This past Wednesday, American Idol (or AI as the cool kids call it) returned for its 12th season of superficial, text-voting awesomeness. If you’ve been used to seeing a certain bunch of familiar faces as part of the regular group of judges, you were probably weirded out when you saw three new faces on the judges panel. Aside from Randy Jackson, everyone on the panel is new this year, primarily because the show’s ratings completely sucked last year.
I suppose the genius powers that be believed that including Keith Urban, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj (who is she again?) would somehow give a miraculous and magical boost to the ratings, just like that! That remains to be seen, of course…or does it? While only one episode of American Idol Season 12 has aired, it already looks like including Urban, Carey and Minaj was an utter misjudgment of cosmic proportions. I mean, it certainly is if you look at the latest ratings for the show.
According to reports, this past Wednesday’s debut of the new season was the lowest-rated and also least-watched premiere in its 11-year history! The season premiere only garnered 17.93 million viewers. By comparison, the show’s premieres during its heyday—circa 2005 to 2009—would routinely garner more than 30 million viewers. This makes me smile, of course, because I have long believed that shows like American Idol are destroying music by propping up musicians who are all about the image and quite short on actual talent, whether that talent is songwriting, singing or musicianship. It’s just sad that it apparently took more than 10 years for many other people to catch on.
What does this all mean? It means that Urban, Carey and Minaj have failed to do their job. They were supposed to help turn around last year’s fiasco of the premiere episode only bringing in just under 22 million viewers…and they failed miserably. That goes double for the Fox executives, natch. If there is one consolation—and, yes, it is a pretty small consolation—it is the fact that there are more black judges than ever before on this show. So hurrah for diversity (but is three black judges to one white judge really diversity?), but the ratings mess of American Idol won’t be addressed by making the show more “diverse” than ever. Sad face.