April 16, 2007 07:00 PM by Joe Blackmon
Even though American Idol continues to get ratings that most TV shows
would kill for, the once indestructible force has started to show signs
of weakness in the ratings. Recent reports show American Idol is
having some of its lowest ratings in years.
A couple weeks ago American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe attempted to downplay that the problem was the talent level on the show. Lythgoe said “Listen, I would just like to watch all the other networks thinking God, we’d love our ratings to go down as badly as that. Even if we lost 50% of our audience we’d still be in the top three programs in the country, so I’m not really that worried and everyone keeps telling me it is a great deal to do with the daylight savings and also it affects the programs with the most ratings the highest, obviously.”
However, Lythgoe also went on to add “But to be honest about it, people are saying this is not our greatest year for talent; I don’t necessarily agree with them. I think we’ve got five or six of probably the best singers we’ve ever had on American Idol. But if it is a bad year for talent and we’ll find out I think over the next few weeks, then we do always watch a ratings drop of between 3% and 4% in that area.”
One of the people now professing that the talent level is not that great this year is none other than outspoken American Idol judge Simon Cowell. Entertainment Weekly quotes Simon Cowell as saying ”We’re doing as well as we are doing with not a great cast at the moment, to be honest with you. They’re not the best bunch of kids we’ve ever had.”
Simon Cowell also suggested that this year’s finalists might not be trying as hard because they think they will have careers just for making the top ten, which does make sense considering so many of the finalists last year wound up with records deals. Cowell is quoted as saying “”I think that we suffer from Jennifer Hudson- and Chris Daughtry-itis, which is people who didn’t win getting great careers and now a lot of the contestants believing it absolutely doesn’t matter.”
If this is the case and this year’s finalists are not trying as hard, then they might find themselves in for a rude awakening. American Idol 5 was the first year where the majority of finalists wound up with deals with major record labels, and the reason was because the overall talent level was very high. No one from this season should assume that they are going to get voted out of the competition in fourth place and then become the next Chris Daughtry unless they have the talent level of Chris Daughtry. In fact, American Idol 6 could very well be a season where only the winner winds up with a major recording contract.
So is the talent level a problem on this year’s American Idol? Way back in mid-March, Reality TV Magazine raised the talent level issue in an article entitled “Should American Idol Be Fixed?“ The last two years of American Idol spoiled many viewers by presenting a very diverse and talented cast. While American Idol 6 has some very talented individual singers, the overall talent level definitely seems to be down this year and that probably has more to do with the ratings decline than daylight savings time.