Are Bitter Exs, Scandals, Sex Tapes, Bad Singers, and Simon Cowell Dooming American Idol?
It's been a rough week for American Idol.  First the ongoing confusion over the seemingly indestructible mediocrity of Sanjaya, and Idol's seemingly defensive legitimization of the dissonant teen.  Then Paris Bennett's strange attacks on the veracity of the show receiving unsolicited, and unintended, support from Idol's most vocal judge Simon Cowell.  Now a new sex tape from season two contestant Olivia Mojica promises to keep the shows title and the word 'porn' in close proximity for at least the rest of the season.  Is all of this negativity having an impact on American Idol's ratings? Maybe the four-million viewers American Idol is down from last season could tell us.

To say that 26 million viewers is a bad spot to decline to is, well, asinine.  There is little doubt that American Idol is still TV's hottest ticket, but the decline clearly shows that the show has definitely lost its escape velocity and is beginning its slow drift back to more earthly numbers.  None-the-less, I'm sure no-one at FOX is sweating it yet.

The big question for me, as a fan, is: how did they let this happen?  They can't control what their previous contestants are going to say or do, obviously, but they certainly could have set a better stage for the season in the very beginning.  For sure, they should have been more selective than ever after a season that arguably set the bar higher than it ever had been before.

Complaints about FOX interns not allowing talented folks to get a chance to audition before Simon, Randy, and Paula are credible, for sure.   There is a definite 'freak quota' that gets a higher priority than  the 'talented singer' quota.  If they are going to pre-screen, why not do it effectively?  The answer is simple, it doesn't make for good TV.

The old, 'don't look at me' routine being played out by Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul doesn't instill much confidence in the audition process either.  Cowell made the statement that "We're doing as well as we are doing with not a great cast at the moment.", a sentiment Abdul echoed by independently saying "I just can't say that they're really good if they're not. I just can't anymore."

It's hard to fault someone for their honesty, but these guys gave us the base that ultimately boiled down to a mediocre selection of contestants.  When you think of it in those terms, the two judges are really way out of line.

In the end, of course, American Idol will turn in another stellar season, but hopeful return next year with an improved focus on building a strong core, and leaving the freaks to wave their flags in the auditoriums full of good singers who didn't get a fair shake.

- Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV
(Image from fox)