Idol in Distress
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.