producers decided to add a permanent fourth judge to the show and enlisted Kara DioGuardi for the job. It wasn't the best idea to add on a fourth judge because that meant more critiques to listen to. On top of that, the show sometimes went over its allotted time slot. More Idol was not a bad thing but for those who had it recorded on DVR meant not getting to see the end of the show.
Having a fourth judge on the show got mixed reviews, yet come season nine the producers still decided to go with the four judge panel. Kara DioGuardi's contract was renewed for another year, but unfortunately, we lost the beloved Paula Abdul as a judge, which was a big disappointment. To take Paula's place the producers enlisted Ellen DeGeneres to be the fourth judge. People weren't sure if Ellen was a great fit to be a judge but she proved that she could do it. Ellen provided valuable feedback to the contestants, sometimes even being tough on them like Simon. And she did make us laugh too.
At the end of season nine, Simon Cowell left the show to pursue other projects like X-Factor and people wondered what would happen to the show now that Simon would no longer be a part of it. Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres decided not to take part in the show anymore either, which left only Randy Jackson at the judging panel.
Producers had to scour for new judges to add to the almost empty panel and decided to go back to the original three people judging panel. Rumors started flying around that Jennifer Lopez (aka J.Lo) and Steven Tyler would be joining the panel and finally it was confirmed that they would be the new judges on the show. There were people who were fine with the new judge choices while others were very much against it. Still, the choice had been made and there was nothing that people could do about it. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler took part in the show and for two whole seasons. After two years were up they chose to move on to other projects. In part, it was sad to see them go but maybe a change in the judging panel will make the show more interesting... and keep people on their toes.
The question on everyone's mind was who will join Randy Jackson at the judge's table come season 12? Rumors were flying around about possible judges - Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Mariah Carey, Adam Lambert, and others... Finally, it was confirmed that Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj would join Randy Jackson on the judging panel along with country super star Keith Urban. It wasn't the smartest move on the part of the powers that be to put Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj together.
Besides the ongoing controversy between the female judges there didn't seem to any chemistry or spark among the judges. It also seemed like Mariah Carey had no real constructive criticism to offer the contestants, always giving praise to any contestant regardless of how he or she did that week. Nicki Minaj was constantly discussing wardrobe and fashion with each contestant, which I thought was pathetic because what's important is the voice and not how the person dresses. She did, however, offer constructive criticism that helped the contestants and was honest when giving feedback. Keith Urban was on point and actually helped the contestants rather than always praising them. Randy Jackson was his usual "dawg" self.
After the decline in the ratings for American Idol because of season twelve's feud between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey people wondered if this would be the end of the show we all grew to love back in 2002. The answer was NO. Clearly American Idol still brought in a lot of revenue for FOX, so it was coming back for season 13.
Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were no more and that was a great thing because there was no chemistry between them. They were always clashing. It didn't make for great TV but actually made it awkward to watch. No wonder the ratings dropped. Sometimes I wanted to switch the channel. But I kept on watching because it is about the contestants after all and not about who is sitting at the judge's table.
Randy Jackson also left the show to focus on other projects so Keith Urban was the only one left for season 13. But who would join him? Jennifer Lopez returned to judge and newcomer Harry Connick, Jr. was added to the panel. With the brand new judging panel Idol seemed to be out of its funk. The chemistry between the three judges was incredible. And the talent was amazing as well.
All three judges came back for season 14 where instead of the usual two episodes a week (the performance episode and the results episode) there was only one episode a week with the elimination results revealed in the same episode as the performances. I can't say I was a fan of that but it actually works. So You Think You Can Dance is doing the same thing for more than one season and it is still going strong.
I didn't think American Idol would go anywhere anytime soon but unfortunately season 15 will be its final season. Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez will all return for the farewell season, as will Ryan Seacrest who's been with the show since season one. I guess FOX doesn't see Idol as a profitable thing anymore. Oh well. All things must come to an end at some point. I just wish it wasn't so soon.