“American Idol” has obviously become a television and marketing institution, but that doesn’t mean that the show is infallible or that its big wigs haven’t made some mistakes, especially recently. Sure, “Idol” has committed some blunders when it comes to checking the backgrounds of contestants and has had some technical glitches over the years, but there are much bigger fish to fry when it comes to considering show’s worst moves. Here, then, are the biggest mistakes in “American Idol” history in rough chronological order, along with a few words about possible implications for the show’s future.
From the very beginning, DioGuardi seemed ill-suited to sitting in front of the cameras, and, when she did warm up to the situation, she came across like a petulant child who harbored jealousy for many of the talented contestants who paraded in front of her on a weekly basis. It’s also likely that her presence helped pave the way for another Fox mistake …
Ditching Paula Abdul
Paula, “the nice one”, most certainly felt some sting when DioGuardi was plopped down into the lineup, and the show lost its “Paula and the Boys” feel. Her chemistry with Simon Cowell was one of the better parts of the entire show, and,while it wasn’t really affected by DioGuardi’s presence, it’s not surprising that Abdul mustered a little hubris when the next contract negotiations heated up. Abdul bristled at Fox’s offer, and the subsequent loss of “Pauler” as Cowell’s kibitzing partner dramatically changed the judging dynamic. It also made it much more likely that the show would have to deal with …
Losing Simon Cowell
Okay, so Simon had supposedly grown bored with “Idol” and wanted a new challenge. It’s hard to imagine Cowell walking, though, had Fox handled a few things differently (Paula, for example). Truthfully, it’s doubtful that the show will be anywhere near the same without its cash Cowell, and Simon may also find it hard to duplicate his “Idol” success with his new show, “The X Factor”.
Letting go of Ellen Degeneres
Sure, Ellen paid lip service to the fact that she just didn’t like being mean, but you can be sure that had Fox wooed her a little bit, she’d have been likely to stick around. Despite mediocre reviews from several sources, Ellen was actually quite engaging and funny, and, more importantly, she has a strong personality which could have carried the show from a judging perspective, possibly taking some of the sting out of Cowell’s departure.
Upstaging Randy Jackson
As the last of the original judging trio, it seems logical that Jackson would be prominently featured in the updated format for the coming season. However, the additions of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler will almost certainly relegate Randy to a supporting role again, given the high profile of the two new judges. Can bad feelings between Randy and the network/producers be far behind?
As the nation prepares for another winter and another season of “American Idol”, the show has left itself in a precarious position with no clear leader on the judging panel. Expect a lot of gimmicks and a LOT of Ryan Seacrest as “Idol” tries to recover from its mistakes and right the ship before Simon Cowell’s new show arrives next fall.