A few thoughts in the final season of “American Idol” is in order. Begun in the summer of 2002, the reality singing competition at its peak attracted 30-million viewers nightly. The program was based on the British television program, “Pop Idol” and is responsible for transforming previously unknown singers such as Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood from amateur to professional status, with recordings and sold out tours. Underwood, to cite but one example, has won seven Grammy’s and nine American Music Awards since her debut hit single, “Inside Your Heaven”. She also happens to be easy on the eyes, which I find appealing. But I digress.
In 2003, AT&T initiated a patented voting system that relied on text messages over voice calling when court performances were judged. By 2008, approximately 22-percent of respondents to an AT&T informal poll stated they had learned how to text in order to vote on the show. Personally, I found this to be annoying at family functions and rather ridiculous. Let me inject some contrast.
Years ago, I can remember the late country singer Waylon Jennings’ dislike for award shows. Conversely, folk singer Gordon Lightfoot, who remains on tour more than 50 years after his start in the music business, recently stated he has no particular problem with shows such as “Idol” because the appeals they have as yet another outlet for newer musicians to showcase their talent to the country and the world. Both views have merit.
The program has had fans and detractors alike, and in spite of either point of view, one thing is certain. It has run its course. To what extent this cancellation evolves into other franchises closing up shop, it will be interesting to see what the next public-driven television program of entertainment emerges.