For most of the show's first ten seasons, it seemed that the only direction that American Idol knew was up. For the better part of a decade, Idol was the country's most popular show, surviving flop winners, judge turnover and pop culture's tendency to constantly keep moving forward. But with ratings falling to their lowest since the show's first season, and Idol no longer America's most-watched show, it would appear that Idol has finally discovered "down," and now they need to make some changes to try to reverse the trend back in their favor.
One former contestant—and neither they or hosting site The Hollywood Reporter are saying who—has some ideas. Said anonymous contestant has written a long article filled with suggestions of how the show can turn things around, in the hopes of saving the show that may or may have not have launched his or her career. Here's some of the better thoughts shared by Anonymous Contestant:
- Stay Out of Their Own Way. "How do you keep people interested in your show when there are singing competitions airing year-round? Take a break. For Fox to expect that viewers, after tuning in to The X Factor from September to December, would jump into another singing show in January looks like a giant miscalculation. The market is watered down, and perhaps sooner rather than later, all these shows will kill each other off."
- Find a new Simon. "Mean sells, which is why Cowell remains among the most popular figures on television. And there's also that mentality of "us versus them"; how dare some British bloke go on television and be nasty to our young dreamers? Idol is quintessential American television, and as Americans, we like to fight a common enemy, so maybe it's just a matter of the show finding another mean Brit?"
- Up the criticism. "[Simon] obviously knew the show, and I listened to him in that respect, but it's a lot different when you're taking criticism from a Steven Tyler-- if he were to offer any. And there's the problem: Everybody needs support, but the harsh reality is, if these acts want to be in this business, they're going to have to get a few lashings. To regain credibility, Idol needs critical feedback from the judges and critiques that are spot-on."
- Go big or go home. "From an Idol perspective, the set hasn't changed that much. There are still those who hide behind an instrument or stand at attention at center stage. Maybe for starters, put the judges in different places. Tommy Lee had an upside-down drum kit; perhaps hang someone by their feet?"
The entire article's pretty interesting and worth reading—although it'll no doubt be more interesting when and if its author comes clean about their identity. Is that you, Diana DeGarmo? Bucky Covington? General Larry Platt? Fess up, coward.