Posts Tagged Taylor Hicks

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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Idol Thoughts – 05.12.10

So, last night Michael Lynche was eliminated (again) on American Idol. Here’s a few thoughts this morning, to use Ryan Seacrest‘s careful wording from last night, “in no particular order.”

First off, those Seacrest words were kinda an important detail last night. If you missed them, you might’ve assumed Crystal Bowersox was in the Bottom Two. We really don’t know. The finalists were sent to safety (and the Top 3) one at a time, starting with Casey James, then Lee DeWyze, then Crystal Bowersox.

We don’t know who got the most votes. We don’t know who got the second least. All we know is Big Mike got the lowest amount. Some Idol fans might be frustrated by that. I’m not. In fact, I kinda like knowing that I don’t know. It adds an element of surprise to the two upcoming weeks.

This brings up another thought. Is a Lee-Crystal finale a done deal? They seem to have been the front-runners for a while now. Is there anything Casey can do next week to change that? I don’t know the answer to that. I’d be curious what others think.

I see two sides. On the one hand, yes, they’re the front-runners and it makes sense. Casey’s been in the Bottom Two a couple times. Lee and Crystal have never been. On the other hand, the last two seasons have had guy vs. guy finales, making it seem the block of females who simply vote for their favorite “cute guy” have taken over once and for all. (And c’mon, you know that block of voters exists. Don’t hate on me for pointing it out.)

And let’s not eliminate one other scenario. Casey delivers an amazing performance next week, and America responds with well-deserved votes, sending him into the finale. I honestly like all three. So whatever happens, I’ll be sad to see one leave, but happy for the other two.

Nevertheless (here comes another thought), I think I’m on board with the growing number of voices out there saying this is one of Idol‘s most boring seasons. No Paula Adbul. Simon Cowell seems like he’s already moved on mentally to his next show, the U.S. version of X Factor. And after a season featuring contestants with pipes and big-to-solid personalities (Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta), this season’s Top 12 are a bit dry.

But I think it’s too easy (and too “fashionable”) to say this is the most boring season. The fact is Crystal Bowersox is unlike any Idol contestant before, not unlike how Adam Lambert was in his way last year. In some previous seasons, the likes of Bo Bice and Diana DeGarmo made it into the finale. Heck, Taylor Hicks won the thing! I’d hope even the biggest Crystal hater would agree she’s more talented than the likes of them.

Another thought, what’s the real point of the “Judge’s Save?” Is it to give a performer another chance to win the show? I say no. I don’t think anyone who gets saved will ever win Idol. There’s some fundamental reason why people weren’t voting for that person that won’t go away just because the judge’s override America’s decision.

Clearly, the save is a ratings gimmick for the show, thought of in some brainstorming meeting as producers looked for ways to freshen the show as ratings began to dip. Whether it’s helping ratings remains to be seen. The one thing The Save does do is help a performers recording career. No doubt Michael Lynche will sell more music now then he would have if he’d gone home six weeks ago.

A couple other things we learned last night: winning American Idol doesn’t guarantee you’ll sound great my to ears six years later (Fantasia Barrino, who wowed me back-in-the-day, but not-so-much last night); Finishing fourth on Idol doesn’t mean you won’t go on to be the show’s third biggest-selling artist (Daughtry, my fave then…and now); And that Bon Jovi rocks. I guess that last one was never really in question.

Greg Valentine
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Idol Thoughts — 03.31.10

It’s definitely getting harder for DVR freaks like me to speed past the commercials on American Idol. In between ads disguised as part of the show for Clash of the Titans, and Ford, we did actually get some results last night.

Didi Benami was “ushered” home, and now seeks an answer to the very question she sang Tuesday night: What becomes of the brokenhearted?

Well, for starters, there’s the Idol concert tour. Didi will be part of that. But traditionally, tenth-place finishers don’t go on to massive recording careers.

Hey, sometimes Idol winners have trouble selling albums. Enter Ruben Studdard, who performed early in the show last night, a new song called “Don’t Make ‘Em Like You No More.” While Ruben, Season 2’s champ, is far from Idol‘s most successful victor, he’s not it’s least, either. Taylor Hicks, ears burning? Ruben’s song was clearly designed for the Urban AC (Adult Contemporary) radio format. And while I’m not rushing to iTunes to download it today, it seemed to be a respectful effort for his audience. And kudos on the whole health thing. “The Velvet Teddy Bear” has shed some pounds and gone vegan.

There was also news last night of an upcoming concert tour featuring Ruben and and Season 2’s runner-up Clay Aiken. Ummm…good times, great oldies?

Also on the bill last night was this week’s mentor, Usher, who performed (a little out-of-breath) “OMG” with And joining the festivities later was Diddy, who was simultaneously humble, gracious, over-the-top and a great salesman, with his new thing (group? project?), Diddy Dirty Money. Backed by a couple female singers, and a huge crew of dancers, everybody dressed in white and surrounded by smoke, they did a song called “Hello (Good Morning)” and America went looking for their pagers, blurted out “Waassssuuuup” and enjoyed a collective 90s flashback.

As for the Bottom Three, that went as I suggested yesterday: Katie Stevens, Tim Urban and Didi Benami. Katie being sent to safety. And between Tim and Didi, Tim dodging yet another bullet, and Didi Benami going home.

Tim’s got a little Diddy in him–the salesman part. Or maybe he’s more politician. They keep asking Tim, a seeming “resident” of the  Bottom Two, why he always smiles. Same reason any person running for office who’s 30 points behind in the polls smiles to their followers: to inspire some confidence, to make people feel they’re not wasting their vote, and to make they feel they’re part of something.

Well, during Idol, there’s always another election coming. And it’s less than a week away. Thoughts today?

Greg Valentine
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