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In 150 Words: Goodbye American Idol

Season 15 will be the last for ‘American Idol’.

FOX announced its cancellation during the week of ‘American Idol”s 14th season finale, citing declining ratings, competition with similar programs such as ‘The Voice’ and falling record sales for recent AI alumni. ‘American Idol”s final season will commence in January 2016.

Debuting in 2002, ‘American Idol’ quickly became one of America’s most-watched programs, ranking atop the ratings for several years and averaging 30 million viewers at its peak. The show became a launchpad for singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson.

For Filipino viewers, AI was credited for introducing Filipino-Americans such as Jasmine Trias and Jessica Sanchez to the national consciousness. Sanchez, the runner-up to Phillip Phillips in Season 11, even earned an endorsement deal with Bench and Smart Communications.

‘American Idol’ currently airs in the Philippines on ETC (via satellite) and Star World (within hours of original American broadcast). The show previously aired on ABC-5 and QTV/GMA News TV on free TV.

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Why American Idol Fizzled?


American Idol

Season 12 of American Idol was the show’s lowest rated ever, but contestants were not the only reason why. (Title card courtesy of FOX Broadcasting Company)

For 12 years, American Idol was the premier singing competition in the US. However, the show is facing a lot of competition from related reality programs such as The Voice and The X-Factor. In season 12, Idol’s dominance seem to completely fade.


There were some factors considered on why American Idol suddenly became stale and boring. First was the change in judges. For most seasons, the judges consist of Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. The chemistry of the three judges, along with Cowell’s outspoken remarks regarding the contestants, boosted Idol’s popularity and critical acclaim, to the point that it became one of the top-rated shows in the country. However, from Season 8 onwards, constant judge replacements, namely Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, caused Idol to lose some of its audience, while retaining its ranks among America’s most watched programs.


Season 12 was the least-rated Idol season in the show’s history, owing to the lack of chemistry among the judges. It didn’t help that Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj were involved in a reported feud, and that Randy Jackson announced that he was leaving Idol. The ‘boring’ state of Idol caused its downfall from a top-rated show to an afterthought, constantly beaten and scarred by NBC’s The Voice.


Also hurting Idol were unexpected eliminations. Angie Miller, a fan favorite, was eliminated in the penultimate results show. Miller had been a constant front-runner for most of Season 12, even receiving an overwhelming response to her performance of ‘You Set Me Free’. In the end, she was eliminated despite performing a passionate and poignant rendition of ‘Never Gone’, causing fans and critics alike to call it a ‘shocker’ and a ‘surprise result’.


Miller would’ve won American Idol if not for the judges. Not surprisingly, only a few viewers tuned in to watch Candice Glover win. Glover’s performance wasn’t bad by any means, but not good enough to help Idol’s cause in terms of ratings.


Finally the lack of creativity and appeal caused Idol’s downfall. Their song setlist has always been limited at best, thus whenever songs heard on previous seasons were sung again, audiences would tune out. Also, judges tend to pick some contestants who ‘couldn’t’ sing but can hit the high notes, regardless of whether they look pretty. Finally the predictability factor comes to play. While The Voice continues to churn out new notes in every season, Idol’s ‘tried and tested’ formula from auditions to the finals proved repetitive and lacked a new wrinkle.


With the disaster that is American Idol Season 12 now in the rear view mirror, the producers of the program would have to think of new ways to make the show a hit again. From new judges and themes to more attractive and silky-smooth contestants, producers would have over five months of preparation and tinkering in the hopes of making Idol a hit again. For now though, American Idol’s most disappointing season in its history will always be remembered and vilified for its issues and off-stage remarks that characterized it.