ETA: Nobody said these guitar players were all guys! Also, I’m hearing a 15/15 gender split in the Top 30

I have just a bit of intel from the American Idol Hollywood Rounds, which concluded yesterday at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles.

The remaining contestants had final solos yesterday (Dec 20) with the band. At the end, the field was cut down to 30.

At the moment, American Idol XIII has a Top 30. No word yet on what comes next.

Also, sources say that the judges are in love with guitars, similar to how they were gunning for a girl winner last season. Guitars, guitars. Everywhere guitars!

Also, this isn’t a spoiler. But it’s interesting. On Wednesday (Harry talked about group auditions in his latest interview) the press were in the audience watching auditions.

But there were also a group of women pegged the “Idol Tweet Hearts” who were invited to watch and tweet from the auditions. You can check out their twitter list. Many of them are bloggers (lots of mommy bloggers) and/or have a strong presence on social media. It’s interesting that the group is ALL women, mostly white and middle American.

It looks like a grassroots effort, on the part of Idol, to spread the word via socially connected members of the show’s largest demo, that it’s safe to come back to their once-favorite show.

Here they are having lunch with Harry.

tweethearts

 
  • LeahKittyS

    And once again I am excited for the return of Idol. The first instrument season is when I really got into it, so I don’t mind a lot of guitars. I just wish my friend Dan and I were still a part of it. He only made it to the judges’ round in Boston; my online audition was rejected.

  • MargieIdol

    There’s also an official @idoltweethearts twitter account.

  • Seed

    I wonder if it’s a 15 guy/15 girl split or an overall Top 30? This is probably the group we’ll get to vote on. I’m so excited!

  • Mateja Praznik

    I think it’s more likely just 30 white guys with guitars, average in every aspect. That’s just what Idol’s audience loves.

    And if there are any different types in the TOP 30, they are likely to be cast as fodder.

  • Seed

    I think the cast will be shoved full of “indie” guitar playing girls. There’s a shit ton on the spoiler lists. Yes, there will be tons of WGWGs also to keep Frauen happy. I see it being twenty singer/songwriters, two or three country people, and the rest R&B fodder.

  • CaioF

    Just hope they dont fill the show only with WGWG´s, otherwise while they get back part of the audience, they might lose other part. Highlight the diversity, thats the key!

  • Sicola789

    Hopefully it’s not all guitars and more of a balanced season like 7 where there was a mix of instruments and performer types.

  • Amy Beth

    MJ, you’ll always be our Idol tweetheart!

  • bridgette12

    Looks like Idol is going back to it’s bread and butter, WGWG’s. I’m sure there will be white female country singers and the token R&B singers.

  • TheOther

    Crystal Bowersox is a WGWG.

  • Wally.

    Hopefully Selena/Sierra Monroe, Jess Meuse, Keri Lynnc Roche all made it. Strongest girls I’ve heard online

  • Sicola789

    Nothing wrong with that, there’s a bunch of WGWG on all these shows now, especially the Voice.

  • bridgette12

    Absolutely nothing wrong with it, it just continues what has been a trend with Idol, white, male, guitar playing winners. The reason why they were so desperate for a woman to win last season and then got disappointed because the wrong type of woman won.

  • Guest

    Yes, more WGWG….

  • Sicola789

    Lol it’s funny when people try to make Scotty fit the whole “WGWG” archetype. Paul was the token WGWG during his season and Scotty was never even considered the “artist” type like the other 4-they were known for using their guitars to “flip” a song, Scotty didn’t.

  • dd999

    Gosh, I can think of only one song where Scotty used a guitar and that was an Alan Jackson song called ‘Where were You’. His voice and the songs he sang on AI were terrific and without a guitar!!!

  • CB40

    Tweet hearts?! HA

  • Mason

    Yeah unlike X-Factor which has no WGWG

  • helo23

    So when a WGWG does win this season, can the media and everyone else stop blaming the tweens/teens? Also, how about finding one the is marketable this time? One that can actually sing like Kris and Cook? Kris and Cook weren’t marketable IMO. And neither were Lee and P2 due to their lack of a voice. Scotty? HAHAHA. He’s country, I guess. But will never have cross over appeal.

  • Incipit

    Heh. Probably not. Nobody knows who to point at – not really – they can’t prove anything – so everyone gets blamed in turn.

    IMO.

  • http://www.mjsbigblog.com/ mjsbigblog

    Nobody said these guitar players were all guys! Also, I’m hearing a 15/15 gender split in the Top 30

  • Cathy Mcguire Kosak

    he also used a guitar w/Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not……Great job too….

  • Wally.

    Jeff Gutt is a WGWG

  • Anny_nanny

    Alex

  • Tess Herself

    I think American Idol is a lifetime away from the Simons’ dream of a “pop” Idol….even Kelly barely fits that mode now-a-days (compared to the other top 40 gals out there). And the current Idol audience no longer has a big urban following like they did in the first few seasons.

    Let’s just get some folks who are interesting…I don’t care if they are male or female, black, white, yellow, or brown, country, soul, or hoot-n-anny. For me it is about personality, and development, and fun, with a little intrigue thrown in. I want a season where the top 10 or 12 are all personalities without backstories or sob-stories. And if its a WGWG, another flamboyant gay boy, an AC tenor, a pretty black ballad singer, or a yodeling bearded cowboy…as long as they are fun, bring it on.

  • BluSky

    A White Girl With a Guitar is a WGWG
    A White Girl Without a Guitar is a WGWG
    A White Guy Without a Guitar is a WGWG

    And i also don’t understand why it’s considered a bad taste when a singer plays an instrument. That’s what makes them awesome as musicians! Or, playing piano is commendable and playing a guitar is not?

  • BluSky

    I also wish that instead of sob stories they would show contestants more as MUSICIANS and artists – their progress, struggles, achievements, talents, etc. That’s because when i go on itunes i’m buying music, not sob stories :)

  • Tess Herself

    Brings up an interesting point…where are all the sob stories? Are they actively pursuing careers? Or did they just have their 15 minutes and are now off the radar.

  • masacredo

    Some fodder may suprise you.. (Hallo Haley R.)

  • BluSky

    Sob stories help them advance in a competition, even win like Tate. But i think making sob stories a selling point is a great mistake that has been repeated show after show. I truly believe sob stories don’t sell albums, sob stories don’t help get new fans, sob stories are forgotten once the show is over. And once the sob story is gone, there is nothing left to remember the contestant by…

  • Mason

    ;)

  • jayidrocks

    Sorry, but till now I couldn´t find a proof , that Phillip isn´t marketable. Over 6,5 Mill. sold singles and a platinum album (and coming from a season with much fewer viewers than the former seasons), don´t show me exactly , that he is a commercial flop.
    Nobody can predict, how is going his next era , but by now he is doing well.

  • Montavilla

    The WGWG designation came about because some people thought of Kris Allen as being a similar “type” to David Cook. And when Lee DeWyze won the year after that, it seemed like only white guitar-playing guys were getting a majority of votes. I think what exacerbated the meme was that both Allen and DeWyze were upset wins. (Cook was a bit of an upset as well.)

    Scotty was different. He didn’t really fall into the singer-songwriter rock-ish genre. Also, he wasn’t an upset. But that just made it seem more likely than ever that voters were basing their choice on gender. And then P2′s win really drove the idea home.

    It’s mostly a joke. And it ignores what really happened, which is that Kristy Lee Cook cursed the show when she was sent home for being one blonde, female country singer too many for voters. That curse (that all subsequent winners should somehow relate to her) was only broken when Candice Glover sang “Lovesong,” creating a magical spell that drove the demon KLC summoned with her rendition of “Eight Days a Week” from the building. If you listen to the video, you’ll hear the demon scream.

  • Sicola789

    One Direction are all WGWG too lol.

  • BluSky

    Thousands of people paid good money to watch this person with the “lack of voice” sing his songs :))
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7HEQi5_nVk&feature=youtu.be

  • Kaylo17

    hahaha! thumbs up for the whole Kristy Lee Cook thing

  • Mason

    Apparently for some people you have to sing like an opera or church singer to be marketable

  • Valarie

    My prediction is that Idol will embrace the wgwg, because they are coming back in fashion. Idols core audience also loves them. Disco/dance music is thankfully dying it’s second death, and real musicians will again be appreciated. Last year Mumford and The Black Keys owned the Grammies. Don’t be surprised if Indy types pick up a couple this year.

  • jayidrocks

    “Lack of voice” is a matter of taste. Some people like Phillips raspy voice, other can´t stand him singing. I prefer his voice over screaming voices (like Fantasia or Jessica).
    And for the people, who think Lee can´t sing, they should check his live performances of “The Fight ” or “Silver Lining” from his last album. He sounds a bit like Marcus Mumford.

  • MrTemecula

    You’re basically describing a typical season of the Voice.

  • bridgette12

    They will embrace the WGWG because it’s what they know. It don’t matter if it’s in fashion or not, it’s what the Idol audience will watch if they can get them back. It’s what they have been voting for ever since season 7, so if they vote for another one again as the winner, no one is going to be surprised.

  • Tess Herself

    I have yet to see any personality, other than the judges, on The Voice.

  • BluSky

    I understand “a matter of taste”. What I don’t understand is helo23′s claim that Phillip Phillips isn’t marketable. After 6,5 mil singles, platinum album, 3 successful tours (Matchbox 20, John Mayer, college headlining) I would sure consider anyone saying Phillip isn’t marketable a confused person :))

  • MrTemecula

    Your devotion to AI is noted.

  • H.A.

    Stacking the deck with WGWGs to get back their core audience is more manipulation. Is there a point to even watch. We all know how it’s going to end.

  • TheOther

    Phillip is the most successful winner to come from a TV singing competition since 2012. He is the only male winner ever to be nominated for an American Music Award for New Artist of the Year. He has the biggest selling single that Idol has ever produced. TWFTSOTM is only winner’s debut CD since Carrie Underwood to stay on Billboard’s Top 10 for 7 or more weeks

  • BluSky

    oh, Phillip also has the highest number of #1′s on the charts among male winners/alums

  • Tess Herself

    To be fair I haven’t seen much personality in Idol for the last couple of seasons, either. That is what I miss so much. I just can’t identify with voices…I want some umph, some pizazz, some shivers.

  • Incipit

    I wouldn’t worry about it BlueSky – it’s just an opinion…after all. Those are statements of opinion without attendant facts – so facts are not even the point there. I could bring sales and tour figures and stats and broken records from 2008 onwards to show DC was marketable too – but it’s kind of futile when facts don’t even matter to the conversation.

    And that’s just my opinion. *snerk*

  • bridgette12

    When your desperate, a little more manipulation is not going to matter. It goes without saying that a WGWG is going to win, but Idol don’t have a choice. If they want to last a few more years, they need to keep what viewers they have left happy.

  • Incipit

    Really? Sounds more like a description from Idol seasons, circa 2008,2009 – also 2011 – I could even put names to the archetypes.

    But I don’t watch The Voice – maybe you are correct, and all those types have been on there too.

  • Karen C

    I don’t think it’s just because they are coming back in fashion. I think that there were a lot of people that liked rock and singer songwriters all along, but the labels were getting away from this type of artist until last year. The reason there were WGWG winners is that with Idol, people could vote for the kind of singer they liked, and it shows there is an audience for this type of music.

  • Karen C

    I don’t know why it is either. Many of the most successful singers play instruments.

  • Sicola789

    I don’t really see how that is manipulation but ok lol. We don’t even know what the top 30 looks like yet.

    Plus, wasn’t it manipulation when they didn’t have WGWG? Now it’s manipulation because WGWG are back? They can’t win I guess lol.

  • Dewayne Boyd

    Maybe contestants with guitars are actually the best performers. That would not be stacking the deck.

  • Sicola789

    I’m glad idol is embracing the guitars. Folky music is slowly making a comeback. Just look at songs like Demons, Let Her Go, Wake Me Up, etc. Pop radio is embracing more folk rock while electro pop is slowly fading out. Look who just won The X Factor. That stuff is in.

  • Larc

    The only problem I have with Idol singers who play guitar is so many of them really aren’t very good at it. Casey James is a notable exception. You can often get by with strumming only 3 or 4 different chords on a guitar, but you have to play a piano. That’s nearly impossible to fake. Lack of true ability makes itself painfully obvious. I’m OK with guitars as long as players are good enough to play them well without singing. I’m not OK with basically using them as props.

  • wordnerdarchie

    Every winner that played a guitar has been pretty adept at it. Now those that were further back in the pack – maybe not so much.

  • Larc

    I pretty much agree with that, although I wasn’t much impressed by P2′s playing. He made noises about being good, but I never saw any real evidence of it.

  • Incipit

    Ricky Minor once gave his assessment of the guitar playing skills of various contestants while he was on the show – but I would have to go look for it…I remember Casey James was at the top of his list – which made complete sense – he plays lead guitar. Anyway – there have been others who played guitar while Ricky was MIA, including Phillip – so there is no consistent measure from a professional…just opinions.

  • Wally.

    From the guy side of things Adam Roth is so different from all those previous of males we’ve seen on Idol. Hes like Punk/Rock sort of reminds me of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus lead singer or Anberlin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igrICEF88Kw

  • Deon Oxivar

    couldn’t agree more.

  • justmefornow

    Is this guy in the top 30? I like him.

  • HKfan

    Me neither….I think thats why I always find it so hard to get into, its just all judges, judges, judges……

  • Wally.

    Hopefully he is.. god knows hes better than most of the males that have been put through over the years.

  • HKfan

    Also agree with you on this……one of the reasons I’ve been tuning out during the last 3 seasons of Idol.

  • justmefornow

    If this guy makes it through, I’ll be back for season 13.
    Last year bored the crap out of me. This one may have potential.

  • Incipit

    I was hoping the Folk Music was slowly going out of fashion – Do Not Want. – and I heard rumblings that this may be in the cards. But it’s moving too slowly for me – still messing around with Folk Rock, Americana, all that stuff I have no interest in…I will be more patient…I have a nice collection of recent plugged in rock to listen to while I wait out this latest fad.

    I don’t see why Rock music with electric guitars and acoustic folk can’t coexist as they have done in the past – but then – that’s a corporate radio call, they want it all one way for some reason.

  • Jazzyjen508

    yeah they need to realize that is their core audience and they will struggle more if they listen to blog commenters (Who aren’t the core audience). Last year is exactly what never can happen again if they want to keep people interested. The people they were trying to attract last year weren’t interested and they were losing the people that would be their biggest supporters had they kept at least one WGWG

  • Sassycatz

    Not bad. I’ll be interested in seeing him if he’s on the show.

  • justmefornow

    It is on it’s way out. Give it 6 more months. It’s not going to be the sound next summer.

  • Jazzyjen508

    Yeah people need to back off of phillip. hes talented and people really like him. he is way more successful than the people who are only liked by bloggers that everyone on here act like they are the only talent ever when that is not true

  • jayidrocks

    He never said, that he is a good guitarplayer. He only said his guitarplay is a bit different from the other Wgwgs.

    And he also also said , that he isn´t a great singer, but he loves jamming with the band.

  • Incipit

    From your mouth to the PD’s ear – I can only hope, justformenow.

    I would be delighted not to have to work so hard to find music I enjoy!

  • justmefornow

    LOL. It’s not that hard. XM Sirius is all you need. Try channel 37, my personal fave :)

  • Incipit

    I don’t have it – but I’ll look into it, thanks.

  • Sassycatz

    I always wondered whether P2 watched all the other WGWG winners’ seasons & perhaps their post seasons to determine this.

  • justmefornow

    Seriously, I don’t think I could drive my car anymore with out my satellite radio, lol.

  • BluSky

    I don’t play guitar, so can’t really judge… but Phillip plays a lot of guitar improvisations, bits and pieces at the shows. He loves to jam with the band. He’s creating arrangements, and he’s directing the band. He’s self-taught and he’s still learning, but he is already very good, imho. Just watch his live performances on youtube. At least i enjoy watching them, there is always something different! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaTFhVUKNc8

  • BluSky

    I also love this one, sooo much fun to watch!! awesome jam :)) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWkKOp-IBBc&feature=youtu.be

  • Mason

    There is plenty of rock music out there but you won’t find it on reality shows like AI and TV, the most you’ll find on these shows is rock lite like David Cook

  • dd999

    Oops! Your right. I forgot about that song and its one he sang every night on the AI tour!

  • Mason

    Lol from reading the comments one gets the impression that for some people the typical reality show contestants types i.e. Wgwg lite rock singer-songwriters, country and big voice RnB and ballad diva-like singers are not marketable. So what is, teen pop types like Bieber, Selena Gomez and Miley? Perhaps Fox should launch a junior version of AI called American Teen Idol (just like American Junior Masterchef) where only kids between 12-18 can participate and they can only sing bubblegum pop songs by the likes of Bieber and 1Direction!

  • Incipit

    Oh, I’m covered with David Cook’s music, Mason – I have a selected playlist of 26 songs chosen from six of his albums, and another with just rock covers from the 2009 and 2011 tours…and his new unrecorded songs from 2013 – and not a one of them are rock lite, I promise you.

    But the cover music from Idol or the radio singles aren’t on there, except for “Bar ba Sol”- RCA’s A&R dudes had lousy taste in music, IMO.

    I find artists with vocals I like on Idol – then choose from the music they make. And I ‘like’ my rock to be a mix of melodic Post Grunge, baritones and dramatic tenors, among other styles – so I could be waiting a long time to find music from radio or TV that sufficiently rocks for me at all.

    I also have Casey Abrams – There are three cuts from his album that rock, with his own blend of jazz added in. James Durbin’s music I’m still waiting for a cut I ‘have’ to buy – but I may, in the future.

    No artist from The Voice – but a few of the ‘Ladies of Idol’ – Heh – Siobhan, Elise, Erika, Haley – singers who knew how to rock , they are also represented with their own music.

    There have usually been enough interesting voices to keep my ears on the show – even seasons where the pickings were slim – but not last year. So I have hopes for this season.

    Meanwhile – I check the web for music to collect.

  • http://www.mjsbigblog.com/ mjsbigblog

    Reminder:

    Please keep the conversation in this post focused on the topic–American Idol spoilers. Past seasons of Idol – Not the topic. Your snowflake – Not the topic. Thanks.

  • wordnerdarchie

    MJ – what do you know about David Oliver Willis? Did he make the top 30?

  • http://www.mjsbigblog.com/ mjsbigblog

    He made it to Hollywood and got pretty far. That’s all I know.

  • wordnerdarchie

    Thanks, I saw his tweets so I knew he was there & he seemed pretty excited.

  • Emmuzka

    Oh, there will be ethnic minorities, a sob story and a gay guy, for sure! If only to give contrast to the appealing non-threatening blandness of the WGWGs.

  • Emmuzka

    “TweetHearts” sounds so condescending. It sounds like “Be dear and just keep tweeting nice things about us for free, umm’kay”.

    If they really made an effort to find influential social media persons to tweet, they’ll have some genuinely opinionated people who aren’t afraid to tweet their minds. So what happens when a “tweetheart” writes something negative? It will be interesting to see if they just got some “mom” tweeters to wave their flag for them, or serious AI fans with entertaining opinions.

  • Kariann Hart

    I’ve tweeted a few and they seem to love American Idol. Also, they are very impressed with Harry! If honest opinions are sought, they will give them. This is a good idea; however, it seems none are Grandmas!

  • Kariann Hart

    I’ll be happy if Idol embraces folk/folk rock music. This hasn’t been a theme and the possibilities are endless.

  • Kariann Hart

    For me, Season 7 was best, with Season 5 close behind. That’s the type of talent I want to see on Season 13.

  • Kariann Hart

    I only seen them perform twice and they didn’t have a guitar. They were cute.

  • shell29

    Manipulation is manipulation and it has always been a part of Idol-this isn’t something new or something that started in season 12. When the manipulation favors a particular type of contestant that a typical Idol fan likes, it seems less like ‘manipulation’ to them. But if it favors another type of contestant that isn’t a favorite, they complain. That’s what happened last season. They heard the complaints from the ‘core’ audience (which those ‘tweethearts’ represent) who want their WGWGs and now they’re back with a vengeance.
    Even though I’m not excited about the prospect of WGWG overload (which in fairness may or may not happen), I don’t blame Idol for going in that direction this season. They’ve already lost all the other viewers-having a female winner for the first time since season 6 wasn’t going to bring those viewers back. Might as well placate the WGWG fans because they might be the only ones that could possibly keep this show afloat. If you lose them, this show is finished.

  • Karen C

    I think it’s just a matter of time before harder rock makes a comeback. I’m hearing a bit of it already with some pop acts. I think the popularity of the folk rock was just the first step.

  • Guest

    I’m so excited for this season,I hope they change the voting system,No theme, let the contestant choose what they want to sing. New music and show the itunes ranking every week. If all of those will be implemented, I’m fine. lol

  • Karen C

    I agree, it wouldn’t. It should be who gives the most interesting performances. In the past, for the most part the winners and those that did well had some of the most interesting performances, wgwg or not. I think that is what people are really looking for.

  • Karen C

    I think the problem was that the manipulation was so apparent last year. There were guys that were better singers than some who did that didn’t make it through, both with guitar and without. The themes were boring, too, and what was going on with the judges was a big turnoff for a lot of people. It shouldn’t be about the judges, it should be about the contestants, and the best ones they find should be the ones that make it through.

    I don’t think that it is even the guitars people are looking for, I think it is when someone rearranges a song to show themselves as an artist, and makes an interesting arrangement. This is both with instruments or without.

    ETA: What the wgwg really represents is the genre of music a large part of the core audience likes. I think for the most part that is alternative rock and country. I saw a lot of complaints that there was very little rock on the show last year.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Having Nicki as a judge last year was a desperate attempt to attract a younger demographic of viewers to the show, and it failed. IMO, it was far too late for this attempt, and now, Idol is faced with trying to encourage the return of those viewers who left.

  • Karen C

    I saw Jillian Jensen on the spoiler list, she was on X Factor US last year but didn’t make it through to the live shows. I thought she was terrific, and thought at the time she would do better on Idol. Hope she makes it through to the top 30.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    As a fan of both rock and folk, I’d like to hear more diversity on mainstream radio too.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “It’s interesting that the group is ALL women, mostly white and middle American.”

    That focus group pretty much says it all in terms of who Idol will try to satisfy. It’s way too late for Idol to try to change their viewing demographic (they learned that last year), so they are now hoping that they can reattract those viewer who left, primarily a relatively narrow faction of “America”.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    It’s been a problem for years that the kind of artist that Idol wants (a potential pop “superstar”) has little chance of being voted for by the viewing demographic, who largely aren’t fans of current CHR music. It’s too late to try to change the viewing demographic, so that disconnect will continue. At this point, all Idol can hope for is a return of many viewers who have left, and to prevent as much further audience erosion as possible.

  • Valarie

    I agree. I call it rock-creep. The folk rock will gradually morph harder over time.

  • Anny_nanny

    Very interesting. I think he’s from the 90′s, but I like what I hear. I’ll try to catch him on auditions.
    But I’ll try not to have great expectations, I remember that very often a good video on YT were a huge disappointment on any of these shows. I hope this guy has enough experience to withstand the pressure.

  • Tess Herself

    The pop “superstar” meme disappeared from Idol a decade ago…it seems that only a handful of loyalists still believe that is what the show wants. Idol wants to make money, that’s the bottom line and if it takes a bunch of washboard abs to do that it will be happy.

  • Anny_nanny

    Looking at everyone who goes far enough on TV, XF and AI, I have strong doubts that the audience of these shows are completely different people. And I think this year Simon stopped to bury our heads in the sand and recognized it. But, unfortunately, I think it’s already too late for the XFUS.

  • Tess Herself

    I don’t think TV land ever appeals to the whole of America. And, for the most part I think “musical” shows get their audience primarily from women ’cause the guys are watching sports, or mechanical shows, or heaven forbid Duck Dynasty. Popular shows in highly urban areas are probably a whole lot different than those watched in the heartland. That’s just the way it is. And the young demographic is flighty at best…they rarely stick around as something new and shiny gets their attention.

    X-Factor found that rappers weren’t the big draw that they hoped they would be…why would Idol move in that direction to “bring back” a demographic that never really existed for them. Rueben isn’t urban black and neither was Fantasia.

    And, though they aren’t my cups of tea, the Susan Boyles and Jackie Evanchos of singing competitions probably made lots of money for the backers of their respective talent shows because they appealed to the audience of their shows. Idol needs to play to the audience they have…a bird in the hand is definitely worth two in the bush.

  • emme1000

    they are all white? really AI?

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Of course, every television show has its own viewing demographics (as one can tell by the kind of ads that are shown). As I wrote, Idol needs to play to the audience that they have, because it’s far too late to try to change that (which they learned last year). It wasn’t always like that though (as evidenced by early winners).

    Over the history of Idol, the demographic of the viewing audience has progressively narrowed to the point that the goal of finding a breakthrough (“superstar”) current CHR artist is highly unlikely, simply because the viewers are not primarily fans of current CHR music. So, whereas other television shows simply attract their viewing demographic from the public, the goal of Idol (“the search for a superstar”) has become inconsistent with those who are watching the show. There’s little that Idol can do about that disconnect except to try to minimize the erosion of the audience and maintain ad rates as much as possible.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I agree, but I think that Idol (having been around longer) has the biggest disconnect in their audience vs. the goals of the show. But, you can see the impact of the viewing demographic on TV and XF as well.

  • Sassycatz

    And of course, this rarely takes into account that the music industry has changed mightily since Idol began and it’s harder to break an act, by pure muscle, into the Superstar stratosphere.

    When someone says, look how hard it is to sell hundreds of thousands in the first week of a release, people point to Beyonce, as proof otherwise, or someone who has that level of entrenchment in the industry as if a newly minted Idol = Beyonce!

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Actually, it hasn’t disappeared, but has been renewed with the slogan of “search for a superstar”. But I agree, progressively, that goal has had to morph, realistically, because the audience grew more and more distant from current pop music. Although the show has produced some successful artists since the early years, it’s notable that in the ads, Idol is emphasizing only those former contestants who have had a “superstar” level of success, largely commercial, but also critical. And those artists all came from the first 5 seasons of Idol (except for P2, and his longevity still hasn’t been established).

  • Karen C

    I think the viewing demographic is mainly adults, not just women, and that is why they favor certain types of artists. Rock and soft rock, and R*B were extremely popular in the past, so many grew up on it, and many of the most successful artists of the past 20-30 years or more would be considered wgwg .

  • fuzzywuzzy

    It may be harder to break an artist now, anyone with that potential has a very slim chance of being chosen by the current Idol audience.

  • Sassycatz

    I don’t agree. I think that it’s not all about who the Idol audience chooses. It’s also about how the industry has shrunk, the lack of access through established channels, the lack of major radio play for more than 30 to 40 songs, the lack of diversity in what is recognized … and I don’t mean ethnic/racial diversity — but HEY! — where’s rock when the awards ceremonies happen? It’s not like people don’t listen to it. They do, but people have learned they aren’t going to get it that music via the same places as they get pop princess music or country music, etc.

  • Ria.

    It only makes sense. It has been an extremely common description of American music artists for over 50 years. Trying to avoid such a common category of singer is what got them into so much trouble last year.
    I am sure they all learned the stans who don’t like guitar players are a very vocal tiny minority.

  • Karen C

    I don’t think the show was ever going to find a current CHR artist though. Even Kelly Clarkson has said herself she is not a typical pop star. I think what the show has really done is give a platform to those that might not have been typical pop stars, but were well liked and popular enough for some to break through, and some even to CHR.

  • Ria.

    Scotty is the ONLY one of them who fits the description. A plaid-shirt wearing boy next door type who didn’t move around much on stage and stayed in his lane. The rest of them just get lumped together because they are the same race and gender and play the same extremely common instrument.

  • Karen C

    I agree, and I actually think this is one reason the WGWG do well on Idol, because there is an audience for rock out there.

  • Larc

    Sometimes you’re stuck with what you have. It’s hard to present a racially balanced group when the interests of that group don’t attract a diverse mix of participants.

  • Ria.

    Four of your so-called ‘non marketable’ contestants are platinum selling artists and among the 10 or 11 most successful Idol contestants. That also puts them far, far, far, ahead of the success of anyone from the other current singing shows.

  • Tess Herself

    What are the “goals of the show”. Based on their ads for the last couple of years it seems to be about a contestant realizing “their dreams”. The Simonesque quotes about finding a superstar or the next pop star haven’t been around for ages in their marketing scenarios as far as I can remember…and I may be totally out there ’cause I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast.

  • Ria.

    I think Gokey is the most successful sob story. But he also has a really good voice. IMO it is possible he would have been better off with less sob story since that turned off a lot of viewers.

  • Ria.

    “And i also don’t understand why it’s considered a bad taste when a singer plays an instrument.”
    It is not. That is the sad thing of all of this. Guitar playing is extremely common among singers in our society. There is nothing remarkable about that as a common thread among successful contestants. Fans who prefer non-guitar based genres just want their snowflakes to win instead.

  • maymay

    Who usually watch TV? Female and older people. Especially when the TV ratings go down year by year, female and older viewers naturally play the most important role for current ratings. So since Idol would pursuit the huge ratings, it can`t ignore the taste from female and older viewers. Idol never has no chance to change its demographic.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    That may be true, but again, if you look at who Idol is highlighting in their ads, they are all established, commercially/critically successful artists at a level of “super/high level star”, regardless of genre (except for P2, who hasn’t yet established himself at that level, but made a big splash with “Home”). That is the kind of artist is who Idol wants to find, because it fulfills the “Cinderella” aspect of the show, and (at least for the moment) allows them to distinguish themselves from their competitor singing shows. Idol wants to find the level of “superstar/star” who will make a big splash and establishes themselves as a top/high tier recording artist. Even if it’s true that a lot of former Idol alums are making a living in the music industry, the goal of the show is still to find those special stars who will add luster to the goal of Idol, and you only need to look at who they highlight in their ads to see what they are aiming at.

  • Raymar Casillas

    Jesus! Let the Whitewashing of Idol begin! WGWG it up! Lolz.

  • weareallinnocent

    Not only that, but a lot of them look alike, too. lol

  • Tess Herself

    MJ…a question.

    Did Idol send a press release about the Idol tweeters and their role during the upcoming season?

  • NatSasic

    Gotta give you props for connecting the KLC curse and the Lovesong demon.

  • Incipit

    I’ve read this explained in the terms of – when families sit down to watch Idol – it’s the Mom who decided to turn it on – this was in the context of extending the family viewing to whole families attending the Idol Tour together- which, they definitely do/did – and it still had the Mom as first cause, so to speak.

    If Idol is courting Moms to say that Idol is safe for family viewing again – they are absolutely going to the source – and they best have some variety in the acts, things the Moms want to hear, or have their families listen to- – - which makes sense to me.

    JMO.

  • Wally.

    Selena Monroe has some pipes in her
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yT_TqWAsPws

    Keri Roche is really good. I’ve seen her in a few promos already
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCke3OvdzHY

    Jess Meuse is so good.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DW-oOEWDgVs

  • wordnerdarchie

    Hmm, this might answer my earlier question.

    @DavidOliverW My life has been nothing but miracles every day! Can’t wait to tell you more!

  • gem2477

    could be. They may want to make it a Top 20 or Top 24, though. Unless they feel that they can fit 15 performaces in a two hour slot.

  • Montavilla

    I was going to be snarky and ask, “Who were these great male singers that didn’t make it through last year?” But the rest of your post is so good! Especially the bit about audiences looking for alternative rock.

    One of the things I genuinely like about AI (and, to a certain extent, the other shows), is that it gives us musicians who aren’t necessarily mainstream. We do get to hear the occasional Broadway voice, or a jazz singer, or sometimes even reggae or metal. Maybe that trickles down to those ten-year-olds who aren’t old enough to realize how uncool it is — and five years later, when they’re the trend-setting teens, that kind of music can bubble up again.

  • Montavilla

    I think it’s okay as long as it’s before the season starts. Some of the more viral of Adam’s pre-Idol videos are from what’s obviously a New Year’s Eve show just before his season started. Maybe January 1st is the deadline, but maybe it’s the first airdate.

  • Montavilla

    The truth that the music industry doesn’t want to face is that genre is less important than “X” factor. When someone like Adele comes along, genre flies out the window. But you can’t plan for that (much as Simon Cowell wants to believe you can), and so the tastemakers of music (A&R, radio programmers) hedge their bets by following up successful songs with songs that are similar — figuring that it’s the general “sound” that appeals.

    Until the next viral video pops up and they all start playing that one.

  • Karen C

    For singers that didn’t make it through, I thought what we saw of David Oliver Willis was terrific. I also have read that Alex from Alex and Sierra who just won X Factor also auditioned last year. There were many others too that I thought were at least better than who made it through to the voting rounds.

    I agree with the rest of your post too. There have been a lot that weren’t mainstream. I think though, that it is especially noticeable that there were no wgwg last year because this type of music was now back in the mainstream.

  • Ria.

    “As I wrote, Idol needs to play to the audience that they have, because it’s far too late to try to change that (which they learned last year). It wasn’t always like that though (as evidenced by early winners). ”

    I don’t see where you are coming from. Kelly’s Idol moment was Stuff Like That There. Ruben’s was the Carpenter’s Superstar. Fantasia’s was Summertime.
    I see absolutely zero evidence that the earlier idol watchers were therefore hipper and more in tune with CHR, than the more recent Idol audience.

    It’s the recent winners who have won by singing lesser known more current songs.

  • Ria.

    Idol ads always focus on the contestants that the public might recognize. It is not rocket science. Usually the current Idol is featured and often the one from the previous season. Plus they might feature contestants from earlier seasons that the public might recognize.

  • Ria.

    Current pop music is full of auto-tuned singers and performers who are more dancers than singers. XFactor was hoping to get that kind of winner. Idol, never has tried to have that type of winner.

  • Ria.

    It’s last year’s ratings that let them know they had gone in the wrong direction. If last year had been a great, exciting year then people would accept that eliminating musicians was a good thing, or at least not a bad thing. But the proof is in the pudding.

  • Ria.

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.
    The audience doesn’t vote for karaoke.
    The audience doesn’t vote for contestants who are more about dancing than singing.
    The audience doesn’t vote for contestants who hit a high note every.single.week to prove they can.
    The audience looks for contestants that have a likeable personality and a spark or originality.
    Contestants who play instruments gain points.
    The artists who can take a challenging song and rearrange it to something wonderful and unexpected, gain points.
    Contestants who tend to pick songs that have not been done to death, gain points.
    Contestants who sing newer songs gain points.
    Contestants who can have an amazing performance with a song the viewer does not even recognize, gains a ton of points.

  • Mateja Praznik

    To sum it up, the audience wants white, average, middle-od-the-road guitar strummers.

  • perfectstorm

    Candice Glover doesn’t fit into this group. I’d much rather prefer any of these guys than a One Direction boy band member – who IMO lack any kind of artistry.

  • shell29

    I think they’re selling that as the ‘appeal’ of the show-that a contestant can realize their dreams of ‘stardom’. I think the show’s immediate ‘short term’ goal is to stop the bleeding in regards to the decline in ratings and interest. Hence the return of the WGWG-whether this will succeed in stopping the ratings decline remains to be seen.

  • Ria.

    I really don’t understand the disdain for guitars. I guess if someone really doesn’t like any music with guitars, then I can see them being frustrated with the majority of what is performed on the show. But a large percentage of our popular music has been guitar based for over 50 years, so it really is to be expected.

  • Mateja Praznik

    Well obviously, but from what I’ve read on this blog, Candice isn’t a legit American Idol winner anyway. As far as I’m concerned, she is a great singer, but not really marketable.

    Oh and One Direction have just enough artistry. Not that it matters, they are doing just fine with or without “artistry”. Really.

  • Mateja Praznik

    I don’t like talent show contestants that play instruments on the show. Okay, I don’t mind if they play once during the season, but not more than that. I admit I have yet to see an instrument playing contestant that would impress me with his/her voice or artistry. They just bore me. I don’t think having the skill to play an instrument is bad in itself, but I prefer contestants that don’t play when they perform.

    Guitar players on Idol are just average. Average players and average vocalists. And then they perform some re-arranged song (arrangement found on YouTube) and get praised for their originality and “artistry”.

  • shell29

    ITA with you and Ria above. A lot of the things they did last season were ‘too little too late’. I don’t blame them for feeling they had to ‘stack the deck’ to make sure a female won season 12. That said, the way the deck was stacked made for a Top 12 that was (with a couple of exceptions) not interesting or compelling to watch. It wasn’t just good WGWGs that were weeded out prior to Top 20, a lot of the good male contestants of various ethnicities were sent packing. A guy like Lazaro should never have made Top 20 and probably would have been rightfully cut in any other season except last year.
    I guess the big question will be whether it’s ‘too little too late’ to court the ‘core’ audience and win them back. They’re certainly pulling out all the stops.

  • bridgette12

    It is a bad thing when you can predict who will win before the auditions are even over. It’s going to be someone who’s white, has a penis and plays a guitar. Look at the ratings, people were getting bored with the predictability of this show and now out of desperation, they are going back to what they are comfortable with hoping that this will entice the few million viewers they still do have to stick around instead of bailing like the rest.

  • shell29

    ITA with you and Ria above. A lot of the things they did last season were ‘too little too late’. I don’t blame them for feeling they had to ‘stack the deck’ to make sure a female won season 12. That said, the way the deck was stacked made for a Top 12 that was (with a couple of exceptions) not interesting or compelling to watch. It wasn’t just good WGWGs that were weeded out prior to Top 20, a lot of the good male contestants of various ethnicities were sent packing. A guy like Lazaro should never have made Top 20 and probably would have been rightfully cut in any other season except last year.

    There wasn’t much of a balance last season; I suppose the Idol producers were afraid to risk the possibility of another male winning so that’s why they did what the did. I think they went into seasons 9-11 gunning for a female winner but it just wasn’t in the cards. No way they wanted a strong willed female winner in Crystal for season 9. I’m convinced that they really wanted Lauren Alaina to win season 10 but the Scotty train was not going to be derailed. Similarly no one was going to stop P2 so in the end they didn’t fight it.

    I guess the big question will be whether it’s ‘too little too late’ to court the ‘core’ audience and win them back. They’re certainly pulling out all the stops.

  • shell29

    Agreed…there were quite a few really good male contestants that were cut prior to Top 20. Some that made it got very little screen time so they were already behind the 8 ball once the voting began. For example, I don’t think it was an accident that someone like Vincent Powell (who in my opinion was one of the best male performers last season) was virtually ‘invisible’ prior to the Top 40 performance show.

  • Karen C

    I’m convinced that they really wanted Lauren Alaina to win season 10 but the Scotty train was not going to be derailed. Similarly no one was going to stop P2 so in the end they didn’t fight it.

    I’m convinced of this this too. They wanted Lauren to win S10 and Jessica to win S11. In both cases, there were women that a large part of the audience did like (Hayley and Elise) more that might have done better if encouraged. They wanted a female winner but only focused on certain females.

  • Incipit

    Absolutely remember Nigel getting called out on Twitter for gushing over Lauren’s audition. Heh. He got all defensive, and folks were not happy – …but Scotty’s fate hung by an edit after the group thing – if TPTB hadn’t allowed that apology to be filmed – things could have had a different twist.

    That’s the type of manipulation that the audience sometimes doesn’t think about, and I’m curious to see what is the style of the New PTB with these fresh contestants…because you know they have an agenda too. I just hope they are better at it.

  • Ria.

    I strongly disagree that guitar players on the show have average voices. There are contestants on the show with average voices. Some are musicians and some are not. There are contestants on the show with amazing voices. Some are musicians and some are not.
    I think guitar playing is very common among singers. It is even more common among singers who are song writers. I see no reason why the show would cater to the small minority of the population that doesn’t care if a contestant is a songwriter or musician. I get that some people just like the big voices. I get that some people just like the larger than life personalities. But there are always contestants that aren’t songwriters and aren’t musicians. I am not surprised the musicians and songwriters usually win.

  • Darko_5

    nvm

  • Karen C

    The reason the songwriters win is because they show the most creativity with their arrangements. Even if they aren’t doing original music on the show, their covers tend to fit in well with their original music.

  • perfectstorm

    Season 10 was when Jimmy Iovine and Interscope took over. And his first 2 winners were more successful than the last 2 with Sony. Scotty became the first male Country winner and Phillip ended having this monster song – which Iovine chose. It was really Kris and Lee that never had TPTB support. In as far as Season 12, it was clear Iovine wanted Amber to win. When that didn’t happen, he pretty much checked out.

  • Karen C

    The general public doesn’t think this way, though. I’ve talked to many people that hadn’t even thought of a similar type of singer winning. So I don’t think people thought it was all that predictable, and why the ratings went down. No year was more unpredictable than last year, and the ratings went down even more.

    There are other reasons why the ratings went down, part of it being so many other singing competitions.

  • Karen C

    Three out of the first 6 winners were R&B singers, along with Candice, there are 4. Two winners have been country, two pop rock, two folk rock, and one alternative rock. Looks pretty diverse to me.

  • LA944

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing if the majority of the contestants are talented & entertaining and the season is fun to watch. I knew Scotty would win AI10 from the first audition. I don’t think I’m alone. But, I LOVED that season. Ratings were good and the tour sold well. But, it was pretty clear the entire time who was going to win. Scotty wasn’t my fave–but I didn’t care. That was just a good and diverse cast. That’s what idol needs. It needs to be entertaining above all else. If the winner does well after show–just a bonus.
    Phillip won AI11. He has done very well so far. However, the cast wasn’t as entertaining as the year before. So ratings slipped and tour suffered. Phillip got lucky with his “Home” song and it worked out for him. But, the show is about ratings.

  • LA944

    I think Keri R has a nice voice–but that song is so repetitive Same chords & melody over and over and over. That drives me nuts.

  • Montavilla

    I agree with you about David Oliver Willis. I thought he was very promising. There was another guy, Brandon, that I liked. But I don’t think cutting them was a huge injustice. I doubt either one of them would have made the Top Five.

    The good news is that, with the latest rules, those singers are eligible to return — unless they’ve aged out.