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What do #CarrieUnderwood, #KellyClarkson and #ScottyMcCreery all have in common? They each won the title of #AmericanIdol and gained millions of fans in the process. In its heyday, American Idol boasted over 30 million viewers, so it's no wonder the series helped winners and runners-up launch successful music careers.
But the success began to wane in Season 7, and the series wrapped its final season in April 2016 at a little over 11 million viewers. Unfortunately, the lowered ratings hit some of the winners hard, and few were able to mimic the success of the earlier season winners. So the recent news of a possible revival of the series by NBC came as a surprise to devoted viewers, who aren't quite sure the show needs to be rebooted.
But if NBC moves ahead with returning American Idol to the air, here are four suggestions to get viewers interested again.
1. Limit The Judging Panel To Three
When American Idol first began, the panel consisted of three judges: Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. At the beginning of the eighth season, a fourth judge was added, which made the judges' reviews a little cumbersome after each act. Oftentimes, at least one judge didn't get the opportunity to speak.
Season 13 saw a return to the three judge panel, and the system worked more seamlessly and gave the judges time to both encourage and correct the contestants.
2. Remove The Judges' Saves
Season 8 introduced the judge's save, which allowed a judge to save a particular contestant that had not received enough votes from the viewers to move forward to the next episode. Many viewers found this to be disingenuous, as though their voices weren't being heard. In essence, it allowed the judges to pick and choose which contestants to keep, although the saves were limited.
In addition, if the judges used a save, two contestants were eliminated the following week, which meant the two with the lowest scores went home. If the judges choose who to save, then the point of voting becomes moot.
3. Keep The Mentors Behind The Scenes
While the mentors were instrumental in helping the contestants improve and get ready for their live moments, oftentimes the mentors would relay opinions that were shared with the audience. Those opinions came across as filler, especially with the two-hour shows. By focusing completely on the contestants, American Idol could tighten the content and help viewers remain focused on who they'd like to win.
4. One Vote Per Viewer
American Idol viewers were allowed to vote for two hours after the show ended, and they could vote as often as they liked during that window. That allowance made the show more of a popularity contest than a singing contest. Contestants with amazing voices were eliminated while singers who weren't quite as strong made it to another round.
By allowing one vote per viewer, the series could eliminate the singers that truly weren't as good as the others and keep the ones who had a real shot at stardom.
Whether or not an American Idol revival comes to fruition, we're certainly grateful for the 15 seasons that gave us the vocal talents of showstoppers like #AdamLambert, #JordinSparks and #DavidCook. Most of the winners and the runners-up have earned a place in our playlists and our hearts.