American Idol: Now just another show


American IdolFox’s American Idol is still a force in the ratings, but it used to be a force in the culture of the US and that seems to have gone away. The ratings have certainly tailed off. An analyst from Cox Media Group looked at some of the possible reasons.

For starters, there’s no denying the drop-off in sheer numbers of viewers.

It has gone from 18M to 11.9M this year alone, says Rodney Ho. That compares to 2012’s drop from 21.9M at opening to 15.5M at a similar point in the year. 18-49, the drop is even sharper, notes Ho.

Several possible contributors to the decline are explored.

1. Age: 12 is pretty darned old for any television program – and this one is no longer buzz-worthy. It’s no longer a hot topic on radio and other television programs.

2. Genre competition: The Voice is hotter; X-Factor while not-so-hot still can pull viewers away

3. Any competition: Idol has lost its compelling command of its time slot and anything programmed against it does better than in the past

4. Nicki Minaj: Some may like her, others quite the opposite

5. Mariah Carey: Said to be too wordy, occasional useful comments may be buried in excess verbiage

6. Lack of chemistry: Judges haven’t found the old and difficult to reproduce Simon-Paula-Randy magic

7. Lack of compelling talent: One person who commented on Ho’s article noted that there hasn’t been a compelling artist on the show since Adam Lambert in 2009. Ho finds the women on this year’s show decent, the men soporific.

RBR-TVBR observation: We used to watch the program in this household – maybe what happened to us is happening elsewhere.

The main reason we watched it: Our kids loved it. As one of the adults, with a musical background, I found myself developing a morbid curiosity and didn’t mind indulging the kids and taking sides among the performers, and my wife also happily engaged in the debate.

I lost interest as I watched talent I considered to be the most interesting get voted off. And our kids simply lost interest, for reasons they would have to explain. That combination was fatal to American Idol’s presence in our particular living room.