Tuesday, January 12, 2010

'American Idol' season 9 preview - Sepinwall on TV

I wrote most of my "American Idol" preview column before yesterday's announcement that this will be Simon's last "Idol" season. But if anything, the basic thesis - that the show needs to focus less on the judges and more on the contestants - feels more vital than ever.

As usual, don't expect any real "Idol" blogging from me until at least the Hollywood episodes (which is also when Ellen DeGeneres will first appear).


Matthew said...

You might want to revise the second-to-last paragraph, since Simon is no longer hinting a anything.

Otherwise, good title, and I aree with pretty much everything you say.

Dan said...

Less emphasis on the judges, Alan? You won't get that with X Factor, where the judges are also mentors and figure heavily into the show.

I'm confused as to why American Idol hasn't bitten the dust now, though. There's no room for both, imo. Here in the UK, X Factor essentially replaced Idol back in 2004. It's confused me that Idol's format hs lasted as long as it has in the US, too. XF is certainly a lot better (different categories, allowing groups in, etc.), and Cowell's clearly been trying to make Idol as close to XF as he can in recnt years.

Also, Ellen DeGeneres?! Yeah, because when you think of a singing competition, you think of Ellen. Hmmm.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Matthew L, thanks for catching that. I had rewritten that paragraph as well, but somehow neglected to plug it into the online version before setting it to publish.

Adam said...

Can X-Factor accomodate the more rock-based performers who have flourished on Idol in recent years?

Matt said...

At least thus far, the UK X-Factor winners have all been big-piped balladeers, I believe. The other thing is that X-Factor has thus far almost invariably generated at least one "novelty" act. Jedward was a top 6 from this past season.

dark tyler said...

I don't care what they do with Idol as long as Cowell brings Cheryl Cole with him in the US. My screen needs more Cheryl.

black magic woman said...

I'm in the states and I watched the most recent season of UK X-Factor (such things can be found easily on the net) and while I think it is an interesting alternative to AI (and perhaps better than AI), it still has a lot of AI's weaknesses.

For example, it was clear to me that the producers and judges chose contestants based on perceived popularity and not because they were particularly talented. There were some talented people, but there was also a lot of really terrible singing week after week. I don't mind some bad singing, but X-Factor had some terrible performances week after week.

I like the notion that groups, individuals over 25, 16-25 girls and boys will be featured on the program. I do not like the constant focus and attention on the judges, however. The judges choose the songs the contestants sing and (perhaps this is more an indication of British media than US media), but the reports of fighting between contestants and judges was absolutely ridiculous.

That said, other countries' versions of X-Factor have a lot of interesting performances. I saw clips of performances from France and I was absolutely captivated by a particular group Basilic there. I couldn't understand a word of the commentary, but the singing was all in English.

If you get the right contestants, it could bring a lot of interest. I just worry about producer interference - let the people with good voices and good performance styles compete, please. Limit the caterwauling.

Dan said...

If there's one good thing to come out of this for me, it's that XF:US will apparently inherit XF:UK's schedule (Aug-Dec), so the UK version will assumedly get put back to spring. And that will mean the UK will finally start getting Christmas #1's that aren't XF winners, or a protest campaign that makes the likes of Rage Against The Machine #1 for Christmas time.