American Idol’s ratings are simply not what they used to be. And who could forget the drastic mistake last season that was putting Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on the same panel? Yikes. But I’ve been watching their thirteenth season consistently and I must say, it seems like thirteen really is a lucky number. Here are a few reasons why I think Idol has made a comeback.
1. No time is wasted. Back in the audition rounds, they wasted very little time on those with clearly no talent. We got to see a few funny characters, but for the most part, the focus is solely on talent this season. Same goes for the sob stories–sure, they are tearjerkers, but they are not always musically gifted. Those who are cut out for the show get picked; those who aren’t get cut. I like that they don’t waste any time and instead, it’s all about the real deal. Which brings me to my next point…
2. The talent is there. The whole bunch is just freaking talented. Each contestant has a completely unique voice that makes it SO hard to choose a favorite! I love how they each put their own sound on the songs they do. For example, Alex Preston’s version of “Story of My Life” is still stuck in my head. And Jena Irene’s performance of “Clarity”? Completely the right choice!
3. New and old judges = great chemistry. A country megastar, a Latina pop sensation, and a Nawlins jazz singer all walk into a bar…no, that’s not a joke! That’s just the Idol judges on a day off! This new panel is the perfect balance of talent, wisdom, and sympathy. J.Lo perfectly fills the void of the caring mother figure that Paula Abdul left. “Harsh Harry” (Connick Jr.), as he has been nicknamed, seems to fill the Simon void by being honest in order to help them improve (hey, someone’s gotta do it). And Keith, the incumbent judge, is the perfect amount of kindness and critique. The way they interact with host Ryan Seacrest is priceless, but you can also really see that they care about their jobs by their image of professionalism.
4. Has anyone else noticed the cool editing?! I LOVE the fresh makeover that the Idol editors have created. Even the logo is new (sweet Roman numerals, bro). They now show everyone’s Twitter and Instagram names. Each contestant has their own voting number so you never have to worry about getting confused. The split screen feature shows several things happening at once, such as the judge’s critique and the performer’s reaction. The little things like that show they worked hard to revamp things.
5. They promote up-and-coming bands. For the elimination nights, when performances are given, it’s usually by A-list superstars and Idol alum. But they have decided to fit in two different performances: one from a superstar and one from an up-and-coming band! We’ve had the chance to hear Louisiana band Royal Teeth and Dubliners Kodaline…both performances absolutely awesome! I’m all for lesser-known musicians and I’m stoked that they have the chance to make their debut on Idol!
6. Randy Jackson is still a part of the show! The Dawg is (still) in the house! Randy is a great mentor to the contestants. He knows what he’s talking about and we can see that he is really involved with them, encouraging as well as critiquing so that they can get better. He’s also present for rehearsals, making sure the contestant sounds their absolute best. I love seeing him hang out in the lounge for the performances, just like a proud papa!
7. I’m going to talk about the judges again. They are more integrated into the show! On elimination nights, the show has featured bits between commercial breaks that incorporate the judges (and Seacrest). I loved the one that was about when each judge first heard their song on the radio. It gives the audience a peek into the life of a superstar and I would imagine it makes them feel a little more relatable to the contestants!
Those are just a few reasons why I look forward to Idol every week. What about you? Have you given Idol another chance or did you check out a long time ago? If you’re still with us, who is your favorite judge and favorite contestant? (I can’t pick a favorite judge, but Seacrest is forever my fave on the show. And I’m rooting for Jena!)
– xo, A