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"American Idol" Will Stay On Top Of The Singing Competition Ladder

Kathy Zerbib |
January 9, 2013 | 5:00 a.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Nicki Minaj (and her supposed feud with fellow judge Mariah Carey) is sure to bring the excitement to season 12 (Instagram)
Nicki Minaj (and her supposed feud with fellow judge Mariah Carey) is sure to bring the excitement to season 12 (Instagram)

With so many reality singing competition shows achieving stellar ratings (“The Voice,” “The Glee Project,” “The X Factor,” among others), one can only wonder if “American Idol” - which premieres Jan. 16 - will continue its domination of the category for much longer. But rest assured, the show’s place seems as secure as ever.

Over a period of 11 seasons, “Idol” has produced a laundry list of household names, including Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken, Jordin Sparks, Kelly Clarkson, and Chris Daughtry. It was the first competition show of its kind showcasing contestants as they chase their American Dream to broadcast their vocal abilities, and the show has not lost its original focus since its start in 2002. The video below is just a taste of the many talented singers who have been on “Idol” over the years. It is undoubtedly one of the most successful shows in the history of television and has survived despite many odds.

“Idol” has managed to succeed in spite of several changes in celebrity judges, especially in recent years. Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson served as the show’s judges for the longest amount of time, until all left (Cowell and Abdul moved to “The X Factor”) and were replaced with temporary stars, like Ellen DeGeneres and Jennifer Lopez. Still, the show maintained acceptable ratings and the fan base behind every celebrity judge only added to the show's appeal.

Other singing competitions have opted for more public-friendly judges to boost their ratings, choosing celebrities who are more current and not just skilled retirees. “X Factor” switched up their judging panel, which now includes Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. “The Voice,” too, consists of many big names, such as Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera. Still, “Idol” wins again by having Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey – divas who already launched a feud that is sure to amuse audiences. The feud between the two music artists is enough to make the judge’s panel the most interesting to tune in to.

“The Voice” appears to be the biggest rival to “Idol,” as the former's ratings seem to taunt the latter. But while “The Voice” is an uplifting new concept and has a star-studded panel to support it, it's still a fresh face on the scene, and pales in comparison to the legacy of “Idol.” The winners of “The Voice” are not producing Billboard hits as the winners of “American Idol” regularly do. They are not huge sensations. They are merely winners still waiting to take off. That is what sets “American Idol” so far apart from its peers.

As other categories on television dictate, spinoffs are simply not as phenomenal as the original. “American Idol,” in this case, is the original. The other reality singing competition shows first started in Europe or were modeled after “Idol” and are unable to top the history this show has worked over 12 seasons to create. When it comes down to it, there really is no comparison. “American Idol” will stay at the top of its category, until the day comes when the show ruins itself and must step down to one of its current wannabes.

Reach Kathy Zerbib here; follow her on Twitter here.



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