With American Idol's 13th season coming to a close, does the singing competition have a chance to win back its relevancy?
Things have been up and down lately for 'American Idol,' as the singing competition is reaching the end of its 13th season. The ratings for one of the more recent episodes reached an all-time low in viewers -- a measly 7 million, while the show’s highest attraction drew in 30 million. Additionally, publicity for one of the finalists hasn’t been too hot either, as contestant Caleb Johnson found himself in a bit of trouble when he called his social media critics “retards” in a video interview with AfterBuzz TV. Either way, the show must go on, and Idol’s two night season finale begins on Tuesday, May 20 as Johnson takes on Jena Irene for the 'American Idol' crown.
“We don’t really care who wins,” Johnson told a group of press outside of Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre on May 19. Irene, on the other hand, stated that win or lose, she wanted to “go out on a good note.” Irene may have the better philosophy here, because as 'American Idol' grows older and older, it raises the question: does anyone really care who wins 'American Idol' anymore?
Caleb Johnson is one of American Idol's season 13 finalists
Despite the sinking ratings, Fox has already renewed the show for a 14th season to air in January 2015, and they’re promising that some changes will be made, even before the current season is over. A rumored change is that the show will begin to air only one night a week instead of two.
Whether tweaks to 'American Idol'’s format will help the show or not, it seems pretty evident that, no matter what, it’ll never quite reach the juggernaut status that it used to be known for, especially when it comes to its contestants and winners. The winner of season twelve, Candice Glover, sold only 58,000 copies of her debut record that was released this past February, while season nine’s winner, Lee DeWyze, only moved 100,000 of his album in total, and he was subsequently released from his contract with RCA records.
Kelly Clarkson is American Idol's most successful winner to date, selling 20 million records worldwide
Granted, there are some exceptions, as season eleven winner Phillip Phillips has flourished on Adult Contemporary radio, while season ten winner Scotty Mccreery has torn up Country charts. Still, it doesn’t come close to the marks that Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood reached during Idol’s heyday and the success that still continues in their careers years after. Maybe it has to do with America just being burnt out from singing shows in general, as once immensely popular shows like 'The Voice' and 'Glee' happen to be suffering from their ratings dipping as well. Whatever the future holds for 'American Idol' and singing competition shows in general, it’d be a good idea for the winners to start making a name for themselves, because the days of the show doing it for them are over.
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