American Idol’s Revival


Eileen Tan

Sophie Levine ’18 has been a longtime fan of American Idol.

‘American Idol,’ currently on Season 16 after a two year break, is new and improved compared to previous seasons. Although ratings are still lower compared to its competitors such as ‘The Voice,’ many dedicated fans still continue to watch the show. A whole new panel of judges were introduced this season, consisting of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan, who all share an impeccable chemistry. The judges’ camaraderie and their commentary for the contestants help continue the legacy of ‘American Idol.’ As Ryan Seacrest said in an interview at ABC’s day of the ‘Television Critics Association’ winter press tour, “The legacy of this franchise is important to fans, and it’s important to us who have worked on it for a long time.”

President of ABC Entertainment Group Channing Dungey believes it is not too soon to bring back the long-running show that is moving to ABC after fifteen years on Fox. “From where we sit, it’s the perfect time to bring it back. What I love about it, is that it’s about heartfelt, uplifting stories of people who make their dreams come true, and that’s our sweet spot,” Dungey said. “For me it feels like the perfect home and the perfect time.”

“For me, it feels like the perfect home and the perfect time.”

Not all of the economic factors were figured out as of yet before it premiered, which explained why the show was not on ABC’s fall schedule earlier. $25 million was spent previously on the show on the ‘last’ season, which indicated a large sum of money being used when other programs required a much lesser budget, sending a clear message that it was the farewell season. This is why many were surprised that the show would be brought back so quickly. There was clearly a negative ratings trend, with the show dropping over 70 percent in a span of four years. Fox reportedly lost 60 million viewers a season by the end, so ABC adopted this franchise with hopes that season 16 would be different. Ratings have gone up a little while ‘American Idol’ aired on ABC, but are not as high as other TV channels. However, ABC owned the night with 1.5 and 8.7 million viewers the day of the finale.

With its premiere on ABC, viewers saw something different with the format of each episode. Bad auditions were removed from the show, since exploiting bad singers for entertainment was considered mean, and ‘American Idol’ cannot waste time on lesser talent while on its quest to regain the show’s former prestige.

The dropping of this element also goes along with the current goal of the creation of a new American Idol. It is now the viewers’ and show’s belief that their platform will allow fans to focus their attention on the most worthy artists by inviting the best of the best onto their stage. Sophie Levine ’18, a fan from the beginning, continues to watch the show despite the changes and loves it. She said, “I think the new judges are very good. It is definitely a different vibe and set-up than previous seasons, but I think it is really interesting. I have always watched ‘American Idol,’ so I was not going to stop because it got old. It definitely did not.” She does not believe that ‘American Idol’ lost its touch, since there’s new talent each year and different personalities taking the stage.

Elizabeth Chen ’19 thinks otherwise. Chen said, “After Simon Cowell left the show, I didn’t think the show had any more substance. However, ‘American Idol’ appeared on my Youtube feed, so I watch it for the contestants because some have real potential.”

Eileen Tan
Elizabeth Chen ’19 has strong opinions about American Idol.

The show evokes mixed feelings from viewers due to all the changes, but there is one thing that remains the same, the talent of the contestants. The contestants this season bring their own personalities to the stage, upholding the show’s unique legacy through each performer. Although the show went through a dramatic change, this season will be a success thanks to the potential of the contestants that have been introduced.

As for who the winners of the competition will be, the responses and opinions from viewers continue to diverge. Levine ’18 believes that either Cade Foehner or Ada Vox will win, while Chen ’19 thinks that Journey will take the crown.

The winner of this season for American Idol is Maddie Poppe; congratulations to her!