Fox’s popular competition show American Idol aired its season 12 finale last week. When American Idol first aired in 2002, it was instantly popular. The premise is simple: thousands of hopefuls sing for a panel of celebrity judges. The judges then spend several weeks weeding out the weaker singers and then present the finalists to be judged by America. The show then airs live as the audience votes for the singer who America wants as the next American Idol. This show has produced many new singing sensations including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert.
During the past couple of seasons, American Idol has been undergoing many changes in format and judges, and the show’s popularity has suffered from it. The season 12 finale was the least watched finale of Idol in history. Vulture reports that only 14.3 million viewers tuned to see Candice Glover be crowned as the twelfth American Idol. This number, while considerable, is a pittance when compared to previous seasons. The season 12 finale was the first American Idol finale to attract less than 20 million viewers.
Additionally, the most recent episode was also the lowest rated American Idol finale since the start of the show. According to Entertainment Weekly, the episode received a 3.6 rating among adults under 50. A 3.6 rating, once again, could be impressive. The scandal here is seen when looking back at the success of previous Idol seasons. The 2012 finale had a 6.4 rating among the same age group, and the 2011 season finale was rated a whopping 9.2. In fact, the 2013 finale was rated lower than any of the episodes from the previous year’s season.
Vulture also points out that in the span of these two years, American Idol has lost its standing as television’s most watched program. The show’s rating is down a spectacular 44 percent, and Idol has lost one third of its audience from last year. With numbers like these, Fox executives are scrambling to get the show back on track and restore it to its former glory.
If the show has come to its all-time low this year, the audience wonders: What will the show be like next year? As reported by the Huffington Post, rumors are already beginning to fly that the show will be immensely remodeled for season 13. There may be a drastic change in judges, as it is possible that all of the current judges (Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban) will not return next season. Idol is also considering other changes to the show including the removal of themed nights in the final twelve.
In the new season that will air in January of 2014, American Idol hopes to gain a new core audience, one comprised of a younger generation. The show will most likely undergo numerous changes. Only time will tell if Idol can make up for lost time and bump up the ratings next season.