***Warning: I am going to be harsh. If you are a die-hard fan and loved last night's American Idol as much as ever, I ask that you please do not read the following article, as it will just make you mad. I don't like to make people mad.***
There is no denying that FOX's American Idol is a TV mega-hit that draws more viewers than any other show on the air. Even last night's premiere, which showed a drop of 13% in total viewership from last year, and a 17% drop in the 18-49 key demo (the biggest drop in Idol history, and the worst opening numbers since season one), it still dominated the night. Quick side note, Live to Dance with Paula Abdul took 4th place in its time slot. Not looking good, Paula. Anyway, Idol could afford such a hit, bigger even than the overall network ratings decline in the past few years, because it was so far ahead of everyone. The question is, how long will that last?
My best guess? Until next fall when Simon Cowell brings The X Factor to America. You can read plenty of Idol reviews right now about how Cowell was not the show, and this season will bring the focus back to the contestants, where it needs to be. However, I submit, Cowell was the show, and without him, it's doomed to veer sharply downhill til death. After last season's widely regarded crap-fest of a yearn, Cowell chose the right moment to abandon ship.
The new judging panel was incredibly disappointing. Randy Jackson has never contributed anything worthwhile to any episode of Idol ever. A recent poll by The Hollywood Reporter puts him as the most popular judge of all time, baffling me, as I usually am fast forwarding through just about every word he says by the time we get to the Top 10. I occasionally listen, just to make sure he hasn't grown wise while I wasn't paying attention. Up til now, including last night, that has not been the case. At this point, I'm not hopeful he will change.