‘American Idol’: Four Things The Show Can Do To Remain Relevant

Becky Bain | July 12, 2012 3:57 pm

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler‘s announced departures from American Idol spell trouble for a show already sinking. The Season 11 finale was the least-watched in the series’ history, and Idol‘s past five winners — all of them white guys with guitars — haven’t exactly shot to superstardom. Though many are calling for the show to just call it a night already and go off the air, this is obviously not going to happen for a long time: Idol‘s ratings might have dipped when compared to previous seasons, but it’s still a behemoth of a show. Since cancellation doesn’t seem like an option, Idol truly has to reinvent itself if it wants to keep being regarded as America’s #1 singing competition, because there are plenty more out there nipping at its heels.

Good thing we have four easy ways American Idol can switch things up going forward:

Get rid of Randy Jackson. We’re sure Jackson is a nice guy (and an awesome bassist), but as a judge, he hasn’t contributed anything other than cliches and catchphrases for years. He’s the metaphorical anchor weighing this ship down to the past. Lose him, and look forward.

Bring in some fresh, young stars as judges. The X Factor, The Voice and Duets all boast female judges between the ages of 19 and 31 — because isn’t that the demographic watching these shows anyway? Young women? Idol boasts itself on having judges with tons of experience in the music industry (well, besides Ellen DeGeneres — wow, what was that?), but youth doesn’t necessarily mean inexperience. We know Katy Perry has better things to do, but there has to be some other pop, R&B or country stars under 30 with loads of appeal who know how to critique performances (not like that’s even a make-or-break skill necessary for the job).

Or how about your own alumni — Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks would be perfect choices, especially since they know the ins-and-outs of the competition so well. And it doesn’t even have to be a lady — may we remind you again that Adam Lambert is totally interested in the gig?

Limit judges’ tenures to one season. More A-list artists would be willing to sit on the judges’ panel if they knew it was only going to be a one-season commitment. Plus, the show would get tons of publicity in its off-season with bloggers and news outlets constantly predicting who the new judges will be each year.

Shirley Halperin, Idol reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, agrees with us. “That would be the most exciting thing they can do at this point,” she recently told Celebuzz about a one-year rule for potential judges. “And that’s based on the same principle of having a new batch of contestants every year… And would keep people guessing, but in a good way, not engaging in a pointless game of speculation.”

Do something different we can’t even imagine. Look, we don’t work for Idol — it’s their job to keep us interested and watching their show. So don’t give us what we say we want — give us something new and make us want it! That’s easy enough, right?

What changes do you think American Idol should undergo for Season 12 and beyond? Let us know what you think on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.