Prior to season 13 of American Idol starting we checked in on the general pulse of the show’s audience. It was lackluster, but still respectable by Idol standards. Let’s face it – the show was a game-changer when it first came onto the scene – but now like all shows that run their course, it’s struggling to stay alive.
The Fox show made some cosmetic tweaks prior to the season that saw a bump from the brutal ratings from last year’s finale, but it’s still losing audience to copycat shows like The Voice. Ultimately, the fresh, younger competition shows appeal to the younger audiences who are tuning in.
In a lot of ways, Idol is iconic. It’s like your respected elder that you dare not disrespect (See Harry Connick Jr. scolding bad contestants for “disrespecting the process”). Ryan Seacrest is still the host, and he’s better than Carson Daly. The judges and their banter seem to be appealing to fans, but ultimately all three judges don’t bring anything dynamic to the show.
So what’s the answer? Humiliate the bad contestants more? Play into the heartwarming personal stories more? There might not be one. A show that in its 4th season drew a record 38 million viewers for its finale doesn’t seem to have a magical recipe to get itself back on track. Ultimately, we applaud the show for not trying to change to keep up with the times. They’ve accepted that regardless of what they do Idol is inevitably going to show its gray hairs.
Admittedly, my attention has strayed to shows like The Voice and I’m not sure there’s anything Idol can do to get my full-attention back. It’s an iconic show that deserves respect, but what we’ve found with basically all entertainment these days – nothing lasts forever.