Singing Competitions Going Off Tune


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American Idol’s Season 10 Tour

Kate Linehan, Reporter

Do you remember the good old days when every Wednesday night was devoted to watching Simon Cowell chew out every contestant, Randy Jackson saying “dawg” every three words as your family anxiously dialed the correct numbers to vote for your favorite contestant?

Whether you still watch “American Idol” or are one of the many fans who has given up on this singing show, it is evident that it will never return to the fame it once had. According to Billboard, the American Idol finale of 2014 was the least watched episode they have ever had since it first aired in 2002.

And it is not only “American Idol” that is being affected. According to Billboard, despite NBC’s  “The Voice” bypassing “American Idol” when it comes to popularity, it is still losing viewers each year. The Voice’s finale had 25 percent fewer viewers than they did last year. This is a large decline for the two of the most popular singing shows in America, and the erosion of viewers will likely continue.

So why the disillusionment, America?

Televised singing competitions have gone from being one of my favorite shows to watch each week to being something I purposely avoid on TV. There are many different factors that have contributed to their decline, but the main reason I stopped watching was because of the change in judges and the overall lack of talent.

The judges make a huge difference to the show, so the loss of  Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul left me cold. Since their departure, the judges have bounced around from Nicki Minaj to Steven Tyler to Jennifer Lopez. I have nothing against these stars, but there are more qualified judges out there who could give more knowledgeable feedback. I enjoyed having a consistent set of three judges who had differing personalities and judgments because I always knew I could count on them to give me entertaining, yet insightful feedback and that seems to be lost.

More and more competitions like these have strayed from being solely about the talent of the performer to what they are wearing, where they are from, how on fleek their eyebrows are, and various other categories that have nothing to do with the quality of their singing.

Brad Adgate, a TV analyst for Horizon media, says, “Perhaps the viewing tastes have changed, have evolved. There are ebbs and flows as to what is a popular programming genre or not and it seems like music competition shows have run their course. Particularly younger viewers are looking for what’s next.”

Singing competition shows have had their time in the spotlight and it is definitely time for something new. Their demise will hopefully make room for shows that will bring back a good family night of entertainment and replace the current unamused blank stare at the TV I have as I watch judges on “American Idol” compliment a contestant’s outfit in three different ways and only mention her singing ability once.