May 25, 2010

As "American Idol," the season, comes to an end tonight, we've got to wonder if "American Idol," the series, is also dying.

It's fallen in the ratings, and this season seemed wan...
Lead judge Simon Cowell is fleeing to bring Fox his own show next year, the British hit "The X Factor," though rumors fly that producers are talking about Cowell's retaining some sort of on-air role with "Idol." Although plenty of names have been bandied about — Harry Connick Jr., Jamie Foxx, Elton John — producers have been mum about who will replace him....
Mum, probably because they don't have a good name. Connick is the best of those 3, all of whom were guest mentors this season. The worst is Elton John, though he does have an English accent. 
"I don't think anyone can replace Simon; he became the Capt. Kirk of the show," said veteran reality producer Scott Sternberg, who is not connected to "Idol."
Because you could never do a "Star Trek" season without Captain Kirk.

And then there was Ellen:
"She played it very safe," Sternberg said. "She said not a lot, a few jokes here and there. She was extraordinarily neutral. … I'm not sure whether Fox reaped the benefits of casting her."
Eh. Sternberg's kind of dense. Ellen did what she was supposed to. She kept it brief and provided humor and niceness. But it really was a mistake to think it was a good idea to have a judge with no music expertise.

Anyway... we're still watching. I guess I hope Lee wins, even though it's annoyed me that the judges have shown extreme favoritism for him over these last few weeks. He's the paint store guy, the everyman, who went through the classic narrative arc. Crystal began and ended the same way: excellent, secure, professional. She maintained her cool and didn't get swept up in the show the way they wanted. There's something nicely subtle and modest about her that will work better without the burden of winning the show.

A poll, to be answered only by people who care about the outcome tonight. That is, there's no "who cares?" option, because I don't care that a lot of people don't care. I mean, duh. Don't vote if you don't care.

Who should win?
Crystal free polls


PatCA said...

Lee has shown the most growth, I think, so his "journey" has engaged me more.

I kind of liked Crystal more when she jumped into Lee's arms when they both were announced. To me, she had been a bit too cool, or maybe just not feeling well, before that.

SGT Ted said...

It'd be nice to see a version of American Idol that focused on entire bands and not just cutesy pop front people. The latter just reeks of the cookie cutter manufactured-like-sausage "Nashville with a tan" corporate marketing phoneyness.

Pastafarian said...

Althouse said: "I mean, duh."

Jeremy, is that you?

SteveR said...

The formula has become stale. Some people have never liked the show but for those who have, its become too predictable. Guests and mentors generally uninteresting, judges comments (other than an occasional Simon) not particularly insightful and there's too much wasted time for the only real drama, the performances and elimination announcement. Change the faces and for the most part its the same show it was 6 years ago.

k*thy said...

"There's something nicely subtle and modest about her that will work better without the burden of winning the show."

Agreed. She'll be fine, better off actually, coming in second. She'll have more flexibility in her own projects and career - and I'm looking forward to seeing (hearing) what she does with that.

Kirstin said...

I liked a three-judge panel.

Scott said...

My partner and I saw Patrick Stewart at a pita and falafel place on 14th St. in Manhattan a couple of Saturdays ago. He's shorter than I imagined, and he has a well shaped but pronounced belly, as if he's doing the crunches but not depriving himself of the fast food. He was wearing a hot pink tee shirt and had a female-looking thing in tow.


Brent said...

As someone who has worked within the business in promotion and marketing, I can pretty much safely say that neither Lee nor Crystal will come out of Idol as a true star - they just don't have the chops yet.

Question: of all the winners of American Idol, which names are recognized by even 66% of the American public? Answer: only Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. That's 2 out of 8 (25%)

Basically, it's an entertainment show that failed to deliver an "American Idol" - a Superstar - more than 75% of it's run.

Leland said...

I care, to some extent, because I like seeing good talent. But my interest waned during last year, and didn't pick up much this year. I think the triumverant of judges was good. The 4th member, particularly a permenant member, just makes for a longer period of critique, and less work from the talent. I guess it depends on what one considers the "talent" on American Idol.

The singing talent could use more critique and assistance, but make some of that backstage and make them better performers. I point to Fox's other growing success "So You Think You Can Dance". There, the dancing talent gets worked on by professional talent every week. This makes for a better show each week.

As for this season, I like Crystal for, as you say, not getting caught up in the show. She's a good singer and has a better future. You're probably right about being better off not winning, but then, that's another reasons that AI has outlived its usefulness to singing talent.

A.W. said...

I think the real problem is that they have just about tapped out the unheralded talent.

My prediction: they have already announced a casting call, so they are stuck. so it limps through one season without simon and then folds.

or maybe not. how much does it even cost to run the show? probably not much. fox is a genius of figuring out how to make hits out of cheap shows. so maybe it doesn't have to make much money to be in the black.

myself, i thought ellen was fine. sometimes she really had insight and i think really made people better. i don't think you necessarily have to have good musical expertise. sometimes taste is all that matters.

Leland said...


I don't fully disagree with your comment, but I'd up their seasonal success (if not winner success) to 33%. They did have Chris Daughtry in another year. But then, had they stopped at Season 5, they would have been 60% successful on a yearly basis. Call it the peak.

Then again, if you use that criteria, SYTYCD is rather unsuccessful. Unless you count the performers who got a professional spot on DWTS.

Sofa King said...'re saying Patrick Stewart should replace Simon?

Original Mike said...

"Because you could never do a "Star Trek" season without Captain Kirk."

Very well done, Althouse.

Scott said...

@Sofa King: I'm not saying that, but the idea is scintillating. I bet Patrick could out-bitch Simon any day.

Scott said...

Too bad Phil Spector is in prison. I bet he would have been a great Simon substitute.

What other entertainment industry insider could fill his shoes?

Ryan said...

This is one of my biggest pet peeves - it happened to me at a family party, I commented about some local sports team and my sister-in-law shot back - "Who Cares?" I looked her straight in the eye and said, "I do, or I probably would not have brought it up."

Me, I like Lee.

Trooper York said...

They destroyed the show when they dumped Paula for Kara.

Paula was the only thing that kept Simon interested. He loved the crazy. Not the bitchy.

Trooper York said...

The X-factor which will reunite Paula and Simon will take Idol's spot. But the genre has had a good run. Nothing lasts forever.

Brent said...


By any standard, Chris Daughtry is a talented performer (I'm a fan), and American Idol worked for him.

But the real standard of the show, after all, is to produce "Superstars!": American Idols.

And by that standard, it's somewhat a failure.

Now if the standard is to make money, or entertain, or get ratings, it's a huge success.

Finally, over 66% of the American public recognizes the names Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. how many recognize the name of the talented Chris Daughtry?

Trooper York said...

Hey did you guys ever hear of Jennifer Hudson. Just sayn

Trooper York said...

I mean she did win an Academy award or something like that there.

Which none of the prostitution whores from Sex and City have ever come close too.

Trooper York said...

One of those skanks winning an Academy award would be ludicrous.

I mean it would like some guy who just got elected President for a month or two winning the Nobel Peace prize.

I mean seriously.

MadisonMan said...

My interest this season has tailed off mightily. I guess my tastes run counter to the voting public. I mean, they ditched Alex of the interesting voice, and Siobhan of the interesting voice before Aaron.

It's not like I buy music, although I can identify Kris Allen's song on the radio, and Adam Lambert's.

I hope Crystal wins. I'm tired of the judges overpraising Lee, and men in general, on Idol.

Trooper York said...

I think it is in the bag for Lee.

They have been pimping him non-stop and they don't like to be gainsayed.

But I have been wrong with all of my predictions this year so why change now.

Trooper York said...

I do predict that Ellen will strip down to a bikini at the finale like Kara did last year.


Blair said...

I think your picture of Patrick Stewart proves the analogy, ironically. What was Star Trek TNG without him? I know I wasn't watching it for Jonathan Frakes.

Cedarford said...

Judging this year was the dysfunctional part. Producers also making really bad "pimp package" decisions. "Our focus groups of senior citizens and kids under 6 years old indicate America Just Loves Michael Lynche. Adorable! He has a baby!" Focus on him and the other mid-20 somethings. Ignore those teen contestants like Alex, Aaron and the strange girl with the voice that some silly men think is hotter than we lady producers beloved MomaSox!"

MInTheGap said...

Were you being ironic, posting a photo of "Captain Picard" instead of "Captain Kirk" to make a point? :)

In any case, I believe you're correct, and I'm not even a regular viewer. Simon was/is the focal point of the show because the others were always too "nice". It will be tough to replace him.