Bill Keveney of USA Today has written a lengthy piece ahead of the start of the American Idol 12 finals. The Top 10 perform live tonight (8/7c) for America’s vote.
Check out a few interesting quotes from the article.
Idol ratings may be down in double digits, but the median viewer age has dropped 3 years, perhaps due to the presence of Nicki Minaj, who is the most relevant pop star to ever sit on the judges panel:
Despite the audience losses, Idol is holding up with the often-fickle younger audience; the median viewer age has dropped from 49 to 46 after years of creeping upward. The 18-34 demo has stayed flat while the older demo has gone down.
Nicki Minaj, the breakout figure on a judging panel that has been generally well received, is seen by some as both responsible for holding the under-35 crowd and losing some older viewers. “In the early going, the 18-to-34 is flat and the older demos are down. You’ve got to look at Nicki Minaj and say, OK, it has something to do with it,” says Sam Armando, director of strategic intelligence for ad firm SMGx.
Producer, Nigel Lythgoe, admits that the judges are acting as individuals, without much chemistry between them. But he insists that all the panel needs is more time together. Meanwhile, The Voice coaches had great chemistry right off the bat. If it’s right, it’s right. No matter how long they work together, Nicki and Mariah are never ever going to gel, I’m afraid. I’m also fairly certain this years panel won’t stay intact past May. I would expect either Nicki or Mariah (or both) to move on.
“I’m waiting to see it happen,” says Lythgoe. “What we’ve seen in the past is that it took quite a little while to grow in itself. Let’s go back to Day One of Paula, Simon and Randy. You had to wait for that to develop. I do think the judges are acting as individuals rather than as a team at the moment. I’d like to see it be more of a team.”
A little conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing, either, Darnell says. “In the past, all the shows have been accused of everybody being too nice to the contestants, not enough conflict on the judge panel,” he says. “This judge panel rarely agrees on anything. There’s lots of conflict and that makes it entertaining.”
The producers SWEAR there has been no deliberate attempt to give the girls an advantage. So, it’s just a coincidence that the boys in this Top 10 are vastly inferior performers to the girls? And that it’s totally random that there are NO guitar playing white guys in the Top 10? Or even in the Top 20? ALRIGHTY THEN.
Producers say there’s been no tampering to tilt the odds toward the girls. “The minute you start to manipulate these things, you’re lost. It contaminates the credibility of the show,” executive producer Ken Warwick says. As TV producers, “It doesn’t matter. When the person is crowned Idol, they’re off.” Our job is about the journey, not the destination.”
That said, Lythgoe acknowledges that the women may be the ones to beat. “That talent is strong enough and we don’t appear to have ‘a white guy with a guitar,’ ” Idol shorthand for the past five winners.
Exactly. Sure, the lack of WGWG is just an interesting outcome!
The extra week in the schedule continues to be a mystery:
One reason producers decided to go with 10 finalists, rather than the 12 or 13 of previous years, is that “the longer you settle on any one facet of the series, it gets tedious,” Warwick says. Ten singers also means Idol will need only nine weeks to pick a winner, while 10 weeks remain until the May 15-16 two-night finale. Either the judge’s will use their save, which allows them to spare one singer from elimination, or producers and Fox will have to find a way to fill a week.
VIA USA Today