‘American Idol’: 13 suggestions for season 13

American IdolCan “American Idol” save itself? At times the past few years, it’s felt like media outlets were being desperate in talking about the show’s demise, as it was still the #1 show on TV by a wide margin. That’s not the case now. Season 13 is make-it-or-break it: If they don’t figure this out and stop the bleeding, there may only be one or two years left.

This, dear friends, is where this article comes into play. We’ve composed 13 humble suggestions (along with a bonus one!) in order to keep the show fresh and exciting. Not all of these are changes, and we do need to recognize that this show does actually do some things right, so it would be foolish to abandon those things that work.

1. Don’t change the audition format – We’re down for a shake-up of the way Hollywood Week does things, or getting rid of those Las Vegas rounds in order to focus instead on more live shows with a smaller group of contestants. Just don’t lose that sort of rags-to-riches feel that comes from first performing in front of only a few people, and then taking on a performance in front of thousands in the finale.

2. Go back to three judges – We don’t know why they went to four this time: It didn’t work in the two seasons that it happened, so we don’t know why they expected a change now.

3. No more big names – The reason we think that “American Idol” worked so well at the beginning is because for season 1, both Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson knew that Paula Abdul was more of the star, and they were fine accepting that role. When Simon’s fame grew, Paula did not mind as much since hers did as well. There needs to be people with this same sort of give-and-take, which to us means not picking folks with huge egos or with a ton going on right now in the industry. Have an incentive that comes with making the show great, and work as a team!

4. Change up the audition editing – The best audition of the night does not always need to come last, and they don’t always have to be sappy. At this point, people are conditioned to start to groan cynically at sob stories, and the Lazaro Arbos experiment surely doesn’t help that.

5. Change up the live show editing – We don’t need montages reminding us of how long it has been since [enter demographic here] has won! In past seasons, this actually worked against the ladies, since it suddenly put the guys in underdog position. As a matter of fact, this may have hurt Amber Holcomb this time, given that they could have spent more time showing her personality over hyping her up. If someone is the best singer, America will vote for them without being baited to like them.

6. Bring back the wild cards – This created so much good drama in pasts seasons, and brought us some people (see Stefano Langone) who got a record deal after the show. Due to not having one this year, we lost some of our most memorable singers.

7. No voter transparency – This actually is appreciated. We don’t care about knowing who the top three are early on! It’s better when things are a complete surprise during the show and after.

8. Consistency with mentors – Season 10 had the right idea with this: You had Jimmy Iovine, and then you had one of his pals lending a helping hand. It gave viewers something extra to look forward to.

9. Keep Jimmy off the live shows – Let’s face it: The man’s better when not being live on-camera.

10. Song choice. Song choice. SONG CHOICE – We don’t know how else to say how important this is, and how a lack of it has crippled the show over the past few years. Limiting the artists to just a few songs is tired and we’re pretty sure they hate it, as well. We just can’t figure out why “The Voice” can have such a larger songbook, when this show for a long time had better ratings.

11. No more super-restrictive theme nights – The median age for “American Idol” was over 50 this year, and that’s not the crowd that advertisers are primarily looking to. Therefore, giving artists songbooks more than three or four decades old is probably not a good option. We’d rather see things like what the show did with One-Hit Wonders or Dance Music where you can take an older song there if you want, but you can also go current.

12. Don’t ridicule people for going uptempo – There was a disturbing trend that broke out last season in which if you speed things up, you often don’t get the same sort of good feedback. Thus, we had a finale that was six ballads. Ugh. The show has come to take itself far too seriously, especially in regards to the fact that these people are fun, and want to show their personality. This is one of the reasons why we feel that Jessica Sanchez is struggling with her album sales right now in America. She was forced into ballad after ballad, and much of her actual music is a 180 on that. “American Idol” needs to let people occasionally show more of who they are, and that includes showing off more than vocals.

13. Change the tour, or get rid of it – This one’s going to be controversial, but let’s put it this way: We would rather see these contestants have fewer dates and more opportunities to perform original music, or just don’t do it all. There’s no point in making original artists go out and just do cover after cover. That doesn’t help them sell albums, especially those who are only singing one or two songs. If you’re not going to do that, you’re better off just dropping the whole thing so that people can get in the studio faster to work on new albums.

Oh, and a bonus note: We’d love a panel of Carrie Underwood (she can be convinced!), Adam Lambert, and Melinda Doolittle if you really want to keep this in the family. Plus, they’re going to care for these people much more than people who can’t relate.

What would you change about the show? If you want to check out some more news related to this current “American Idol” season, just be sure to head on over to the link here.

Photo: NBC

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