The 13th season of American Idol will soon be upon us. I have been an Idol watcher since the first season. Yes, it has taken a few hits in recent years in the ratings. The Voice has emerged as the #1 singing competition show on television. Plus there has been drama in front of camera (fighting or lack of chemistry with judges panel) and behind the scenes with the show (change of executive producer; lame theme nights) too. Not to mention a few too many years of white guys with guitars winning the show also. But you know what? Idol is still the best at what it does. And that is — it makes stars. I think it says a lot that NBC chose an American Idol winner to headline “The Sound of Music — Live”. They could have cast someone from “The Voice”, but they needed a superstar and that show has not produced one yet. Same for “The X Factor” too (at least the US version).
The drama with the judges panel should be over now. This season will have Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. Keith is back for a 2nd season, and J Lo. is on season 3 (non-consecutive). Harry is new to the panel but not new to Idol. He has served as a mentor before. Not crazy about the idea of Randy Jackson replacing Jimmy Iovine as the consultant w/ the contestants. But we’ll see. Jimmy has been the voice of reason for the last few seasons, so I am sorry to see him go.
As for the contestants themselves, I think last season’s winner (Candice Glover) was the best winner they have had in a long time. She is an amazing singer. And I am glad that she is taking her time with her album. It was supposed to come out last July, only 2 months after winning. Instead it will come out in February 2014. She is definitely a star, and I hope that she gets the material she deserves.
As for the show itself, I hope that there are a few changes in store. Let the talent speak for itself! Last season it seems like the contestants were tilted in favor of the women. I had a hard time believing that the Top Ten guys were the best they saw. Why not let the viewers see more of the Hollywood Week? Sometimes the producers have followed people because they have an interesting story… not because they are the best vocalists. Does a person have to have suffered and struggled to make them relatable? I don’t think so… as long as they are humble.
I think it is nice that they have allowed the contestants to play their instruments in the competition. How about letting them play more of their original songs if they have them? What about having a songwriting session with some top songwriters? Maybe nothing would come of it — but then again maybe there could be a hit there.
As for the theme weeks, I say OK as long as it allows the singer to stay within their genre. Sure, it is nice to say a person can sing rock, pop, country, R&B and more. But most artists know what suits them best. And if your style is country, you should not have to sing a Michael Jackson or Queen song just because that is the theme that week. So keep “Songs from the Year You Were Born” and “Billboard Hot 100 Songs” but ditch the aforementioned Queen and Beatles weeks. How about “Songs That Should Have Been Hits” or “Love Songs” week? I liked the idea of “One Hit Wonders” but the way it happened last time, it was a bunch of songs that had been remade over and over (yes, the were big hits, but I was thinking more of like “Take on Me” by a-ha than what we ended up with).
Cutting the results show down to half an hour makes sense. It is usually just a bunch of filler and than 5 minutes of results. I do like seeing all the old Idol alumni come back and perform. And I guess I am the only one who likes to see the group numbers. I could do without the Coke commercials and what the contestants think about each other. Or what it is like living at the Idol house.
So I hope you will join me for another season of the best singing competition show on television. All of the music sales, #1 hits, accolades, and awards speak for themselves. This is where superstars are born!
KiltManinSoCal is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and Real Men Wear Kilts lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.