Lack of Talent, Inconsistent Judging Sinks American Idol

Casey Miller, Staff Writer

The title “American Idol” just doesn’t ring true anymore. It’s Season 11, but ratings are plummeting for American Idol, and many of the Idol winners have been forgotten, save for Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. Hosts and judges have come and gone, with only Randy Jackson staying for the entire history of the show.

Even with host Ryan Seacrest and judges Jennifer Lopez, Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson, American Idol is having a hard time pulling in viewers. The producers are desperate, hiring big-shot singers like JLo in order to attract a bigger audience. Between Jennifer Lopez’s Paula Abdul-esque crying jags and Steven Tyler’s potty mouth, it’s not bad entertainment. The problem is that it’s no longer a real singing competition. American Idol just isn’t bringing the talent it used to, partially due to other popular, new television singing shows such as The Voice or X Factor.

Honestly, the show went downhill as soon as Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul left, leaving Randy as the last standing original judge. I miss Simon’s snarky comments and Paula’s emotional outpourings. Plus, they actually recognized talent and potential, finding Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, and Carrie Underwood.

According to, American Idol had its highest number of viewers at 37.44 million in 2006. Since then, it has been on a downward slope. Idol hasn’t touched that number in six years, because of judging inconsistency and lack of contestant talent.

Judges over the years have included Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Ellen DeGeneres, Steven Tyler, and Jennifer Lopez. They either tell everyone they are beautiful, like Jennifer Lopez, or tell everyone they are awful, like Simon Cowell. Sometimes, the wrong people get sent to Hollywood because of these judge’s decisions.

Some of these winners can hardly call themselves the “American Idol.” Does anyone remember Lee DeWyze, Season 9 winner? What about Ruben Studdard, Season 2 winner? Name one song by either of them, if you can.

But then there are winners like Underwood. She has received five Grammys, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, and six American Music Awards. She is the most successful Idol winner, right next to  Clarkson.

Clarkson has garnered two Grammys, twelve Billboard Music Awards, and four American Music Awards.  Her latest hit, “Stronger,” is number one on iTunes’ top ten list.

American Idol can still make dreams come true, but it’s not what it used to be.