Posted: 2:11 pm Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

‘American Idol’ bits: viewership falls, Top 9 power rating, top 9 theme 

By Rodney Ho

AMERICAN IDOL XIII:  TOP 9: Clockwise from Left: Majesty Rose, Dexter Roberts, Alex Preston, Caleb Johnson, C. J.  Harris, Malaya Watson, Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse and Jena Irene. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

AMERICAN IDOL XIII: TOP 9: Clockwise from Left: Majesty Rose, Dexter Roberts, Alex Preston, Caleb Johnson, C. J. Harris, Malaya Watson, Sam Woolf, Jessica Meuse and Jena Irene. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. Copyright 2014 FOX Broadcasting.

It’s amazing how quickly “American Idol” has fallen off the pop culture radar the past two seasons. Ratings are down more than 25 percent year over year. Compared to 2012, the 18-49 demo share has fallen by two thirds. In other words, only one-third as many 18 to 49 year olds are watching the show this season vs. 2012.

The slide is so sharp, other aging reality shows such as “Dancing With the Stars” and “Survivor” are beating “Idol” in key viewership ratings measurements.

Last week’s return of “Dancing With the Stars,” at 15.44 million viewers, easily beat the “Idol” performance show that week in both overall viewers and 18-49 year olds (2.6 vs. 2.2)

CBS’s “Survivor,” going head to head with “Idol” last Wednesday, beat “Idol” in 18-49 ratings and had almost the same size audience. And that show is older than “Idol”!

“Idol” drew a mere 9.83 million viewers during the top 10 performance show with a 2.2 18-49 rating. “Survivor’ brought in 9.56 million viewers and a 2.5 18-49 rating.  That’s the first time “Idol” has fallen below 10 million for a live performance show.

The “Idol” results show didn’t even reach 9 million viewers and fell to a series low 2.0 18-49, matching “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” for comparison’s sake.

Idol Pad is speculating now that Fox is certain bring “Idol” back, but with major budget cuts and fewer episodes. MJ’s blog, which now focuses more of its time on other shows than “Idol” out of necessity, wonders if it would be better to just kill our once beloved show than see a cut-down version.

Given how much the show costs and disappearing profits, Fox may have no choice but to kill the show after season 14 if ratings continue to tank.

One suggestion here on this blog: Fox could officially announce in advance that 2015 would be the final season and turn it into a nostalgia fest, bringing back former “Idol” contestants and even Brian Dunkleman, Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi, just for kicks, to talk about the show’s impact. Reward those of us who have been around since 2002.

No matter how much viewers have enjoyed Harry Connick Jr., he and the other two judges struggled to find any buzz-worthy singers this year to help maintain ratings during the live shows. Caleb Johnson is entertaining but he’s no Adam Lambert. Producers were probably hoping Sam Woolf would be a singer-songwriter version of Scotty McCreery. He’s not there. And while Alex Preston is pretty solid on the show, he isn’t burning up social media. Others, such as Majesty Rose, have potential, but are not ready for pop stardom.

***

My top 9 power rankings:

1. Caleb Johnson. At first, I thought his Lady Gaga cover would be epic. Instead, it was just meh. But for now, nobody else is challenging him for the top spot. (last week- 1)

2. Alex Preston. He is secure in who he is and takes any song and turns it into an Alex Preston song. Even when he’s off key, it doesn’t matter. His confidence makes a big difference. He picked a perfectly viable current pop song with One Direction’s “Story of My Life” and made it work. He’s a smart dude angling for a finale spot. ( last week -3)

3. Jena Irene. She took some chances last week, opting for an electronica song, moving around the stage while bellowing “Clarity” with that very distinctive intonation. I like her because she is picking good songs and building more comfort performing, even without a piano. (last week -2)

4. Sam Woolf. I give Sam credit for trying to stretch himself. He was punished for it two weeks ago after his Beatles cover, landing in the bottom two. Last week, he escaped that fate going for a .fun song. I thought it was decent. I wish he could loosen up more and just relax. Else, he may soon find himself gone. (5)

5. Majesty Rose. She has been stumbling and bumbling for awhile now, her early promise fading. Last week was an improvement but maybe not enough to make me think she’s out of the woods.  Indeed, she was in the bottom three again, a bad sign. (4)

6. Malaya Watson. I’m so glad she found a song she could connect with last week with Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” It was her best performance to date. She is learning and maturing. Another knockout night this week and I might push her ahead of Majesty. (8)

7. Jessica Meuse. I’m losing patience with Jessica. I really thought early on she was better than this but she has failed to find her groove on the live stage. (5)

8. C.J. Harris. He followed his best performance with his worst last week. This guy’s inconsistency is going to kill him. While Alex is a one-trick pony, he can take any song and do it well. C.J. needs just the right song to shine and how many of those are out there?  (7)

9. Dexter Roberts. He’s failed to convince me he is anything but mediocre. He cruised through “Cruise” without giving it an oomph he isn’t capable of bringing. Artistry? What is that?  (9)

***

“Idol” will have the contestants sing with the band. So they are open to pick pretty much any song they want, as long as it involves the band. That’s a new theme – or really a non-theme, in a sense. If Jessica Meuse needs to step up her game, this is the time.

And the results show, featuring Janelle Monae, will be just 30 minutes long. The last time they had a 30-minute results show was season 5!

132 comments
Betsybet
Betsybet

The show lacks talent this year. And I hate to say this...."NOT a very attractive group" : (

Highlander1
Highlander1

This seems like a pretty eclectic list. What is the actual theme, anyway? Sing with the band??? Don't they do that every friggin' week??!!

Seems like there's a lack of structure this season regarding the themes.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Sister Jenny: just really listen to any of the songs she leads on - SN sings straight thru the nasal passages. UGH for me. I do like a number of FM songs, just not the ones she's heavily featured in.

Y'all enjoy the show tonight.

Sam-A1
Sam-A1

Oh dear God - NOT Malaya 'singing' a Beatles song PLEASE ! I wouldn't have minded "I've Just Seen a Face" or something else peppy, but not "LAWR". Crap.

Re: Jessica, Guys, there's barely a soul in music with a more nasal voice than Stevie Nicks - that's why I don't like her and prefer the songs sung by the other band members! Right up Jessica's nasally alley!

I do love "Hey There Delilah", and he'll do a good job, but I do understand the "too simple" comments. The judges will be all "he's not stretching himself", et al.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

SPOILER ALERT SONG SPOILERS:


Finally have the whole list so I will put them all together:


Jessica Meuse – Rihannon by Fleetwood Mac
Majesty York – Shake it Out by Florence + The Machine
Caleb Johnson – “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zepplin
Dexter Roberts – “Boondocks” by Little Big Town
Malaya Watson – Long and Winding Road by The Beatles
Jena Irene – Bring Me to Life by Evanescence
Sam Woolf – Hey There Delilah by the Plain White Ts
CJ Harris – If It Hadn’t Been For Love by the Steel Drivers
Alex Preston – Don’t Speak by No Doubt

Jenny11
Jenny11

Not to change the subject from the song spoilers (which sound GREAT!! :-) .... but I ran across something really interesting!!  I was answering someone in a thread below who said that Simon liked Taylor Hicks... but I remembered it differently, so I googled to make sure my memory was correct before answering.  And I found this GEM of a quote from Simon:

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to find a bona fide recording artist, because without that success, the competition doesn’t mean anything. That’s where we have to be careful that this doesn’t turn into a popularity contest, because if it’s a popularity contest, it’s like winning Big Brother, and nothing’s gonna happen. That’s what happened with Chris [Daughtry] and Taylor [Hicks, from season five]. Chris is the one who sold the albums. Taylor hasn’t."

Now, before anyone yells at me, yes, I do know Taylor has sold albums.  (Those are Simon's words, not mine.) 

But the reason I think the quote is so interesting, is because it shows Simon's views on Idol turning into a popularity contest.  We've had the "popularity contest vs. talent contest" debate many, many times here, and I hold the belief that Idol turning into a popularity contest contributed to why Simon ultimately got fed up and left. And I think Simon leaving feeds into the discussion about why viewers have left.  I think the revolving door of judges hasn't helped matters, and if he (and maybe Paula) had stayed, the show's magic might have stuck around longer than it has. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

SONG SPOILERS CONTINUED: 


Jena Irene – Bring Me to Life by Evanescence
Sam Woolf – Hey There Delilah by the Plain White Ts
CJ Harris – If It Hadn’t Been For Love by the Steel Drivers

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

SPOILER ALERT  SONG SPOILERS:

We have the beginning of a spoiler list:

Jessica Meuse – Rihannon by Fleetwood Mac
Majesty York – Shake it Out by Florence + The Machine
Caleb Johnson – “Dazed and Confused” by Led Zepplin
Dexter Roberts – “Boondocks” by Little Big Town

Malaya Watson- Long and Winding Road by the Beatles

baconsmith1.
baconsmith1.

Next years show = They get rid of all the high paid judges = The have too --> They hire Carrie Underwood since she has not done much the last few years and can work cheap --> Carrie sits there and talks about vegan-ism and lip syncs a few of her old classics and sells wigs on TV = Priceless :)

G_
G_

I don't really have any strong faves this season. My non-biased power ranking:

  1. Caleb - He's really good, but this group makes him seem that much better.
  2. Alex - People are starting to "get it" with his style and delivery.
  3. Sam - I think his fans have gotten a bit lax too, but he'll storm back.  Safe pick.
  4. Jessica - The "bad apple" fans are keeping her alive.  They show up every year.
  5. Jena - Glad that she's shown more personality and vocal strength.  Smart song choices.
  6. Dexter - He's country.
  7. Majesty - She's all over the place, and fans don't like that kind of inconsistency.
  8. Malaya - She's been singing her but off, and some folks just appreciate that. 
  9. CJ - Why is he still here?

Jenny11
Jenny11

@Sam-A1 - I guess for some reason, it doesn't jump out at me.  Don't know why!  :-)  I'm thinking back to  her solo hit (or was it with Don Henley?) "Leather and Lace"... I guess I can sort of see nasal???  Maybe a little.  But not annoying to me at all, not like Jessica.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@Sam-A1 - Yeah... (about the "too simple")... it is kind of a plain song, and that's probably what they'll say, but I still think he'll do great, and it's a good choice!  That's his lane... why shouldn't he embrace it?

And funny, if Stevie is nasal, it's never once bothered me like it does with Jessica!  Matter of fact, I've never even noticed it.  I've been listening to Fleetwood Mac since I was very young... "Rumours" was one of the first albums I ever owned, and "The Chain" & "Gold Dust Woman" are on my all-time favorites list. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC - Oh, I like Alex's song too!  Good, this'll be the first time I've liked a song he's chosen... I really want to like him, so am hoping this will help me do so!  

And yay, yay, YAY for some less-"current" songs tonight.  :-)

MercedesS
MercedesS

@Jenny11 Simon got fed up when Adam Lambert lost. Remember who he didn't want to shake The winners's hand (har time remembering_)

Deliliah345
Deliliah345

@Jenny11 Taylor is more than a record seller, and always has been.  He's an entertainer and has succeeded in far more venues than someone like, oh, shall we say, one trick pony, Daughtry, who is now currently fighting to stay relevant on the pop charts where clearly he is past his peak. It's interesting how the tides turn when you have tunnel vision.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11  And Jenny, keep in mind that you are quoting Simon Cowell...the man who practically single-handedly destroyed X-Factor in the USA

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11  According to the list of Idol moneymakers at Forbes, Taylor makes as much as Chris Daughtry.  

Idol has ALWAYS been a popularity contest.  You take a group of people who can sing and vote for your favorite.  How is that NOT a popularity contest?

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC Sam's choice is too safe. Jena may have picked another winner.

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC  -  Cool!  Though I'm not sure if I know Majesty or CJ's songs, and am guessing Dexter's will be twangy country, I LOVE the other choices!  :-)  

Highlander1
Highlander1

@DeirdreC I think Jessica needs a bit more guidance from Randy (yeah, good luck with that!) on song selection. She needs to do a couple more upbeat songs 'cause the slower songs aren't making it!

JTesla
JTesla

@DeirdreC I love "Rihannon", Jessica needs to make sure she doesn't do that odd nasally voice thing.


"Dazed and Confused", well that explains why they are going to have a 2 hour show for 9 contestants.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@baconsmith1.  LisaJones, bacomsmith, willisben, TankOlympics or maybe even FarTrain,  you get funnier by the minute.  Carrie Underwood hasn't done much the last few years?  Interesting.

JTesla
JTesla

@G_  For me I would bump down Sam, and bump up Majesty. How much... doesn't matter. I'm interested in seeing what Caleb and Alex will do, I like to watch Jessica and Majesty, but won't be sad if they go, and the rest are filler.


So for me, it's kind of like every other season of Idol. There are a few talented musicians that entertain, a few contestants that I personally like, and then there is the rest.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@G_  I'm good with your list.  I think Sam is way too high but after Caleb and Alex who knows what way this will go.

DanJohn
DanJohn

@G_ I think you're right with the top 2 the rest run hot and cold. Honestly mostly cold.

Jenny11
Jenny11

Hey everyone... I really am never the Grammar Nazi... but it's "Rhiannon", not Rihannon like Rihanna.  I only even correct this because this was one of my very first favorite songs as a child, and I remember thinking the story of the name (on Casey Kasem's American Top 40 :-) was so cool... written about a Welsh witch.  

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@MercedesS @Jenny11  How can you not remember Kris Allen's name?  The Slezak/Doolittle masterpieces called Reality Check have formulated a recurring theme where they point out songs that Idols have sung that Kris Allen sang better.  They've brought up Kris's performances at least 3 times this year alone.

DoubleNaughtSpy
DoubleNaughtSpy

@DeirdreC @Jenny11  


I didn't realize that X-Factor ever got big enough for Simon, or anyone for that matter, to single handedly destroy it.  :)

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC - But he made Idol what it is today.  

And there's an enormous difference between "prom king" popularity (ahem, Lee DeWyze and his ilk) and "wow, they're talented" popularity.  

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC - No need to correct me on the money issues...  I'll repeat what I said above, that was Simon's quote, not mine.  :-)

Jenny11
Jenny11

@JTesla @DeirdreC - And I do love "Hey There Delilah", and my first thought was it'll be great for Sam!  Why do you say it's too safe, JT?  To me it's along the lines of when he did "Babylon", which I thought was his best to date. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@JTesla @DeirdreC - Remember Carly Smithson singing "Bring Me To Life"?  She was great and I bet Jena will be too. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@JTesla , my thoughts exactly on Jessica.  I LOVE "Rhiannon", and I just hope she'll finally drop her nasal-ness.  (Is that a word? :-)  

FarTrain
FarTrain

@DeirdreC @baconsmith1.   Hey!  wait a minute, what did I do or say?  Leave me out of this !  I absolutely love Carrie Underwood !  It's a shame they can't find another one! Even if Kellie Pickler was in this bunch this year she would walk all over them!

G_
G_

@DeirdreC @G_

I probably spent more time on the list than I should have, because after Caleb.........it's really whatever to me. 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@MercedesS Yep!  I remember that well!  I always thought that was the last straw for Simon.  

Deliliah345
Deliliah345

@Jenny11 Well Taylor was picked as the Most Eligible Bachelor by People Magazine - cover issue  in June '06:)  I'd say in addition to being multi-talented, he's definitely a looker. Prom King oh yea!

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC   dang it!  My most recent comment (starting with "That actually could be") was supposed to show up underneath your "Let's talk about Season 5". 

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC  - That actually could be.  Maybe there was SO much talent that they did cancel each other out... ??  It's possible!  That's kind of a good way to look at it, and eases the frustration a bit of Taylor winning.  

And I guess that leads to the point I always try to make.  When you put a group of equal or nearly-equal talent like those 5 together... THEN it must come down to other factors. Like you said, they're all more than capable of taking the best singer award... so THEN let other factors come into play to decide who to vote for.  Who does the best in a given week?  Whose style do you personally like best?  

I'm just saying that someone with "not the best voice by a long shot" shouldn't BE in that final group of 5 where popularity decides it.  

Jenny11
Jenny11

@DeirdreC - I didn't watch in the very, very beginning, but by the time I started, the general opinion (among my friends who talked me into watching) was that Simon was awfully coarse, but almost always right.  People listened to him, and I remember more than one contestant saying that while praise from the other 2 was nice, the only thing that really mattered was what Simon thought.

I think in the eyes of many everyday viewers, he was a big reason that compelled them to watch.  More so than Lythgoe and Fuller, who to many casual viewers were probably just names on the credits.  Their behind the scenes work may have been what made Idol a hit, but Simon was why many people watched. 

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11  Simon Cowell got Idol started with tough critiques and some pretty nasty personal stuff(anybody remember how he treats overweight girls?) It was Nigel Lithgoe and Simon Fuller who made Idol into a hit.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@Jenny11  So you brought up season 5.  Let's talk about season 5.  How does the audience choose who is the best singer among the likes of Chris Daughtry, Elliot Yamin, Katherine McPhee, Paris Bennett, Kellie Pickler?  Any of those people were more than capable of taking the best singer award....so what happened?  Taylor(not the best voice by a long shot) is an excellent performer with very few missteps during the entire season.  Taylor won, not just because he was popular but because the contestants that you consider the real singers cancelled each other out.

Deliliah345
Deliliah345

@Jenny11 @DeirdreC To quote Simon Cowell about anything relating to music talent is ridiculous. He doesn't have a clue about real music... I mean 'real music' and real musicians.  He's not a musician, he's a music agent looking for pop idols to mold and sell records. His opinion on Taylor Hicks wasn't based on anything in truth, although like I said in another post, he did recognize Taylor's vocal prowess a few times on the show.  As it turned out 8 years later, he ate major crow.  Taylor has taken his talent and leapfrogged to the top of the Idol earner list, making more than Mcphee, Pickler, and Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson last year.

Highlander1
Highlander1

@Jenny11 @JTesla@DeirdreC I like the Plain White T's and Hey There, Delilah is a nice little ditty but it doesn't really go anywhere for Sam to really showcase anything.

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@FarTrain @DeirdreC @baconsmith1.  Sorry...there's just a certain way LisaJones(and all her aliases)says things that reminds me of you.  I apologize if you are not in that "group".

DeirdreC
DeirdreC

@G_ @DeirdreC  I expect someone else to step it up at any minute.  Don't know who yet.  They all have decent voices(except maybe CJ who can't seem to stay on pitch for more than 60 seconds).  Maybe Jena is going to start living up to her potential.