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Idol in Distress

Updated on August 10, 2009
Jackson, Cowell and Abdul pictured with host Ryan Seacrest.
Jackson, Cowell and Abdul pictured with host Ryan Seacrest.
And then there were four. DioGuardi joins the team.
And then there were four. DioGuardi joins the team.
And the winner is...not Adam Lambert
And the winner is...not Adam Lambert
Abdul reacts to a performance on American Idol Season 8
Abdul reacts to a performance on American Idol Season 8

Note to Captain Warwick-

Sound the alarms, man your stations, and prepare for mutiny. Your Mother Ship is in distress, and there may not be enough life boats to go around this time.

American Idol is in trouble, and a rather large segment of the audience is on the brink of desertion From the Internet chat rooms to the office water cooler, they are talking about the future of A.I., and the chit chat isn't good.

Let's review the original foundation of the show:

Formula: Three judges, thousands of hopeful contestants, and boat loads of talent.

Objective: Select a finalist by voting for the best singer in the competition.

Outcome: A new American Idol is crowned and everyone lives happily ever after.

Simple enough, but in recent months a flurry of controversy and fan frustration have infused doubt into the happily ever after part, and this time it's serious. Here are the distress signals plaguing American Idol Season 8, as noted by some disenchanted long-time fans of the show.

#1 - The introduction of a fourth judge. While there were varied opinions about the introduction of Kara DioGuardi into the mix, the real question was "why?" "If something's not broken, then why the sudden need to fix it?" Nevertheless, viewers went along for the ride, and let that one slide..

#2 - The excessive amount of commercials. My condolences to viewers who didn't have a DVR that enabled them to zip through the myriad of ads each week. On the other hand, my condolences to whoever did have a DVR one week when the show ran into overtime, causing viewers to miss Adam Lambert's performance of Mad World. They also missed the standing ovation Lambert received from Simon Cowell after his performance. A rare act in itself. One or two less commercials would have prevented that timing snafu from happening.

Note to all Networks

Please do not underestimate the intelligence of your viewers.They take offense to you placing more attention on advertising revenue, than on providing a reasonable hour of entertainment for them. You would do well to remember that these viewers are your real stock holders, and they can dump their shares just by changing the channel.

#3 - Adam Lambert loses. Some would not call this an upset, but many would. In fact, millions did. Notably, the more prudent viewers who text-ed and phoned-in their weekly votes responsibly, unlike those who admitted to texting up to 3000 times for Kris Allen. Perhaps the producers could get a better handle on this and limit the number of texts allowed each week, per phone or household. Most agree that if this season was regarded as an actual vocal competition, Lambert would have won by a landslide. Nothing against, Kris Allen. He is certainly a talented artist who deserves his due respect. But even Allen was shell-shocked by his own win. If it's simply a popularity contest, then call it that. If it is a vocal competition, then honor your most talented singer by ensuring that vote counts and methods are fair. This one still has many scratching their heads.

#4 - Paula Abdul says "goodbye". The "Forever Your Girl" took a pass on a seemingly low offer from the show's producers and danced her way home, delivering what could be the final blow. There is already talk of an American Idol boycott next season. Abdul has been a part of Idol from the word "go", and quickly became a fan favorite. She was also highly regarded by the contestants. They viewed her as an advocate and teacher who provided them with unwavering encouragement. Lambert himself was quoted as saying that he "felt safe" with her. By not coming up with a fair deal, the producers have adios'd the goose that laid the golden egg. Or one of them, anyway. Abdul, even with her occasionally bizarre behavior, contributed a great deal to the overall dynamic of the show. What will Simon be without Paula? Like Burns without Allen, or Ricky without Lucy, one would imagine. Good chemistry is hard to come by. You either have it or you don't, and without it you are disconnected. No matter what celebrity panelists they bring in next season, Paula will be noticeably absent, and the ratings may be too.....followed by the advertising revenue.

How's that for a formula?

One of these issues by itself might be overlooked, or at least tolerated. Collectively, however, they arouse further discontent. Or perhaps worse... indifference; a very dangerous condition. Certainly there are those who have no concerns with how or why Lambert lost, or with Abdul leaving the show. It's hard to put a number on those with that opinion, as opposed to those who would love to see the captain get his ship in order and rectify the issues at hand. In any event, the risk management team has their work cut out for them on this one.

But in the spirit of all things Hollywood, the show will still go on, perhaps with a different audience this time around; one that's more accepting of a new format and a new Ford commercial. Then there will be the forgiving assembly of last season's viewers that will tune in for the reasons that drew them to Idol in the first place. For the things that remain unchanged - zany auditions, a mega-talented top ten, and a weekly game of "Simon Says".

I can speak for more than a handful of viewers however, who will say that they sent up the flare, but no one came.

So they watched a ship sink, with Simon, Randy and Kara on board.

Will American Idol Be More or Less Successful in Season 9

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      From this article:"continuously share where you are even in the bakourcgnd once you've closed the app."I would like to share my location with my friend or my coworker sometimes on a need to know basis. I don't know whether you'd be able to turn the bakourcgnd updating off, but if you cannot, I'd say no thanks to this app.Theoritically, a good approach would be that when a person closes the app, it should shut off in the bakourcgnd too. Because the person, especially if he or she is not tech adept and naive, is assuming that by closing the app, the person has stopped sharing his or her location. But this is apparently not so.Now someone can answer to this and it would correct: "In the settings of the app you can turn on and off bakourcgnding."The problem is, lot of people who use iphone are wary about the settings, or are just plain uncomfortable with techy settings, or sometimes totally clueless that a setting like that might exist, or even bothered about fiddling with settings. You can disagree with me, but there are a lot of people out there who are like that.And for those people who don't turn it off properly, and they are assuming they have turned it off by closing the app...they might get into problematical or tricky or embarassing situations.Google could have avoided all that, by asking a simple question when the user is closing the app "Would you like to shut off bakourcgnd updating too?" It would have been better programming in my sense. But that's just me, and I respect other people's opinions.

    • jennifer maurer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Maurer 

      8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      To Gimme a break,

      A little controversy-I love it! And you're exercising your right to free speech. I love that too. It's what this country is all about. With that said,I'm glad we don't elect our presidents the way we choose our idols, regardless of how many Adam/Kris voters abused the voting system.

      As for the "biased" angle of my story, you bet. This is not the New York Times, it's my opinion-and I'm paid well to give it. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, though.

    • profile image

      Gimme a break 

      8 years ago

      "Notably, the more prudent viewers who text-ed and phoned-in their weekly votes responsibly, unlike those who admitted to texting up to 3000 times for Kris Allen."

      And I'm sure that absolutely NO Adam Lambert fans bothered to vote that many times for Adam. No, of course not. Lambert's fans weren't loyal enough to do that, I'm sure. None of them are that fanatical.

      Of COURSE Lambert's rabid fans did the same thing, but I guess pointing that out would defeat the obviously biased angle of your post, wouldn't it?

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      just talking to my co worker today. probably won't watch idol this season. Adam was exploited, humiliated, and robbed by the idol machine..ryan seacrest is such a jerk..yet he gets the big bucks along with the Brit and Paula the true blue supporter of the contestants does not get what she deserves. Adam won't bad mouth idol and it will all work out for him (maybe even better since he did not "win" the title, but the way he was treated on camera was apalling. I was pissed off enough a few years ago with the Daughtry debacle, but this year sealed the deal.

    • rvsource profile image


      8 years ago

      All good points Jennifer. I will still watch, no matter what, I simply love that show and enjoy the talent that come out. I agree that Adam should have won, he did in my book!

      Look at him now

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Heard that Paula is not going to be on Idol anymore; that's really sad coz I really like here there..

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm one who is jumping ship with Paula this season. I was sickened by the Lambert snub, when only about 50 of my 2100 call in votes got through that night (yes, I was THAT impressed by this superstar in the making!) and pretty much had made up my mind that never again would I allow myself to be manipulated and punched in the stomach by the AI machine, but when I heard Paula was leaving, well, that just put the exclamation point at the end of my "never again" sentence.

      Paula is the heart of American Idol, and without a heart the show is just another empty cold period of air time to me (which is the reason I don't watch any other reality show). The heart of AI is what made it worth watching for me. Sure it was exciting and nail-bitingly anxiety producing every week as we voted and waited and found out who was eliminated. But it was Paula's heartfelt empathy for the contestants that gave that competition its anchor. In a competition where you have a Simon Cowell (who I also love and respect for his unique contribution to AI), you need a Paula Abdul, or the show just becomes too hard edged for viewers like me to bear the emotional nicks and scratches. The real world delivers way too much of that, thank you very much.

      And there's something to be said for a show that offers, amidst ever shifting political and economic sands and the problems of everyday life, a familiar and comfortable place to visit each week with old friends, Simon, Paula, Randy and Ryan, and share that common experience we have come to look forward to each week. Kara somehow doesn't fill that place very well. She is an accomplished singer/songwriter, but she's got a hard edge where a soft one will be needed with Paula gone.

      I do believe we will be hearing the death bell tolling for AI after this season is over.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      ADAM WAS ROBBED!No more idol for me.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      NOT WATCHING IDOL EVERY AGAIN! NOT after the Adam Lambert loss. I am not a sore loser, but there was really no contest between Adam and the other contestants. He was the best, hands down. That show is rigged and everyone knows it. Whether the voting system is askew or the producers actually pick the winner so it is an upset, I don't know, but Adam is THE BEST WHO HAS EVER BEEN ON AI STAGE.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I will probably watch, but lost a lot of respect when Adam lost due to the stupidity of a voting system like none other. Limit the votes to one per phone number and one text per cellphone and have it be really accurate for a change. Then we would also see just how many people actually vote...they make it seem like 100 million people when it reality it was 10 million voting a 100 times. Just plain dumb. The winner is the one with fans who caved into this goofy system. I am 68 yrs old and I even gave in to voting for 2 hours....was afraid not to....

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      There is no doubt in my mind that Adam Lambert should have won, but I got over it, partially because I saw how completely gracious he was, secondly if one noted the aftermath, the publicity he has gotten vs Kris Allen( who indeed is also very talented in a different way), one would see that he really did win, and as he has said many times, he won what he wanted, exposure. I was not planning to watch AI last year, but heard this incredibly heavenly voice from the other side of my house, saw a dark haired young man singing Queen's Bohemian Rahapsody, and I was hooked. There will not be another Adam, but there might be another talented young American who has the courage to go before America with their uniqueness like he did, so I will watch AI again.

    • elisabethkcmo profile image


      8 years ago from Just East of Oz

      I heard someone say that Paula is one who really brought interest to the judges and made it a reality show..

      I guess American Idol is getting

      "too big for it's britches"

    • jennifer maurer profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Maurer 

      8 years ago from Chicago, IL

      good luck idol. I really appreciate your comments and you make some really valid points. My problem has always been this - I know that in reality, it has always been a popularity contest. My contention is that they hide behind the premise that it's a singing competition.Call it what it is and stop objecting when people say it's not just about the voice. If you look at the term Idol, it does not imply just a singer, but someone who is looked up to for many reasons. In that context, the show is named properly. But if they want to keep insisting it's a vocal competition, then call it American Singing Idol. And you're right, they had better bring it or else....I think we've just seen the beginning of the end. I predict that Simon is not far behind Paula.

    • profile image

      good luck idol 

      8 years ago

      Personally I don't think I could have stomached another year of Paula hogging the camera. I liked her better when she was so stoned she didn't even know where she was. Can't they find a loving caring sappy foil for Simon that can put together a coherent sentence?

      The voting system always was a popularity contest. I guess the idea is if you spend hours voting (for whatever reason) you are more likely to buy that first album. Problem was this year, some of us think we found a super star and the voting system suddenly became a whole lot less tolerable.

      Idol had better bring it next season or they are in deep doo doo.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I posted this elsewhere too - I was already considering abandoning AI for Season 9 because I believe they found the top of the talent with Adam Lambert this year, but I was wavering because I always enjoyed the banter between Paula and Simon. Now a season with no Adam AND no Paula leaves me with NO INTEREST in watching. The day Adam makes an appearance, I will watch, for him and only for him. Otherwise it's adios AI for me (and I've watched since Season 2).

    • profile image

      Eva Sullivan 

      8 years ago

      I will not wawtch Idol again! Adam Lambert was clearly the most talented singer and I did my part honestly to ensure his win.Shell shocked is a good word for Kris Allens win. Simon always says things about the girls being too fat but yet sayed nothing to Ruben Stodderd about his weight. I dont get it! I will not watch again. The dissapointment out weighs the highs on this show!I will go to see ADAM LAMBERT perform in Albany NY. He and he only deserved the title of American Idol 2009!


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