What’s Wrong With ‘American Idol’? Maybe Its Viewers

Casey Abrams, American Idol, Smells Like Teen Spirit

Casey Abrams avoided an early exit when Idol judges saved him.

Ryan Seacrest hinted during the American Idol results show last night that there was a shocker on the way. And he was right. Haley Reinhart didn’t get sent home — wasn’t even in the Bottom Three. Shocking!

Who almost got sent home was Casey Abrams, the scruffy-breaded, sometimes wild-eyed growler. I’m not saying Casey could win, or should win. But an exit this early? Hardly just.

And the judges agreed, using their lone “save” to keep Casey in the competition.

Some of the water cooler talk surrounding Idol the last few seasons has been this basic question: “What’s wrong with American Idol?” I say, maybe it’s the people watching the show.

American Idol has developed a huge credibility problem over the last five seasons. An Idol winner hasn’t become a bonafide superstar since Carrie Underwood (Season 4). My theory goes like this. As the show got higher and higher ratings, voting by viewers became less instinctive at picking the next music superstar.

Taylor Hicks, American Idol, Season 5

Taylor Hicks

In other words, right about the time your grandma starting watching the show, we started getting winners like Taylor Hicks instead of Chris Daughtry. Oh, and I’m not blaming your grandma. ‘Cuz she’s awesome!

I’m blaming viewers? I’m a really saying this? Yep.

Have voters become extremely predictable, especially favoring guys over girls? I wrote about that last season Read it here — how around Top 12 Week we often see all-girl Bottom Threes. And right on schedule,  it happened again this year. Guys tend to find “supporters” quicker. And it’s clear that favoritism continues through the season.

Four out of the last five winners have been guys (Taylor Hicks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze). Interestingly, the lone female Idol winner of the last five years, Jordin Sparks, has sold the most albums of those five winners.

So there ya go. It’s the voting. It’s clear viewers of this show prefer the Kris Allens over the Adam Lamberts. I think that explains why Casey Abrams nearly departed before his time.

Most of all, I miss the days when an Idol winner was someone who could be a superstar. When it come to winners, gimme more Kelly Clarksons. More Carries. Fewer Lee DeWyzes.

Greg Valentine
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  1. ‘American Idol’ – With Casey Abrams Save – Wins Thursday Ratings…

    Idol’s top 11 results show averaged a 6.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic with 22.4 million viewers overall. That was 9 percent bump in the demo week-to-week and 6 percent in total viewers. Idol’s ratings spiked in the last half hour — growing 21……

    • Seems to me, the Casey “shocker” and save will juice Idol’s rating this week. They got a lot of buzz last week for that results show. This is what producers have been hoping for…

  2. nick said

    Jordan has sold over 1.3 million albums an 9 million tracks off of 2 albums and 1 EP and ranks as the #4 top Idol earner. David Cook has sold the same 1.3 million albums and 3.9 million tracks, but off of only 1 album (his latest due out this Spring) and ranks as the #5 top Idol earner. The top 3? #3 Daughtry (2 albums) #2 Underwood (3 albums) #1 Clarkson (4 albums)

  3. spinner said

    it was a good idea to keep Casey on for the Idol tour, if i ever considered buying tickets to that, he would be the only reason i would go

    • I’m definitely looking forward to what Casey brings to the stage from week-to-week. My feeling is he’ll have to find a way, probably this week, to show that softer, sweeter vocal he has in him. Too much growl won’t help him this week. Maybe find a song that gives him a moment to show that intensity, while spotlighting that softer side. My guess is he will find that song — and this’ll be a big “comeback” week for ’em.

  4. Daughtry came in 4TH PLACE cuz he was and is an arrogant SOB. Nobody liked him. Kat, Elliott and Taylor all beat him. He sucks.

  5. Ange Bleu said

    All those people who pickup the phone and vote for the homeboy over & over again, legitimately or otherwise, do not translate into people who will buy recordings. It’s Idol’s voting system that is at fault & should be overhauled. The number of votes cast differs dramatically (sometimes over 500 to 1) from the number of people who actually vote. Hence low sales.

    • Well put, Ange Bleu. The passion for voting among the Idol “Super Voters” is both impressive and kind of ridiculous. In the end, I don’t it helps the show’s credibility (because of the low sales of recent Idol winners, my blog above). Mathematically, it seems this fraction of the total Idol viewing audience probably has tremendous impact on who stays and goes week-to-week.

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