American Idol returned last night, and had it’s lowest premiere rating ever. The 13th season of Fox’s onetime hit show delivered only 15 million viewers, down 23 percent from last year. Producers were hoping new judge Harry Connick Jr. would bring in a new crowd, but even he couldn’t help.
The performance continues an overall downward trend for the series since 2006, and the show’s premiere ratings have dropped consistently since 2010. It’s a testament to how massive the show’s ratings were in its early years that Idol has managed to fall in the Nielsen numbers for eight years straight and still deliver strong ratings. But there was some mild hope this year might avoid yet another dip given how strong the drops have been — surely it was time for a least a little uptick, right? By comparison, The Voice debuted to 14.9 million viewers and a 5.1 adult demo rating in the fall, marking the first time Idol has premiered to a lower demo rating than its NBC rival. At least Idol can claim it won the night — the show hugely dominated Wednesday’s ratings.
Idol‘s tone during last night’s Austin audition kick-off was notably friendlier among the judges, a departure from last season’s tense drama-filled panel that featured Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey (both of whom are no longer on the show). Some critics have suspected that Idol is taking a cue from the success of The Voice, which has a panel that’s often praised for its feel-good camaraderie. Connick Jr. shared the table with returning judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez (the latter returning to the show after a one-year absence). Fox also made changes behind the scenes this year, shedding longtime producers Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick and bringing aboard Per Blankens, Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager.
Here’s my two-cents on American Idol. For the first 5 seasons or so I REALLY loved it. It was new, it was fresh, it was exciting…. you actually CARED who won. But after that, it just got awfully boring. I’m sure you couldn’t even tell me who won the last 5 seasons. I think for one thing – the music has got to change. I don’t want to see young kids singing oldies. I just don’t. Second, they need to spice it up somehow. Change something OTHER than the judges.
Do you still watch it? What do you think?