warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

American Idol Hits A Low Note

Kristen Lago |
April 20, 2015 | 11:56 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The judges (Twitter/ @KeithUrban)
The judges (Twitter/ @KeithUrban)

"American Idol" is hitting a low note this season as ratings for the "once-mighty" TV show are crumbling.

Last week, "Idol" set a series record for ratings...low ratings that is. According to the Orange County Register, last week's episode drew only 7.6 million viewers overall and a 1.4 rating among adults under 50. The show has suffered from a steady ratings decline after holding the number one spot for almost eight years. 

You may be asking yourself, what’s the deal with “Idol?”

Well, it could be that viewers are just tired of the show that has been a mainstay on primetime television for the past 14 years (more than half my lifetime, but who's keeping count?). Or, maybe it's the lack of continuity on the side of a judging panel that features none of the original casted judges. Or possibly, could we finally be over the talent contest driven reality TV that has taken over our television screens for the past decade?

Considering the various reasons above, it's not shocking that last year’s finale pled in just 10.1 million viewers. To put that in perspective, the highest rated finale in the show’s history, the duel between Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard in season two, drew 38.1 million viewers. 

READ MORE: Celebrities Who Ran Into Trouble At A Young Age

But as Billboard Magazine puts it, the statistics aren’t setting off the alarms. “None of this would be too troubling, "Idol" kept producing stars, or personalities resembling stars. Unfortunately, it appears the well has run dry.”

Think about it: when was the last time you purchased a single from your favorite "American Idol" star? Two years ago with Phillip Phillips? Maybe a Carrie Underwood jam, who won in 2004?

The stale format of the show coupled with the appeal of direct competitor "The Voice" have pulled my attention away from Idol, but some sites like CNN report that the longtime show is still one to be reckoned with. 

By cutting down air time to only once a week and showcasing bigger personalities throughout the narrative, executive producer Trish Kinane hopes to focus on what the show is really about. “We’ve got really great talent, so we want to say up front, ‘Listen America, these are really great singers.’” 

As Buzzfeed puts it, "'American Idol' was a groundbreaking show." It did give the world a chance to laugh along with the judges, root for the underdog, and listen to some really amazing music. And finally it provided viewers everywhere a chance to get in on the action and vote for their favorite “new star.” 

Noticing a trend? I’ll give you a hint: the past tense. Today, there is just too much competition and changes for Idol to keep the hold it once had. So could we be saying goodbye to the show many of us grew up with? We’ll just have to wait and sing. Oops I mean see. 

Reach Staff Reporter Kristen Lago here. 



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.