Monday, May 27, 2024

Interest in “American Idol” Wanes as Ratings Drop 38% Since Season Start, Over 2 Mil Viewers Leave


When “American Idol” began its newest season on ABC in February. it had decent ratings if not the kind it used to have on Fox back in the Simon Cowell days.

The opening segment on February 14th drew 6.96 million viewers. That was down from last season’s finale by 14%, but the show was still hanging in there.

Producers thought they’d use Claudia Conway, daughter of Trump lackey Kellyanne Conway, as a lure. But that didn’t work out as Claudia, though plucky, was too young and didn’t have the chops.

The show expanded from Sunday to Sunday and Monday shows on March 22nd. Monday shows never do as well as Sunday ones, but you’d think the cliffhanger aspect would keep the Sunday audience. It hasn’t.

Last night’s “American Idol” produced just 4.717 million viewers, down a whopping 38% since the start of the season. Over two million viewers have gradually drifted away.

“American Idol” once created stars like Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and so on. Even minor stars like Phillip Phillips managed to score hits. That’s when the show had a deal with Clive Davis and his J Records — then part of BMG — which had the know how and interest to capitalize on the attention.

But “Idol,” like “The Voice,” hasn’t created a star in a long time. The last ‘name’ winner was Phillips, in Season 11. This is Season 19. Can you name last year’s winner? No? Her name was Just Sam. What happened to her? The pandemic can’t be the answer for everything.

I’ve reluctantly watched some of “Idol” this season. There’s just so much you can take of it. The judges– Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan– are fine. I like them. But the contestants become more and more enervating. They over-sing or under perform, their song choices are terrible, and after a while it all becomes a blur. The show no longer knows how to find a star. They’re too concerned with back stories of poverty, abandonment, and tragedies to find any real talent.

And so it goes. The audience is tired, too. They’re leaving, in droves. Maybe it’s time to wrap this up. (Katy Perry really needs to get back to her career. She’s too talented to waste her good years on this stuff.)


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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