American Idol: 10 Changes We'd Make for a Better Season 11

The confetti’s been swept up. The summer tour dates have been announced. And Scotty McCreery’s “I Love You This Big” is headed for a date with country radio. All of which is another way of saying that American Idol‘s 11th season is a mere seven months away.

With that in mind, I sat down and hammered out a list of 10 changes I’d make to the Idol machine to keep it humming along in high-rated, entertaining fashion. Check out my list of proposed tweaks, then hit the comments and suggest your own!

1) Limit the number of votes per device: What’s the point of dialing on behalf of your favorite singer when you know that somewhere in a dank basement, a power-texting lunatic is dumping 1,000 votes into the system on behalf of Cute Male Contestant No. 573? A 10-vote limit on every phone or computer might remedy the feelings of hopelessness that haunt Idol fans whose busy lives won’t allow them to devote two hours a week to the art of speed-dialing. In fact, if Idol is serious about discovering the next great music superstar, maybe iTunes downloads should count toward the final tally, too?

2) Reboot the judges panel (again): To be fair, Jennifer Lopez showed great early-season promise — giving succinct, specific feedback without resorting to cruel taunts — but eventually, she squandered her credibility by lavishing praise on the producers’ favorites (regardless of the quality of the performances) and maligning underdog Haley Reinhart with malignant glee. Steven Tyler, meanwhile, was great in the carefully edited, pre-taped audition rounds, but took a permanent vacation when the live shows started. And Randy Jackson’s poor taste, appallingly lame catchphrases (“in it to win it!”), and nonexistent humor proved less entertaining and more infuriating than ever in his tenth year of Idol service. Frequent cast changes worked for years on Law & Order; they can work for Idol, too. (For the record, we’d accept any combination of the following past mentors/contestants: Babyface, Melinda Doolittle, Harry Connick Jr., Sheryl Crow, Jimmy Iovine, Peggi Blu, and Shania Twain.)

3) Make sure the new panel isn’t working from a script penned by Nigel Lythgoe: It doesn’t really matter who’s occupying the Paula Abdul Memorial Chair if that person isn’t encouraged to freely speak his or her mind. Too often this season, Randy and J.Lo regurgitated the same tired catchphrases (“Scotty McCreery concert!” “the Lauren Alaina we fell in love with at her audition!” “emotionally perfect!”) and seemed ill-prepared to offer constructive criticism when a front-runner delivered a substandard performance. The only thing Uncle Nigel should be concerned with for Season 11 is that his judges give concise feedback that’s infused with context, perspective, and specific goals to help the neophyte singers improve their vocals, creativity, and overall stage presence.

4) Aggressively expand lists of cleared songs; deliver fresh, unexpected weekly themes; and create a “banned songs” hall of fame/shame: Really, with all the money and pop-culture influence Idol has amassed through the years, how hard can this be? Not a single theme week should pass where contestants don’t have access to a pre-cleared list of at least 250 songs. “One-Hit Wonders,” “No Ballads Allowed,” “Songs About Heartbreak,” and “Contestants’ Favorite Little-Known Album Track” should replace the threadbare themes Idol fans have come to know and dread. And, honestly, imagine the widespread good-will that would result from Ramiele Malubay, Paige Miles, and Scott Savol returning to the Idol stage to permanently retire “Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” from the competition.

5) Use the panel of all-star producers to help contestants create unique and inventive song arrangements for the Idol stage. Despite Don Was, Rock Mafia, Tricky Stewart, Rodney Jerkins, and Jim Johnsin helping the Top 13 in the studio, Season 10 had fewer scintillating song reboots in the vein of Kris Allen’s “Heartless” or Daughtry’s “I Walk the Line” than ever before. Perhaps Jimmy Iovine and the Intescope team can set up some kind of behind-the-scenes bonus plan for the producers of Season 11’s three most-downloaded ditties?

6) Give us three weeks of semifinals, and kill the Wild Card: Back in Seasons 4-7, 24 contestants — 12 men and 12 women — entered the semifinals, with four singers going home each week until 12 finalists remained. This method allowed previously unheralded singers like Jason Castro to emerge as true contenders, possibly overrated ones to expose their weaknesses (i.e. Sundance Head), and put the power where it belongs — in the hands of the people, not the judges. Heck, with this method in place, we might’ve had Lauren Turner and Kendra Chantelle in the Season 10 Top 13 instead of Thia Megia and Karen Rodriguez.

7) Let the narrative of the season unfold organically instead of trying to force it to fit into an outline conceived in a conference room back in January: One of the most maddening aspects of Idol over the years is the refusal of Nigel Lythgoe & Co. to recognize when a dark horse contestant (Kris Allen, Jason Castro, Haley Reinhart) ups his or her game and emerges as a true contender, or an early-season front-runner (Danny Gokey, Jacob Lusk, Lil Rounds) fails to pan out as expected. This unwavering obstience often leaves viewers wondering if they’re watching an exciting reality competition or a soul-crushing scripted drama controlled by a dystopian regime.

8 ) Keep the “bad auditions” to one night, and add two or three more Hollywood Week telecasts to the mix: We can all agree that extended footage of Casey Abrams and Kendra Chantelle covering “Georgia on My Mind” are a better use of our couch-potato time than images of some git in a Statue of Liberty costume warbling “New York, New York,” yes?

9) Keep musical diversity in mind when casting the semifinals: As fans of Seasons 5 and 10 can attest, Idol is always a little more thrilling when the contestant base reflects a wide range of musical styles — jazz, rock, pop, country, and R&B.

10) Ban the judges from watching dress rehearsals: No matter how much this practice helps the all-star panel organize and articulate their thoughts, at the end of the day, they should only be judging contestants’ performances when the cameras are rolling and the pressure is on. Otherwise, it’s all too easy for viewers to sit slack-jawed during critiques and wonder, “Are the judges listening to the same performances as I am?”

What do you make of my suggestions for Idol‘s 11th season? Are there any motions you’d like to second, or any proposals you’d immediately quash? And most importantly, are there changes you’d like to see that I’ve failed to list? Then by all means hit the comments and share with your fellow readers! And to get up-to-the-minute alerts on when my interviews with Lauren Alaina, Scotty McCreery, Haley Reinhart and (hopefully) Casey Abrams will post, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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  1. Jay says:

    I couldn’t have said it better. They should just make you a judge.

    • Tuzo says:

      Slezak as a judge? No way! He’s way more valuable leading the Idoloonie Nation. ;)

      • Eolra says:

        Slezak as judge? I love me some Slezak on Idoloonies, but haven’t you noticed that he really sugar-coats things during the Idol interviews? I have yet to hear him flat-out tell someone *to their face* that they are a hot-honeyed mess. For interview purposes, this is fine of course – more comfort for the interviewee brings down guards and results in more insider information…..but could he really *bring* it to the judges table without pulling any punches? Not sure…..

    • Cheryl says:

      Exactly my thoughts. Michael would make the best judge. He has more intelligence and common sense than all of the “judges” put together. I have total respect for his knowledge of music and what it takes to sing a song well.

    • Just Jules says:

      How about they just get three judges who are invested in giving real constructive criticism to actually encourage the contestants to give there best performances each week? If their “chosen ones” fail at it, so be it. More dynamic people will sell more songs. They need remember that Carrie Underwood developed throughout her season (as did Kelly) and they ended up selling well. I bet I can count how many songs Gokey and Lil Rounds sold on one hand, and they were pimped as much as Lauren was this season.

      Time to get real or lose viewers to The VOICE.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Lil Rounds was sure promoted but she didn’t last anywhere near as long as Lauren. I seem to recall she had a couple of good live performances and then things fell apart – I seem to recall the judges turned on her and accused her of not knowing what kind of artist she wanted to be, blah blah blah…the usual.
        what’s Lil up to these days? I really kind of liked her.

        • takakupo says:

          The judges were very nice to Lauren though (and sometimes, she really deserved it). Lil Rounds however really needed a lot more guidance. Season 8 was around the time that Simon finally got put up as producer and his influence was dominating the show. Rounds got her butt kicked by song selection and her range wasn’t as big as the producers made it out to be.

          As of right now, I think Lil Rounds was supposed to put out an album but never got that far. She was quite the character on Idol :]

        • Lee says:

          Who cares about Lil Rounds. I thought it was ridiculous that both she and Anoop Desai were eliminated together because Anoop is so much better! As a matter of fact, I just downloaded his latest album called Zero.0. It is fantastic. I especially like OoWee. In terms of songwriting and singing, I think Anoop is the best artist of Season 8–including Kris Allen and Adam Lambert. If you don’t believe me, then check out Anoop’s album. It is realy freaking good.

      • @galaga6846 says:

        Everyone seems to have these romantic notions about The Voice, but I’ve been less than impressed with the last few episodes. The preliminary audition rounds were entertaining, but the talent is kind of dull in my opinion.

        • darcy's evil twin says:

          I kind of have to agree with you, @galaga6846. I’m visiting a friend and yesterday one of the satellite networks (was it E!, perhaps?) ran a marathon of all the episodes of “The Voice”. We watched every one of them. What disturbed me was some very good talent, IMO, was eliminated due to the “dueling” format, while some singers that weren’t quite that good ended up going through. Sound familiar? A lot like American Idol, LOL.
          I really liked Rebecca Loebe on Adam Levine’s team and she was eliminated. thought she has a lovely voice.
          I’ll be anxious to see what happens when they go live.

          • CandaceTX says:

            yeah, I am straining to stay in love with the Voice. They should have held the blind auditions and immediately sent those prospects to the live shows with mentoring from the judges.

            The battle rounds were obnoxious…and unfulfilling. Any show that does not allow the audience to vote for Rebecca Loebe or Tje Austin is wrong wrong wrong

            I hope they do not mess up a good idea.

        • BellevueTechie says:

          I actually think some of the talent on The Voice is good, and Round 1 was cool, but I can’t believe some of the choices the judges have made in the Battle round. Christina in particular missed the mark in 75% of her battles. I think Adam has the best overall team now that the others have decimated theirs.

    • Maybelle says:

      I find it funny Slezak that you don’t like how Uncle Nigel edited Idol because your favorite(s) didn’t get the best edit. What would you and your many drones have to bitch about if Haley and company would have gotten the best edit? Just because your and others favorites didn’t do as well as others should give you all a clue to as why? You are too biased to take seriously, really…..

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        It’s rather difficult to NOT be biased when the program is a singing competition- hello! Slezak is not Walter Cronkite – he’s in the entertainment business. Trust me, I haven’t always agreed with him but I always enjoy Slezak.
        Certainly it’s easier to handle biased editing and judging when it complements our favorites – because it means they might just be favoring the best singers and performers, which would be a nice change. I told my husband if I had to listen to the judges go on about how one more mediocre performance was “beautiful” and “in it to win it” I was going to slit my wrists!

      • Sebby says:

        Sorry, but this use to be a singing competition. If it still were, all the contestants would be given the same amount of screen time. They’d each have their chats with Ryan before they sang and the viewers would know a bit about each of the contestants “backstory.” In addition, they’d all receive fair constructive criticism regarding their performances. No single contestant should be given “the best edit” or be considered a favorite of the judges or producers. Yet we all know this is hardly the case. I was a huge fan of James at the start of this season but even I got sick of the “judges” praising his every performance regardless of the quality of his singing. I don’t think Slezak is bothered that Haley didn’t get the best edit…..I think he’s ticked–like a pretty good amount of Idol fans are—that certain contestants are so overly pimped and pushed on the viewers and these contestants are, essentially, given a free pass. To me, that’s not a fair competition. And although I can’t speak for all Haley fans, it wouldn’t surprise me if they are happy that she wasn’t pimped. I know I am.

        • Tusk says:

          In retrospect, I am with you. She’s like that girlfriend that you find something new you like about her every time you see her. As opposed to the girlfriend that you know what she’s about from day one.

          What we found out about her wasn’t a carefully produced project….how many times did they try to rewrite the Lauren narrative? Look back at her earlier performances…even the one in group sing when they sang around Steven on the stage. Lauren was all kinds of sass and vocal power. All of a sudden she became this fragile bunny that we daren’t startle.

          One of the great let downs of Season 10 is we never got to see Lauren grow with her talent.

          Ultimately, I am glad that Haley didn’t win it all, but got close enough to perform and album’s worth of music and live performances…If you think about it she was on each week except the final 2. Scotty can have his huge ho-downs…I’ll take Haley in a smallish venue, maybe 10,000 concert hall and a long and interesting career…with surprising but quality recordings…something to look forward to.

        • Yo says:

          We continue to call this is a singing competition: It is not, it is a scripted reality show the producers tell us is a singing competition. At some point the audience will wise up and stop participating, but we not yet there. Idol needs to reign in its producers, because they can not tell the difference between creating a narrative and “pimping,” between gilding reality and inventing a new one. (Creating Lauren Alaina as a sympathetic southern teen is dramatically different than the camera licking she received in some audition rounds. And then there was that pimped cancer sticken aunt who disappeared in one of Idol’s more transparent forays into bad taste.) We won’t tolerate being manipulated forever, we won’t tolerate offensive taste forever; right now we seem willing to go along for the ride even as we check out better ones.

      • Yasin says:

        Although, I think this is rude and disrespectful, the message is clear. A lot of you guys are upset that Haley got a rough edit, I doubt you guys would be saying the same had the tables been reversed and Haley got the better edit. And no offense, but haven’t you guys think that the fact that they gave Haley a bad edit, caused sympathy for her thus making her everyones favourite. Maybe they deliberately gave Haley bad reviews and picked on her so she would get all the public sympathy. Hmm did you guys ever think that? Probably not.

        • notmzbehavin says:

          @Yasin I don’t know if you really understand the bottom line here; it wasn’t that Haley herself was being given bad edits, but that anyone would be given such a bad edit. It was, at it’s most basic level, unfair.

          Yes, many here including me thought that Haley was the better all-around artist. But if she were being shoved down our throats (even though good), and Lauren was being treated badly (though good as well), then the gauntlet would have been picked up for Lauren.

          I personally don’t like to see anyone being so badly treated by people that have real power over them. It really is the responsibility of the PTB’s to exert a little self control over their narrative so that things like Haley’s treatment don’t happen again.

          • Yasin says:

            Do you not remember Top 5 week? Jacob was criticized for singing both parts of No Air and his song selection. Are you guys not watching the same show or what. You guys fail to realize that all this “bad edit” stuff that you guys are complaining about- actually helped Haley instead of hurting her.

          • Lee says:

            @Yasin: How the heck did it help Haley when the judges INTENTIONALLY gave her the WORST song on Final 3 nite? They knew there were so many words in that song that had to be altered for a family TV show, and there would be no way anyone–including Haley–could do it justice. And then they had her sing that HORRIBLE song last. Now compare that to what happened last year when Simon Cowell picked Hallelujah for Lee DeWyze. How the heck is that helping Haley? Get real. You are as delusional as Randy and JLo. No wonder you’re defending them.

        • Name That Tune says:

          Yasin, it has very little to do with Haley. There is a Haley or Crystal or Alison or Melinda or Daughtry or Bice every year. But the same type of contestant has won for the past 4 years – Nonthreatening White Guy With the Guitar. Vanilla. Frankly, I’m tired of the formula. I’d like to see someone of color or a female win the thing. I’d like to see more interesting talent, even if it is flawed. I’d like to see contestants who take musical risks because that tells me who they are. Because this year’s top 2 was boring as hell.
          I won’t be wasting 16 weeks of my life with that next year if TPTB do not make serious changes.

          • Lily says:

            Agreed, for those of us who’ve been watching for longer than just this season, we remember countless other ‘bad edits’ where producer pre-scripting was revealed (Jason Castro getting criticized harshly for a song he hadn’t even sung yet, anyone?) This show represents itself as being a fair competition when it is anything but that, and we’re just dupes for bothering to vote and spend our money enriching Idol and AT&T.

      • Ben says:

        Exactly Maybelle. Sorry to those who think Michael would be a great judge. He wouldn’t. You need to appreciate what everyone brings to the table. Tvline has been out of touch with the real world this Idol season, it’s just become a Haley fan site, and it’s not the love for Haley that has shown this but the disdain for the miriad fantastic performances by other contestants this season.

        Can’t believe all the crap about Haley’s edit either. From my perspective, Haley got the single best deal ont he show by a long margin. Scotty didn’t even get to sing last once, which everyone knows is the producers spot. Haley got to sing in it… FOUR TIMES! Thats about the most in idol history. Not only that, she got the most standing O’s, the most hype. The bad Haley edit is a myth. Lauren is the one who got the terrible edit, that didn’t even show who she was. If they had stopped trying to make her a ‘story’ and had just let her breathe for herself, she might have won. Really, if the producers edit is so pwerful, why didn’t Danny Gokey win? Why did Kris Allen win? The whole idea is a load of bollocks.

        • Ben says:

          I agree with some of Michael’s suggestions and not others. The bonstant ‘banned song’ list that comes up every year is a waste of time. Did we even get any of those songs this year? Oh, one – Pia’s ‘All By Myself’ – and it was one of the best performances for me of the season. If people want to pick those songs, it’s their own head on the line that they might be compared unfavourably to past contestants.

          Also, I liked the top 24 –> top 13 this year. Very slick. Made America focus on who was best and as a result they picked the top 10. Michael not wanting Thia in the top 13? Proof that Michael is biased towards particular styles of music. That girls voice was pure as silk and she was far better on the night than Kendra Chantelle or Lauren Turner. Wild cards are needed in case America drops the ball – which they didn’t, so the judges were on a hiding to nothing with their picks. Actually I liked all the decisions from the perspective of the way the season was made up.

          The only reason anyone wants the judges rebooted is a percieved slight on Haley (really? Haley was clearly Stevens favourite all season long). The judges need time to settle into their rhythm, rebooting the panel every year would be a terrible decision in the long run.

          What do I agree with? Lots of things

          Limit votes per device to ten – yes please. This is my number one fix.

          Stop Nigel trying to make a script – yes please x2. Kicking Chris Medina before the top 24 is proof the judges are able to do this. A lot of the suggestions are tied up to this – not letting judges see dress rehearsal for instance (although frankly better still would be making the judges mentor them the whole week – that way they know where the constructive criticism is needed on the night)

          Keep musical diversity in mind – this is what made season 10 one of the greats. It’s also why there is so much passion behind so many different contestants. I love it!

          Thats covers it off. Good job on the whole MS!

    • Tammie says:

      Please send this to Nygel every day until he gets the message. Every idea was absolutely perfect!

      • Karrie says:

        I agree, we need to spam Nigel with this until he ‘gets it’ that he isn’t the producing God that he thinks! While I’m glad that he decided to finally allow the duets on iTunes… they were all the bad ones!

    • CarolH says:

      I couldn’t agree more…loved of your suggestions and also think you would make a terrific judge!!!!!!

    • loli says:

      Some of us love watching the bad auditions. It makes you more grateful for the good singers towards the end and adds an element of humor to idol that it desperately needs.

    • Cassie May says:

      11.) Replace Nigel with Michael. ‘Nuff said.

    • wolfeatworld says:

      Outstanding article!!!! Agree on all points; especially about altering the Judges panel.
      Thanks for sharing this with us!


  2. Teena says:

    Can we bring back the ability to buy the performance video on iTunes? Would love to have Casey and Haley’s “Moanin'” on my iPod.

    • ladyhelix says:


    • Tusk says:

      add “Gunpowder and Lead”, “Rhiannon”, “Rolling in the Deep” (live performance different/superior to studio).

      • Teena says:

        I definitely agree, Tusk. IMO, most of the live performances were better than the studio versions. I didn’t buy much last season, but I have several performance videos from season 8. You don’t have to watch them to have them on a playlist.

    • EvaneSam says:

      Well I have all the live performances on my iPod.
      You can download Real Player 10 (the free version) which also has a pluggin with which you can download videos from YouTube and other sites and it can also convert them to any file format you want it to. (mp3, mp4, 3gp, wmw, etc)

  3. Miriam says:

    I would reserve more results’ night performance time for American Idol alumni, especially the alum who are independent and therefore do not get the same national exposure as the alum signed to big labels such as Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud, Michael Sarver, Gina Glocksen, etc. before giving it to bigger name artists or bands just looking to promote their latest projects. Idol should take care of their own first.

    • Michael Slezak says:

      Miriam, I couldn’t agree more! In fact, I endorse this comment as Item #11 on my list! -Slezak

      • Miriam says:

        Thank you, Michael! I feel so honored.

      • Miriam says:

        Another suggestion: nor more prerecorded fake live results’ night performances. If you cannot clear your schedule to perform live in Hollywood the night your performance is supposed to air on one of America’s highest rated television programs, then you shouldn’t get the slot.

        • Kyle says:

          Agreed. And cut the results show to 30 minutes.

        • takakupo says:

          Actually, half the time (could be more, who knows >.>) the reason that some of these artists don’t go in to perform on the live shows is because they don’t want to be live. They want to do several tapings and take the best live performance to air the next night. Kinda sad but I think Enrique needed a whole week this season. He was awful.

          • Miriam says:

            That’s another reason not to do prerecorded performances. American Idol is about celebrating singers who can perform live as that is what America supposedly bases their votes on (although yes the contestants release studio version of the songs they performed live.) If an artist or band can’t do a one-take, live performance, then they shouldn’t get the slot.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Great suggestion, Miriam, and I would even add there should be more former Idol contestants performing on the regularly broadcast Idol shows, not just Results Night. There are plenty of former contestants that could perform, and you listed several.

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      Amen to that! These kids are so totally under-appreciated.
      In fact, how’s this for a TV movie/series idea: All 120 Idol finalists (and some semifinalists) come back to the show and complain that they, or their former cast-mates in the case of the successful ones, are not getting enough support from the “parent” of their careers. The producers refuse to listen, and the alumni stage a Revolution and take over. “Idols of America, unite!” or something like that.
      I know, I’m full of crazy ideas. So sue me. I’m sure you have plenty.

      • takakupo says:

        I also have a crazy idea in which the elminated contestants get sent to FX! or some other subsidiary channel and get to perform just like the non-elminated contestants (probably a day after the results show) following the same theme in the same week but without the benefit of being able to choose a song first. Any song that was performed by a finalist on the regular show would be off limits to the eliminated finalists. The last remaining piece is that there would be no more eliminations. Just performances. Just to see what what we may or may not have missed by eliminating that contestant.

        I’m sure the idea would be a bit of a wreck in the first few weeks but as time goes by we see that certain idol contestants grow with criticism and experience. With three good judges and some sort of incentive (like who had the two most popular performances wins a sponsorship or a hosting deal, or they just get paid to perform in general) I think the contestants would get a substantial boost in reputation and we would get to know all 12 contestants MUCH better every year :]

        So maybe I’m a little obsessed. We can sue each other >.>

    • dorothy says:

      The latest suggestion by Miriam and all of yours are on the money. As an 80 year old constant viewer & voter,I am doing my best to vote 20 or more times on facebook which is an improvement over the phone where I could never get through! Everyone I talked to thought the contest was rigged in favor of the final two. I think it was more like the teen agers and younger ones that can loved them and not necessarily their ability. and PLEASE, no more crazy entertainers as guest!

    • nodak says:

      I agree- I think that AI should be promoting those singers that they brought to our attention in past years, because the viewers have invested time in their journey and we continue to be interested in them. Heck, we can see Lady Gaga and Beyonce on every awards show they have, but we never get to see those ex-Idol contestants.

  4. Yasin says:

    Michael, I have to disagree with a majority of your suggestions. First of all, the judges were great this year, and I think we need to give them one more shot, now that they’ve seen themselves this year and see what they can change about each other. Also, the Hollywood Week and the Semi-Final rounds were cut out BECAUSE fans/critics alike would complain that it drags too much.

    • Terry says:

      “the judges were great this year”? What show were you watching? Randy and Jennifer let their disdain for Haley show to the point of being cruel. It was frustrating and upsetting to watch and if they’re both back next season, I’m tuning out.

      • Yasin says:

        Randy has been doing the show for 10 years- he won’t be going anywhere. I personally did like Jennifer/Steven early on, but I think I’m in the minority when it comes to Haley- I don’t like her.

        And why the hell does everyone think that Jennifer/Randy were cruel, they’re not even close to being as “cruel” as Simon has ever been in his comments. I personally think that there criticism made Haley fight, and thus making her performance even better- as both JLO and Randy gave her a standing ovation in her second song.

        • Terry says:

          The were cruel because they picked on Haley while praising everyone else (even when they stunk!) Their reaction when Haley was eliminated was cruel, go take a look at the expression on Jennifer’s face (Part 5 @ 9:08). I admit I’m biased, Haley was my favorite. However, Randy and Jennifer’s favoritism was undeniable.

          • Terry says:

            Oh and who can forget Randy after round 1 of the Top 4 performances saying it was a tie between everyone except Haley minutes before she had to perform her second song. If that’s not cruel, I don’t know what is.

          • Yo says:

            You do not need to be a fan of a particular contestant to know he/she is not receiving fair criticism or edits. I’m not much of a Scotty person (more Lauren’s, really), but he got very little pimping compared to Lauren. The criticism of Haley was over the line, and the same happened to a degree with Jacob earlier.

        • Marc says:

          The important point is not that they criticized Haley but that they ONLY criticized her despite obvious flawed performances by tohers during the same show. It was obvious and it was reprehensible. I will never tune in to this show again. It is obviously scripted.

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            Marc – great minds think alike. Someplace in this comment thread someone said they should replace Idol with some decent scripted dramas. My reply was it IS scripted.

          • Yasin says:

            It is there OPINION! They are allowed to criticize whoever the hell they like. To them they felt like Haley was bad, so they told her. Personally if someone told me that I sucked, I would work 10x harder on them to prove it to them wrong, and when I win them over- that would be the ultimate “F*** you!”. When Haley got the standing o, I truly think that inside she said “That’s right bitches, I am good”. Even Haley herself has said, that at times it got to her but she got up the next day and it drove her to fight that much harder. If the woman that you guys are all defending is ok with it, and took it the right way, God knows why you guys are all having your knickers in a twist.

        • Allie0903 says:

          Yasin, Agreed, I felt Steven and JLo were good and deserve another shot. I didn’t like Haley that much either – she had a couple of good performances, but many that were just sub-par. Then again, I got totally frustrated after Pia and James were eliminated. Neither should have left before Haley. I seem to be out numbered by folks commenting here…Should be called the Haley/Casey ‘love fest’ – not idoloonies. Most of the suggestions are good – wouldn’t re-boot the judges yet,but killing the catch phrases sounds good. I also wouldn’t allow the Nigel/producers pre-scripting &/or pre-determining who should win either.

          I do think all but parts of 2 & 3 are very good ideas and I’d like to see them adopted. I’ll really make myself unpopular as I don’t think Michael Slezak should take over the judges as noted by grakky and a few others – he seems to be extremely biased in my opinion. Like the blog though!!

        • EvaneSam says:

          Simon may have been cruel but he was at least honest. If he said you sucked then you really did. He always criticized the peopel who deserved it and praised the ones who did a great job.

          If Simon would have been on the show you can bet that Jacob, Lauren, Scotty and James wouldn’t have gotten so many “In it to win it” “It was beautiful” and “emotionaly perfect” c*** that they did. He would have called them out on being pitchy, and boring.

          • Katillac says:

            Why do people think Simon was honest? He was the biggest manipulator of them ALL! Telling someone they suck doesn’t make you honest, unless you really DO suck. There were too many times Simon’s review DID NOT match the performance we just saw (Lee DeWyze is a perfect example). Simon followed an agenda. Just like the current judges follow Nigel’s agenda.

          • Janie says:

            i just finished reading American Idol the Untold Story by Richard Rushfield. It’s very interesting and does tell some behind the scenes stuff that I didn’t know before.

            One thing it does mention though is that simon definitely would manipulate people. Sometimes he would say he didnt like people to make people like them more and sometimes he genuinely didnt like people..

            one thing it does mention though is that even though the judges and the editing may try to sway voters.. ultimately it is up to america and who they like and that is why dark horses like DAvid Cook could rise up with their talent and win the competition.

            i believe if Haley truly was more popular than Scotty or Lauren, she would’ve won… but unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on who you are a fan of) the majority of people who vote for american idol do tend to be younger who sympathasize with the young singers…

      • Maybelle says:

        Really Terry? You complain about Jlo and Randy because they dare to say anything against your fav Haley? What would you have to complain about if they did that to another one? NOTHING! Be glad they did so you can complain like all the others on here. What all of you should have done is get all your many (I am sure not) buddies and jammed the phone lines with your voting for Haley. Unless…..unless you all think that maybe it is “fixed” and Haley would have never made it anyways……ummmmmm well maybe you could have hired many teenagers that have the art of 2 hour phone dialing to an art to vote for Haley……..yeah that would have worked I am sure!!!!! (said sarcasticly)

        • Terry says:

          HaHaHaHaHa, would I complain if they did that to another? The point is THEY DIDN’T! The “judges” never said one negative word to either Scotty or Lauren all season long. Yet they put Haley down week after week after week. I found that frustrating and upsetting, but if that’s your idea of entertainment, enjoy!

          • darcy's evil twin says:

            ^What Terry Said^

          • B-scot says:

            They did critique Lauren once early on with her needing to hit the high notes but then she seemed to shutdown on stage so they never did it again.
            I believe that if Kelly C. had been on the show this year she too would have been hammered and likely not won. Could have Carrie lasted this year to get to the top 3, she may have beaten out Lauren or gone home early like Pia but would have lost to Scotty.

          • Maybelle and Yasin says:

            They don’t see it, waste of time, they hate Haley and don’t care that their favorites could have been sooo much better if they got some critiques to on how to improve, the fact that they got none is a shame because Scotty, James and Lauren are talented and deserve better.

    • grakky says:

      The judges were as great as how you’d describe a massive train wreck and you’re really really really into train wrecks…blah. Haley pwned it and you guys got scared and had to flip your simple little neurons away from the script “Push Lauren, push Lauren, push Lauren” when it was an obvious Haley-owns-this-song to the fixed version of wrestling…you guys turn my stomach. I nominate Michael Slezak to just take over AI and do it right.

      • Yasin says:

        Obviously Haley wasn’t a frontrunner early on since she was in the Bottom 3 multiple times in the beginning and almost got eliminated on multiple occasions.

        Not everyone likes Haley- that doesn’t mean there stupid/dumb.

        • Tusk says:

          “Not everyone likes Haley- that doesn’t mean there stupid/dumb.”

          True, but what is “Stupid/dumb”, is your statement implies that only “frontrunners” win…see Pia or Casey.

          What is Stupid and dumb is not realising that your favorites could have been a lot better if the producers/judges decide to give them a free ride to the finals while teaching them nothing about how to get better….sure keep sining off key (James)…sure keep holding that microphone sideways and making googly eyes at the camera(Scotty)…..sure keep not being aware of breath control and forgetting your words in top 3 performance(Lauren)

          That, Yasin, is what is stupid and dumb.

          • Yasin says:

            First of all that is rude and disrespectful, and I have been nothing but respectful and nice in my comments. There is not one single thing in that post that implies that only frontrunners win. The only thing that implies is that Haley was close to being eliminated, and she later on became a frontrunner. I personally think she became one because of rude comments by the judges. Another thing- I have not yet mentioned who were my favorites- so you implying that might make you sound whatever you just accused me of being. Not everyone liked Casey, and clearly not everyone liked Pia either. You all need to be a little respectful to people commenting here, because not everyone that comments wants to get attacked.

          • Tusk says:

            Apparantly reading comprehension isn’t your thing…

            I never called you stupid. I did say what is stupid.

            I’m on to you, you’re transarent and I will no longer pay attention.

      • Eric says:

        The bias by Randy against Haley was from the very beginning when people really listened to the judges. I was amazed she persisted despite that but I’m guessing people that understand music could see she was really talented and was developing right in front of our eyes from a pop music standpoint. I. however, dont really think it was a conspiracy against her. I think it was the fact that she is very independent and would sometimes listen and others would not listen to their suggestions. Remember Haley is an accomplished musician in jazz not only as a singer but as a pianist and is doing a masters in music. This probably hurt their egos and made them ill-willed towards her. Jennifer felt that way later than Randy. Haley just didnt pay their game and that is what I really like about her. SHe is a true artist not a sell out and will only do what she feels right. people should applaud that in an artist…isnt that what defines an artist? oh but I forgot, this is just a teenage popularity contest not a real talent show. Haley get your record our on your own. Post it online–forget interscope–forget the stupid tour, we will buy it. Dont wait too long. Fans are fickle.

        • maxandhunter says:

          While I thought the judges were awful, I disagree they were unfair to Haley. She simply wasn’t very like-able. Were they supposed to fake it? She had a trashy mouth. If anyone was cheated, it was Pia.

          • nodak says:

            How many musical performers are judged for their likeability? Do you think Katy Perry, BEyonce, Lady Gaga,& JLo are “likeable?” Perhaps they are, but it doesn’t matter- they sing and perform, and we enjoy their music! AI is not the “Miss Congeniality Contest.” Because of this problem with the voters, great voices and performers have not won AI, for example, Adam Lambert (gay, guyliner), Crystal Bowersox (Dreadlocks, tattoos, piercings, single mom), Haley Reinhart(confident, stood up for herself).

          • B-scot says:

            The judges were unbalanced in the critiquing but Randy did go over the top that one week, even cutting in over Steven to repeat it and then they all tied for first but Haley comment was kicking when she was down.
            I also heard that Lauren has the worst trashy mouth but it was cut from the TV show, while they keep Haley’s in. Lauren is a tom boy and abit on the wild side but was portrayed at a sweet shy southern small town girl. Lauren wanted to wear flashier cloths but the show wanted her dressed a certain way but now she is wearing bright red top and matching red boots with skintight black jeans.

          • Emma says:

            I found Haley totally likeable. And I found Pia totally boring. Different strokes for different folks as they say!

          • EvaneSam says:

            maxandhunter, Haley wasn’t likeable and a brat??(I know you didn’t write brat but it’s for those who think it)

            Haley might not have gotten a great edit and backstory but I remember at the beginging (when I didn’t even like her) and she kept being sent to the bottom 3 stools I remember thinking OK, this chick cool. She took the bad news with a funny/at ease attitude. Dusting of the stool, doing the “drats” hand gesture, when coupled with Scotty and one of them was def in the bottom 3 she had that facial expresion of “C’mon Ryan I know it’s me, just say it” or her goofy dances with Casey.
            That positive attitude and playfulness made me like her no matter how her performances were.

    • B-scot says:

      Judges were better early on but seem to gone a lot lighter on the teens all year. Randy has become to predictable and over used phrases and JLo seemed to move into actress mode around Top 6 week. I like Steven as the cheerleader since at least he was always balanced, ok he gave the girls more of a boost but they likely need it with all the young girl voters.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      The judges were great during the audition rounds – Steven was funny and engaging, Jennifer was caring and showed a side I never expected to see, and even Randy upped his game at the table.

      And then…the regular shows started and things slowly went in the toilet. The Judges had to adhere to some pre-determined “company line”. it was painful to watch them heap praise on mediocre performances while struggling to say something bad when Haley knocked it out of the park. The final straw was when Jennifer told Lauren there was “nothing to judge there”. Huh?

      • EvaneSam says:

        Exactly! It was so obvious. They could not judge Haley’s vocal performance because it was perfect (less so in You oughta know -> which considering that it was a very difficult song with a very low register, she still did a better job than others did all season long)
        And when they could not judge her in regards to vocals they attacked her song choices (which I loved no matter what the “judges” said).

        • Yasin says:

          Wow so someone as busy as Jennifer Lopez has nothing better to do then bring down a girl on a reality show? Wow.

    • BellevueTechie says:

      Yasin, I think you and I were watching different shows. The judges on AI were awful this year once the finalists were chosen. All credibility gone, with their inane catchphrases, non-critical reviews and self-promoting. AI needs to get a panel of professional vocal coaches on the panel, instead of big names with no idea of how to develop talent. The only good thing this year was the introduction of some real producers, but the idea didn’t go nearly far enough.

      • Yasin says:

        Its your opinion that they were awful- it’s not fact. Yes I admitt that I was waiting for some actual reviewing, during some of the live shows, but I feel that might change.

    • Name That Tune says:

      The judges were awful this season. JLo started out on the right track, but she lost interest and what we got was some sort of windup doll at the end. Steven got stifled because of his language and could never say a negative thing.
      Can’t believe this, but I found a little .avi file on my computer from Season 9 – top 13 girls week. When Randy had competent people around him – Simon, Kara, even Ellen, he actually made intelligent comments, not this “You’re in it to win it” crap. If he was supposed to be the senior spokesman for the show, he failed miserably at it. More than anyone, he needs to be fired ‘cuz he was useless this year.
      What I came away with after watching that episode is how desperately the show needs competent judges. Most of us remember Simon’s more acerbic comments, but he also provided realistic, rational feedback that made the contestants better. He wasn’t mean, just honest. And Kara gave spot on feedback to every contestant.

  5. Annie says:

    I’ll never understand all of the whining about unlimited voting. American Idol is a television show, not a platform to find the next President. Every contestant has power voters, and every contestant has people who only want to vote every other week. The same would be true if there was a ten vote limit. People would still whine about those voters who care enough to vote ten times, or say that the people who are voting don’t want to vote for women.

    • Yasin says:

      Exactly, that’s what I’m saying. I’m pretty sure there’s some girls that power voted for Lauren Alaina/Pia as well sometimes

      • Miriam says:

        As someone who has voted over and over for my favorite contestants, it’s exhausting and time consuming! You do feel that unless you’ve got at least half an hour to invest for voting, it’s not worth your time. And something I’d gladly give up in favor of x number of votes like Dancing with the Stars does.

        • Yasin says:

          If your complaining about voting multiple times- then don’t do it. Simple.

          • Miriam says:

            Of course I know I have the choice to vote and if so how many times or not to vote. I’m just responding to criticism that people feel because they only have time to drop a few votes, it’s not worth their time to vote at all because someone else out there is voting for all 2-4 hours. If the voting was leveled, more people would feel their vote would count and might vote and feel more invested in the show and the contestants both during their Idol season and after.

    • Hooch says:

      There is no way to know this. 10 votes per device sounds about right. I think everyone would feel more invested if you didn’t feel like you were just peeing in the ocean.
      No way it’s going to happen though, they get a woody from saying 95,000,000.

      • Terry says:

        “peeing in the ocean”, hahahaha, this is a very good way to describe it! I’m all for 1 vote per device. I would much rather know how may people voted, not some ridiculous number of votes that doesn’t reflect that at all.

      • jnt says:

        I’m in favor of changing the voting system so that there’s a limit on how many times you can vote for a particular contestant, rather than getting a set number of votes to divvy out between contestants.
        If you only get 10 votes, it can still be constituted as a power vote if all 10 are used on one person. And if people end up voting like that, the results might be even more messed up! It may discourage viewers to vote for multiple contestants if they feel they have too few votes to utilize (there have been shocking results due to this type of voting on DWTS, too…and the demographic for that show isn’t exactly “teeny-boppers with a cellphone and a crush”).
        I say you should only be allowed to vote for a certain contestant once, but be allowed to vote once for as many contestants as you want.

      • SHF says:

        American Idol will NEVER change its voting system. AT&T is a sponsor and it makes a ton of money off all those calls and texts. The sole purpose of ANY television show is to make money for its sponsor. Hence, the voting system will never change. Sorry (I think it sucks too, mostly because it reduces the show to a popularity/powertexting contest.)

        • Volcfom says:

          The thing I don’t understand about this argument is that most people who power vote probably have unlimited texts on their plans. If that’s the case, wouldn’t it cost AT&T more money for power-voters?

          • Diana says:

            Not necessarily. Most phone companies’ unlimited text plans have a cap. I have Verizon, so I can’t speak for AT&T, but Verizon’s unlimited text plan caps at 5,000 texts per month. Depending on how much voters text outside power voting, AT&T could make a lot of money in fees for going over the cap, especially for the teens on family share plans.

          • Name That Tune says:

            I have AT&T. They do not have a cap on their unlimited text messaging plans. With my Smart phone, I sent 30,000 messages in May – all to vote for Idol contestants & 10,000 were sent after Top 2 night. No extra fees for that either. And I didn’t sit by phone doing that, just used a little app called SMS Fire. The phone did all the work & I went to bed.

      • algalhi says:

        @Hooch — I agree. 10 votes sounds about right. Then, if you wanted to vote for more than one contestant, you could. And more people would pick up the phone to vote, for sure! It’s really about fairness, bottom line.
        In past years I would have gone for the DWTS version, but with these judges and this producer, NO!

      • EvaneSam says:

        LOL. Your exactly right. I mean look at Tom Hanks, the guy voted for the first time and thought that voting 3 times for Haley will get her to the next round. What he didn’t know what that there was a kid somewhere speed dialling 1000 times for Scotty/Lauren.

        If you know that votes are at least limited you feel like you can make a difference. As things stand now, unless you vote at least 500 times for your favorite you shouldn’t even try.

        I would also like to have iTunes sales influence the results because then people from all around the world can feel like they “voted”. There are so many AI fans in the world (me included) who would like to vote but cannot because of the whole AT&T thing.
        iTunes is international and to be honest having international fans can be a really good thing for contestants as well as producers and record labels$$$.

    • Milly says:

      American Idol is supposed to be about finding the next great singer, though, and that’s what it was for many years. There’s been a shift lately in the past few years about people wanting to keep the cute boys they like to look at rather than who is actually the best singer or gave the best performance. If votes actually equalled sales, the the past two winners would have been the most successful from their seasons.

      How about the fact that this was the lowest rated final two performance night, down even from last year, yet the largest voting total in the history of the show? It proves that there are core power voters and that a majority of people do not vote or vote so little that it doesn’t do much. The fact is that casual viewers see that their vote doesn’t make this impact and then give up.

    • JT says:

      The demographics of the fan base of each contestant certainly plays some part in the outcome. Almost certainly, Scotty and Lauren had younger overall fan bases than did Haley and James (which is not to say older folks didn’t like Scotty/Lauren, because I’m sure many did). We “middle agers” just don’t have the time to power-vote for our favorites than do our kids (and maybe grandchildren). The only time I power-voted for Haley was on Top 3– and because I thought she might actually have a chance of passing Lauren. Who had the most number of fans (voters) vs. votes– we’ll never know?. But I’m betting it was Haley this year– just like it was likely Adam last year.

    • JT says:

      Oh, and I love Micheal’s suggestion about factoring iTunes downloads. There’s no question Haley KILLED everyone in iTunes downloads (and YouTube views). Heck, Haley still has 5 songs in the Top 200 Pop category– and the competition has been over awhile.

      • Danny says:

        Where do you find the top 200 rankings? I’ve googled I-tunes & can’t seem to find it. I’ve been trying for weeks. I admit I’m not very computer savvy, but can’t find the I-tunes rankings anywhere. I’d think it would be on their site, but apparently it’s not.

        Thanks in advance.

        • Danny says:

          A little add on here. I just tried googling I-tunes top 200 just a second ago. I follow the links & end up on Billboard’s top 200. Grrrrr!!

          Would anyone have the link for I-tunes top 200?

        • algalhi says:

          @Danny, I put instructions on how to find the Top 200 Pop songs below (sorry, placed it in the wrong place).

      • algalhi says:

        Open iTunes and click on “iTunes Store” at the left of the screen.
        Look for the dark gray bar near the top and click on the down arrow to the right of “Music”. Choose “Pop”.
        On the right side of the screen, it says “Top Charts”, then “Songs” below that. Click on “See All”.
        You’ll see #1 – #200 Top Pop Songs.
        If you want to see a particular artist, click on “Artist” and eventually, it will sort the artists alphabetically.
        Haley has 4 songs on the Pop 200 now.

        • Danny says:

          Thank you so much. I’ve gotta get this in quick b4 I head off to work. Gotta get that Idol fix!! =)

          I copied/pasted it. Once again thanks for responding.

          • Danny says:

            I still thank you for your time. I couldn’t find it though. I couldn’t get to the “music” part of it. I’d been to that same site before. When I got there, the “music” didn’t show up.

            I found the top 100 songs. I’m not sure what path I took to do it though. When I got there, there was no place to click “see all” for the top 200.

            The choices I see are Songs/Albums/TV Shows/Movies & so on. I was really hoping to find this. It’s my fault for being so dense about this stuff. I’m sure it’s there somewhere.

            I’m heading out. You have an awesome day.

          • Teena says:

            Danny, you have to click on the arrow by music to get the pull down menu.

    • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

      Gotta step in here to say there is really no argument to be made IN FAVOR OF unlimited voting. Either you have faith in your favorite or you don’t.

      • Yasin says:

        It’s our right to vote for anyone we want. If people are taking out the time to fight this hard for there favorites- then who are we to tell them they shouldn’t? That’s insulting to the person whose this invested into this.

        • ATLgroove says:

          Yeah, but if you’re a true fan of the artist, at the end of the day, you’re really not helping him/her out by stacking the deck and power voting. Think about it – the artist you’re voting for goes into recording an album and thinking they have all these people that are going to buy/download their music. However, when it comes time to REALLY SUPPORT them, these “voters” are no where in sight.

          The artist gets dropped from the label and becomes a statistic and reality tv punch line.

          • Miriam says:

            I see your point @AtLgroove. I can vote for a contestant I want 1,000 times each week but that doesn’t mean I will buy 1,000 copies of their album when it comes out. Having limited voting with say 10 votes per method lets more people feel invested in the process and gets more casual fans into voting (and getting interested in buying the music or seeing that contestant on tour) and gives whoever sees the vote totals a better idea of how many people support the contestant. The only problem is the voting totals are only disclosed to the producers. I wonder if Jimmy Iovine and whoever else is in charge of picking which contestants to sign are privy to that info.

          • Yasin says:

            I understand what your saying, however we live in a democratic society, we can not tell someone that they are not allowed to vote. Personally I feel the 10 votes on DWTS is stupid, because it’s not fair to some people that have lower fan bases but are better dancers and thus the better dancers end up going home.

    • David J says:

      IN the UK the votes cost with part of the cost being donated to a performing arts charity. Surely in the US you could still allow free network cost but introduce a charity contribution for every vote, that would soon limit the excessive power voting.

    • martie says:

      most responsible parents of young children, professionals, and college students with tests the next day simply cannot compete when it comes to unlimited voting. As a result the show is dominated by either young teenagers willing to vote for two hours straight, or homemakers with nothing better to do and it robs the public of a true winner, when some of the singers appeal to more mature audiences or arent cute boys.

      • mgb says:

        I guess you have no idea what real homemakers do, since you think they have “nothing better to do” than vote for hours on this show. How condescending of you to even say such a thing.

      • Name That Tune says:

        I guess you don’t understand how to automate repetitive tasks with a Smart phone. No one needs to sit by their phone to vote for 2 hours. That’s 20th Century thinking.

      • BusyHomemaker says:

        “… or homemakers with nothing better to do …”

        Most Ignorant Post in Thread. Congrats.

    • Name That Tune says:

      It’s not whining. It’s an effort to correct a flaw in the design of the show. Remember, 1000 people with a Smart phone can easily deliver 10 million votes in 2 hours. When Idol was born 10 years ago, there wasn’t text voting with Smart phones. It was all based on picking up the phone & calling. Even with speed dialing, one person could not possibly deliver 10,000 votes.
      Until they change the voting system, it will always appear to be unfair.

  6. Annie says:

    Also, including itunes downloads is a great way to cut off the people who don’t or can’t use that service. It’s sure to favor only certain contestants.

  7. Tuzo says:

    I think you nailed it: it’s an excitingly soul-crushing scripted reality competition (still controlled by a dystopian regime). Actually that makes me think that Season 10 was heavily influenced by Orwells 1984. Nigel = Big Brother, the judges all use Newspeak, Lauren Alaina singing to Steven Tyler = thoughtcrime, etc.

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      I love you for saying this. I totally saw it, too. In fact, every year I make an AI fan fiction using all the songs from the season, and this year’s is about a futuristic dystopia. It’s not exactly the way you describe it, but it’s a similar idea.

  8. Mia says:

    I’m jittery waiting for your Haley interview! :D

    Finally an interview with our dearest growler by someone who is actually invested with Idol and understands what kind of questions we actually wanna hear her answer; as opposed to the humdrum “Any recording contract yet?” “What’s with the ‘tude?” “Dating Casey yet?” (Although I quite like the Haley/Casey content of her interviews :P).

    I hope you make it know how much you (and we) appreciate her and your #SaveTheGrowler movement that help brought her (in one way or the other) to Top 3!

    P.S. Hales, we saw the bus coming for you too! It’s not just you!

    • B-scot says:

      Totally agree, oh and hit her up about using Twitter more during the tour to keep us hungry fans updated and about a webpage for a central spot for general information and her videos.

    • Tusk says:

      I hear Haley in my dreams now, there is something addictive about the tone of her voice. I want a new song out of her bad, but am satisfied so far with some videos of her pre-idol performances, because I know she won’t hurry and take the time to put out the best.
      Re: Casey/Haley. If anything, I am guessing something between Casey and Julie Zorrila.

      I watched Idoloonies again (no way to rewatch AI), and noticed that they were both in the same group early in Hollywood, and there’s a clip of Casey dancing with Julie (his arm, awkwardly wrapped around her neck…dude needs to learn how to hold a girl..see his sing out).

      Early on there was a tweet that he, Haley and Julie went out for food, pic of Haley drinking a shake…and add to that during the final weeks Julie is standing with Casey in the audience (many mistook her for Pia)

      Just my observation and opinion.

      • loopdeloo says:

        Julie and Casey have been good friends since middle school, they even went to prom together! Both say they went as just friends, and are still just friends, and I really think that if something were to happen between the two of them, it would have happened by now.
        But yeah, Julie and Haley also became really close (they were roommates before the top 13) and they all still hang out whenever they can.

        • Tusk says:

          :0 …When your world involves being around Haley and Julie Zorrila?? Dam, that Casey is one lucky dawg :P

  9. Dave says:

    #1 with a BULLET.

    RAISE the minimum age limit and give us some adults with some actual seasoning and experience. Or alternate seasons b/w Teenie Idol and American Idol.

    Or have CBS give us the best singing competition ever to air in the US , ROCKSTAR. Show was so much better than this contrived commercial crap.

  10. Terry says:

    I change I would like to add:
    For the Top 3 performances – let the contestants pick all 3 of their songs.
    It wasn’t really fair this year, the “judges” gave Widdle Wauwen a song she already knew whereas Scotty and Haley had to memorize lyrics, and they had less prep time because of the home town visits. Also the song they chose for Haley was horrible, which is ironic considering they put her down so many times for her song choices!

  11. xav says:

    Cancel it and give the timeslots to decent scripted dramas.

    • hooch says:

      Don’t cut yourself slinging that razor-edged wit around.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Hooch, made me laugh! :-)

        Not only that but much of Idol WAS “scripted drama” this season.

        “nothing to judge there”
        “That was beautiful”
        “You’re in it to win it”
        “Sing something people know”
        “Don’t sing something so current”
        “That wasn’t the best song choice”
        And so on…and so on.

  12. Sundance says:

    Overrated? Not sure what you mean there sir. First and formost AI is a great show all around. I’m honored to have been part of it. But to say I was overrated and showed my weakness well its bs. I can’t help my audtion was a good as it was. sometimes i think i messed up by singing the song i did b/c i could not top it on the show. I could not get clearance on the songs I wanted and yes I did crack on the show w/some bad choices. But you don’t realize it’s a game till the end. Also wild card was not around on my season- nor was playing instruments. AI to the public (younger kids) it’s not the talent but looks- there have been a lot of great singers that did not make the top 24 b/c they did not fit the ‘look’ yet they were amazing singers. My only fault w/AI is what they do with and for the contestants after they have been cut- They throw you to the wolves and your left to defend yourself. I learned the hard way w/Motown- I’m still doing my music performing year round and will hit the radio later this month. Sorry for the rant but don’t call me overrated.

    • Janey says:

      lol umm…. what? I have no idea what you’re talking about here…. Is this sarcasm?

    • claudia says:

      Sundance, I liked you a lot in your season. That said, there is no reason IMO for a great singer not to be able to top himself, no matter how great the previous performance was. Do you mean you were at the top entering Hollywood week & there was no room for improvement? That’s not possible.
      Besides, even with crummy song choices you could at least have done as well even if you couldn’t top yourself. You are a good singer & I don’t doubt you are getting gigs, but the truth is you choked on AI, which is nothing to be ashamed of, esp for someone not used to singing to millions of people. But you missed Michael’s point, which was if someone does well in Hollywood week but doesn’t do well on the live shows, the producer’s script needs to change, not to continue to pimp that singer regardless of performance.

      • sundance says:

        harsh there Claudia- choked… that can’t be the truth if you were not there behind what was going on. your entitled to an opinion so whatever. you say i missed his point about hollywood week but i did not. if he watched it then maybe he would of known i was terrible there and if it would have not been for my auditon i would not have made the top 24. in the end it’s a reality show no matter how you look at it. its a good show that gives singers the chance of the lifetime. i had the time of my life. btw- i sang my butt off w/my crummy song choices. the show will always be about looks no matter what- what gimic do you have is what there looking for.

        • Ben says:

          Dude, loved that you come on here to defend yourself. Good job! I was a Sundance fan and sad to see you go when you did. Don’t take Michael’s appraisals of contestants personally – he tends to state his opinion as fact.

    • darcy's evil twin says:

      Sundance – I also enjoyed you on Season 6 (I think it was Season 6) and best of luck to you! You should be proud to have made it as far as you did. Playing instruments would have been a benefit for you, that’s for sure. Look what the string bass, of all things, did for Casey Abrams, who has tons of musical talent and can certainly be entertaining, but really has a less than an American Idol voice.

      Claudia – what you said IN SPADES about continuing to pimp a singer when performances haven’t been good. Lauren Aliana was pushed on us continuously and never lived up to her hype. It drove me nuts.

    • loopdeloop says:

      I think your attempt at sarcasm, rando poster (who by God cannot actually BE Sundance Head), did not come across quite so clearly…

    • Kara says:

      I love you, Sundance!!!! <3 <3 <3
      To your credit, the song you left with was my favorite performance from you and I still watch it on YouTube!!

  13. Karen says:

    I agree with most of this list, and I would add banning judges and producers from declaring anyone the best during the competition, some as early as audition rounds. It makes the show seem more manipulated when someone is declared the winner so early.

    The major thing I disagree with is having the producers make unique arrangements for the contestants. I believe that they should go back to having the contestants do their own arraingments. In this way, the ones that are truly artists can really show themselves. I think some of the most successful from Idol were able to show themselves as artists on the show, on their own, and this will get diluted if the producers take over, like they did this year. Though I think that this hurt certain contestants also, and I wonder if that was in favor of others that the producers already declared the favorites.

    I think a huge problem with the judging this year was that if Jlo disagreed with someone, she would talk over them, I think this hurt Randy and Steven’s judging. The judges should be allowed to give their opinion.

    • Miriam says:

      I agree with not allowing judges or producers or host for that matter to declare anyone the winner before the winner is crowned. I would extend that ban to all interviews to the media those people do whether it’s on Idol itself or on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Ryan Seacrest, when he was on Leno at least would not declare a winner. I remember in season 7, Simon told Leno who I wanted to win, in season 8, Simon told TV Guide who would win, and earlier on in season 8, Simon, Randy, and Ryan were on Leno and Randy and Simon were declaring their frontrunners.

  14. beth says:

    I think they should do what So you Think You can dance does with eliminations. That way America “votes” for the bottom 3,they sing for their life, & then the judges pick the person going home. It would also make results shows more interesting!

    • Terry says:

      NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! The “judges” would have turfed Haley the first or second week and we would have missed out on the best performances of the season (Bennie & the Jets, Moanin, Rolling in the Deep, Beautiful, House of the Rising Sun, I Who Have Nothing, What Is & What Should Never Be).

      • Justin says:

        Agree completely with every single word. I’d also suggest and agree the people who already mentioned this, maybe, they take a page from SYTYCD and have America vote for the bottom 3, and have the judges pick one to go home. This would avoid all unfounded early eliminations like Pia and Casey and they could get rid of that dumb “save” that never really amounts to anything. But only up to a certain point, say top 5 perhaps, then it would be completely up to America.

        • Justin says:

          Also, I don’t necessarily think Haley would have gone home earlier. If you remember, the judges didn’t really dislike her until she got really great. Back at the beginning when she was mediocre, the judges encouraged her and knew she had it in her to do well. I think they would have kept her around knowing she had more to bring. It wasn’t until much later that they turned on her, at which point it would be up to America to vote anyway.

          • grakky says:

            You’re right Justin, they starting slammin Haley when she started pwning the whole shebang because for some reason they saw more $$$-signs with just Country-Western than with Haley’s jazzy, soulsy, bluesy, poppy rock :) That’s what AI is all about, making themselves the $2B per year that’s it period.

          • Yasin says:

            I don’t understand why people are getting all upset that the judges “turned” on Haley. Not everyone likes Haley otherwise she would have won. She obviously wasn’t liked as you all think she was otherwise she would be the American Idol and not Scotty. And if you people do not forgot the entire judges panel did give her a standing ovation to her “I Who Have Nothing” performance.

          • Terry says:

            @Justin, not true, Randy put Haley down from the beginning:
            Top 24 (Fallin) he called her karaoke
            Top 13 (Blue) he called her boring
            Top 12 (I’m Your Baby Tonight) he said she didn’t know who she was because she went from Alicia Keys to LeAnne Rimes to Whitney Houston.
            I think if the “judges” picked the one to go home from the bottom 3 we would missed out on some great Haley performances as well as a wonderful underdog story.

          • Justin says:

            @Terry – He put her down when she deserved it. I actually agreed with those early critiques of Haley, but they loved her when she did Benny and the Jets, and she only increasingly got better. After Benny and the Jets, she was consistently good every week. It was like they knew she was great, but once there was a possibility of her getting in the way of NIgel’s false narrative of Lauren and Scotty as the second coming. They just bashed her endlessly.
            @Yasin – The judges obviously did turn on Haley for reasons I just stated. And Haley actually was VERY well liked with the public. I would actually argue that more people liked her than any contestant this season. Just because somebody wins, does not mean they are the most liked. It means they have the most people voting repeatedly for them. I would bet that if they changed the voting to a certain amount of votes per device, Haley could have possibly won this season. If you factor in Itunes downloads, she hands down has the most people downloading her music. Which tells me more people like her than Scotty or Lauren.

          • Tuzo says:

            People, it’s not about Hailey! It’s about the judges and their total lack of truth, fairness, and in a sense justice. I think they made a bit of a mockery out of the season. They perverted the whole meaning of criticism with their commentary which seemed to be at total odds with the performances that we all watched. How many times this season did the judges give glowing reviews one week only to have the contestant or the judges the next week say they have to “up their game”. Up their game? From the previous weeks “perfection”? Also, the critiques usually lacked any kind of details which gave no context to their views. At least when Simon criticizes Carly Smithson because the song is about a bird the critique has some content even though it is baseless. However, if the judges are just going to throw out cliches (“it’s like I’m at a concert!”, ” is in it to win it!”) their words are so general that they have no meaning. Oh — but other than that the judges were great. :/

          • @Tuzo says:

            It’s always about Haley.

          • EvaneSam says:

            Yes not everyone likes Haley but there were PLENTY of people who did. (Celebrities as well as normal folks) How do you explain a girl who was constantly in the bottom 3 made the Top 3. I didn’t really care for her at the beginging but then I saw her getting better and better every week and she won me over with her talent and personality. She also would have made it much farther if the other 2 conetestants wouldn’t have been power voted through by country teenies.
            And regarding the standing ovations she got… she EARNED those. With hard work and talent.

          • Tusk says:


            “I don’t understand why people are getting all upset that the judges “turned” on Haley. ”


            Yasin, graduate of the Randy Jackson School of what using quotes means. ;)


            Watch again, they did turn on her. They were supportive early, even were part of her discovering her growl. Look for when they started using the same superlatives on all the other contestants all the while critiquing everything but her performances…song choice, appropriate, who are you?

            If you think about it that was about the same time they started demanding the same type of thing from Pia. Pia was way ahead of the game out of the box…but they kept trying to change her….do something upbeat…she did mid tempo….they congratulated her…then the next week they acted like it never happened.

            They never asked Stefano to change up, and rewarded Jacob for hard to listen and unbalanced performances.

            If Haley had been eliminated in Pia’s spot, I’m not too sure it wouldn’t have been Pia thrown under the bus. They were pushing Lauren hard and Scotty’s votes were unstoppable. Pia would been the one unfairly criticised

      • EvaneSam says:

        I agree with Terry. I’m an optimist but even I don’t believe Haley would have been picked by the judges. She would have been a goner the first week. Randy didn’t like her since the very begining and J.Lo is easily influenced by Randy’s opinion (and vice versa) and Steven… well if woke up in time still wouldn’t have been able to make much of a difference.

        I am COMPLETELY AGAINST Dancing with the Stars voting. Too much power to the producers and judges. Let America choose the next Idol and live with the consequences of their choice.

  15. Steph says:

    I completely agree with the voting… they could even go the Dancing with the Stars route and you basically get one vote per contestant still in the running.

    • Stacey says:

      Not going to happen. When they can boast 95 million votes in 2 hours. Or 122 million in four hours. They love to crow about the number of votes they get. Limit the number of votes; you won’t get as many votes. And people won’t feel like they are invested in the contestants.

      I know Nigel has said he might favor the So you think you Can Dance format. Votes pick the bottom 3. And the judges sees them dance in a elimination dance and they choose who they want to go until the top 10. And then it’s completely voters decision. Judges can’t mess with it. Even if it means a favorite goes.

      That might be the best decision. On AI instead of the top ten, say the top 5. Because no way are they going to limit the number of votes. Dancing with the Stars has it’s way of manipulating who stays and goes!

      • B-scot says:

        While the high voting numbers are nice, bottom line is they want more viewers and higher ratings. If limiting get more viewers and people voting then if only have the viewers vote 10times that is a new record.

        This year was different in that they are selling the show likely tomorrow June 5, for $509M, so rating were critical. Rupert Murdoch who controls Fox(News Corp)was sitting behind Randy the day he was hardest on Haley. The rumor for months has been Murdoch and Top Coke executives base in Atlanta, GA have been pushing for an all country finale with Ford executives wanting one country person in finale not two.

  16. Tonya says:

    I so agree with everything on this list. As it stands right now I’m not sure I can handle another season of Idol, particularly if the judges panel stays the same. I guess we’ll see.

  17. Patrick says:

    This list is spot on! I have to say, I’ve been watching the show since season one and in ten years I don’t think I had ever been more excited about a group of contestants as I was when they announced the Top 24. I felt like there was so much potential for it to be the best season of Idol yet and somehow it all took a nosedive. I will agree that the judges need to be changed up but aren’t you worried it could kill the show’s credibility a little bit to have the panel be a revolving door of people season after season? I also kind of liked the one week of semi-finals. In past years having to sit through 3 or 4 weeks of semi-finals was awful. One thing I would do would be to get rid of the judge’s save. In three seasons of its use I never thought it was used on the right contestant, except maybe Matt Giraud. Great list Slezak!

    • Milly says:

      Even Matt was a bad choice. He was the worst of the week when he was voted off, so it seems disingenuous to say he deserved to stay on longer than both people who did worse that night just b/c they felt his track record was better. Look at how long Andrew Garcia stuck around based on the merit of one performance so early on. If they insist on keeping the Judges Save, it really needs to be given only to someone who legitimately has a chance of winning. Sadly, none of the recipients thus far ever had that shot.

  18. mada says:

    Limited voting is a MUST. I’ll take that over all the rest of the changes. And it’s for their benefits because if they limit the votes, they’ll have more people voting because they feel like their votes will count for something, and ultimately more people can weigh in their opinion in regards to the winner. 10 votes per device is an excellent idea!!

    • B-scot says:

      I could live with even a 50 vote limit. Right now ALL text messages get counted even if they come in late due to time stamp on them, while busy signals limit phone voting more in some areas and computers have 50 vote limit. The new cell phones with apps make power voting FAR easier than hitting redial, just start them and walk away.

      • James says:

        wow that really kills any credibility this show has. Thanks for the explanation, I didnt realize it was that bad. So my 5 votes for Haley were probably a complete waste of my time!

  19. Sam says:

    Aside from a few exceptions, this is what us Idoloonies have been saying for years. Not to be overly pessimistic, but what makes this year different? They kept the ratings steady and they found a winner that will make them millions. Even though the quality has slipped, Idol’s still as big as ever. As Randy Jackson says, “If it’s not broke, don’t even consider fixing it.

  20. Karen says:

    I agree with the premise of the changes above especially critique as I think it makes the contestants better over time. I do wonder sometimes “Who would have won if Simon was still a judge?” As to voting, I agree there should be a limit. However I must say AWE – your favorite didn’t win? Deal! Haley should have been cut before James, Casey was an irritant, and Pia was cut before her time. I personally, a country fan, expect Scotty and Lauren will both do great things with the right songs.

  21. DJ says:

    Take a page from DWTS book. Have judges score and factor that in to the votes from the public. With new judges, of course.

    • Tagid1 says:

      I kinda like the DWTS formula, except for the judges deciding. Why not eliminate the one in the bottom 3 who sold the least that week on itunes? OH! But then they’d have to really admit exactly WHO was IN the bottom 3…hmmm…

      Here’s another suggestion: Have one regular judge and two different judges every week – one being in the music business, like a producer, songwriter, band leader, musician, agent – a recognized professional, and one being a former AI Top 10 contestant.

      And, I TOTALLY agree w/ having former AI contestants (Top 24) sing on the result shows, banning videos and auto-tuned performances, and limiting the number of votes per devise. Ten votes seems reasonable.

      I’d also like to see the age limit be 18-28. I don’t care how talented these kids are, I NEVER, EVER AGAIN want to see sympathy votes and no criticism for some CHILD who cries because she/they are too young to even be IN the competition!! Anyone who needs a teacher and a chaperone, and can’t sign their own contract is too young to be competing!

  22. Mike says:

    All valid and awesome points. I also think we don’t need six weeks worth of auditions. Even this early on, we see the producers’ handi-work at play, wondering why someone who was good, but not great, gets passed over, while someone middling-to-mediocre (that crazy Ashley chick who cried 100 times and almost quit, and got married in Vegas) was allowed to go through and kept so long. Too many people are seen, can be easily forgotten come Hollywood week, and then they disappear during Hollywood Week as not being “good enough”…and we didn’t even get the chance to hear them sing! The producers need to take a page from “The Voice”. Pre-screen the auditioners, so that Hollywood Week is the first time we see these people, and we’ve already gotten the best of the best, without having to sit through tireless bad auditions. THEN, open up Hollywood Week for voting as well. Because people like Kendra Chantrelle and Robbie Rosen DEFINITELY should have been chosen for the Top 13 over mediocre Stefano, the Che-Guevera revolucion that was Karen Rodriguez, and the one note Scotty McCreary (who should have never gotten as far as he did, let alone become the winner…).

  23. Ringo P says:

    Three things I would like to see next year:

    1. Longer performance night performances — can we get 3 minutes of singing instead of 2? Find some way to get in an extra 13 minutes, max.
    2. Eliminate the Judge’s pick on Final 3 and make it a fan pick (multiple choice), on line. I know that RockStar SuperBogus did this one week. Judge pick songs are always awful and essentially tanked Haley this year.
    3. Educate the contestants (and Jimmy I) about what makes a moment for idol. Jimmy’s “you have to be big and bombastic” was completely off. Just make a video of the songs that made the biggest splash: Mad World, Tracks of My Tears, Heartless, Billie Jean, HOTRS, Moanin’.

    • dalton says:

      Good list…, I’d add Casey’s Nature Boy to it as another example of a stunning performance that was outside the AI box but nevertheless brought down the house.

  24. gerritv says:

    I think it’s time to put a past Idol on the judges panel.

    • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

      I don’t know if that’s a great idea. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler failed to criticize the contestants mostly because they themselves are performers, and they wouldn’t want to be judged harshly themselves, so they refuse to pass judgment on up-and-coming singers. An Idol will have even more trouble criticizing a contestant to his/her face, because not only are they performers, they’ve been through the machine and know how gruesome it can be. While some Idols are very vocal in interviews or online about current contenders (I’m sure you know who I mean,) I’m not sure they’d be that way if they had to judge on the live show.

  25. Don says:

    Loved your video montages, they were well done and hit the mark. I may not agree with all your suggested changes for the show, but I agree 100% it needs to fixed. The multiple vote casting is ridiculous. You should not be allowed to vote more than once for the same person. If they want to allow additional votes, let viewers pick their second and third choices. If anything I would change the voting so individuals are casting just two votes. One vote for who they thought was the best performer of the night, and the second vote for who they thought was the worst. I was disgusted when Pia, then James, and finally Haley were eliminated. All very good singers. I had forgotten about Lauren Turner, she was excellent also, though she was eliminated so early. I suppose I was not as surprised with that elimination since the votes are so spread out amongst the many performaers in the early rounds. Essentially its a crap shoot if there are quite a number of good singers. This just reinforces the need to change the voting system, and have people pick the weakest performance.

  26. Steven says:

    I’ll just stick with the Voice. No bad auditions and judges who are funny, but know how to criticize.

  27. Jarod says:

    You forgot something……just plain get rid of Nigel. He has single-handedly ruined the show. Oh, and they won’t change the voting because they like saying those huge numbers of votes too much

    • Don says:

      I agree with you about the show’s desire for large number of votes. It sounds impressive saying 95 million votes, even though it could be 95 teenagers with speed dialers sending them all in.

      • Mark says:

        I am absolutely certain that there are 100,000 who average north of 500 votes and account for 50 million votes between them. This is one half of one percent of the viewership of the show. Anyone who thinks this is sane (and really, I might be low on the estimate) needs a new hobby.

        • InSane says:

          “Anyone who thinks this is sane …”

          Depends to whom you’re referring? The show isn’t a singing
          competition, it’s a money making business. They rake in tons
          of money by allowing the maximum calls per person. Sounds sane
          to me whether or not I like it.

  28. Jenny says:

    Great list. So agree about bringing back the semifinals of 12 guys and 12 girls over three weeks four getting eliminated. You had a balance of guys/girls for the top 12 as well as gave us time to get to know a few people we didn’t see much during the early auditions. Season 8 could have been even better with some of the weaker singers who couldn’t get past the semi-finals because it was one and out compared to who did get in.

    I also thought for the finale night leave all the selections up to the performer. They can perform old or new (can even say it has to be at least 1 new song). But let them have to put together a mini-concert. They have to show us what it would be like to see them in concert or what their album will be like. Honestly by that night, people who are voting know who they are going to vote for.

  29. Richard says:

    The public can make all the sugggestions they want, but the thing is – Nigel doesn’t care what the public thinks and as long as the ratings stay solid, neither does Fox.

    • B-scot says:

      Idol and Fox will have to choose whether to take a chance to get 35M viewers which could also end the show or be happy with around 25M in current format.

  30. dctoronto says:

    I think your list is spot on Michael and I would love to see the changes as I believe it would make the show much better. The problem is they would only be make a difference to the small minority of viewers who are actually thinking critically about what they are watching. As this year’s results have shown us, the majority of Idol’s watchers are happy to be told what to think and who to vote for.
    While reading point number 5 I could not help but think about what Carly Smithson said during her interview about how after the show all the recording executives she met wanted her be a Katy Perry clone. Again, there may be a few of us who crave originality but most just want to hear something that is familiar to them. A quick look at the various Idol blogs and the extremely negative comments about Beyonce’s second song on finale night demonstrates that.
    I’ve written about this before but I question why Nigel cannot apply the same approach he takes to producing SYTYCD to Idol. It is far less manipulative, smarter and certainly more positive. After your interview with him and his comments about his bosses at Fox nixing his idea of having people like Shirley Maclaine or Debbie Reynolds as judges tells me that like Dance, certain decisions are being made on Idol that Nigel has little say in or control over.

  31. Emma says:

    How about:

    1) Dare to show, not tell, about the behind the scenes stuff; changing songs, limited choices, no voice left…
    2) Make better and more evenly distributed “personality puffs”, instead of the stupidity like the Bing puff.
    3) Raise the age limit to 17! And while assigning contestants evenly based on sex, race and musical genre, try forget the ages.
    4) And for something completely different: Let’s try a personal all-star mentor week, where everyone is issued an AI alumn as a personal mentor for a week.

    • Helen says:

      #4 – YES YES YES. Even if that’s limited to the top three or four, let them be mentored by someone else who made it to that point or further in a previous season and can give them truly useful, applicable advice.

    • Tuzo says:

      The all-star mentor thing could work…or it could go horribly wrong. Seacrest: get ready for your surprise all-star mentor! It’s Nikki McKibbin!

  32. ladyhelix says:

    Excellent List!! And I would add….

    (1) Create two separate sets of judges for auditions than for the live shows. If these professionals can’t put aside their favoritism for those they think they’ve discovered (“The One” and “We discovered him”), then we can fix that. Don’t let them do both. Let the first crew pick the top 24, and then let the second set of judges start fresh. I don’t care how good they were they behind the scenes or in Hollywood – what have they done for me once the live show started?

  33. ann says:

    I don’t think it will ever be fair. People who vote are not fair either. I heard a lady say she was voting for the “humble” guy–Scotty–not voting for the performance—I am sure everyone in both Scotty and Lauren’s school’s voted for them –not to say they were not good, As far as itune sales, I am older and do not have an ipod –may have to get one though as I definintely want to purchase James’music–guess I will have to get with the in crowd. All I know this is the last year I will become involved with Idol. Might check out auditions ==some are funny–but I won’t watch loyally or vote again. This was the first year I have ever voted. No performer had the stage presence of James Durbin–he was a concert already done. Loved his voice too. My opinion for whatever it is worth.

    • Karen says:

      I don’t have an ipod either, but I downloaded itunes software onto my pc and purchases Scotty’s single and CD so at least I can listen to it while I am at my computer.

  34. Tahoe Mike says:

    I still don’t like the idea of counting I-Tunes downloads.
    I do like the idea of shutting the judges out of rehearsals.
    I do think they should raise the age limits, at both ends.
    Once they get to some manageable number of contestants remaining, let them sing whole songs. So many good songs and performances suffer from being edited down to a minute and a half.
    Make the judges score the performances 1-10, like they do on Dancing With The Stars, gymnastics, figure skating, or any other judged sport. I am not sure that the scores should count for anything toward the result, but making the judges give a score would be a lot more useful than just saying “That was beautiful, and you look great!”

    • Tucker says:

      I don’t know about having the judges score the performances during the performance show. I think honest critique speaks louder than a number. If they had to do something like this, I’d rather see how each judge ranked the performances against each other – a list of the contestants ranked 1 to whatever – maybe at the start of the results show.
      I don’t think the goal of the judges should be to influence voting. It should be to offer advice that better helps the contestants. I’m not naive enough to think that their comments won’t sway votes one way or another, but I think holding up a number gives them too much power in the process. I’d probably get rid of the judges’ save, too, though I liked that they kept Casey in the competition this last season.

      • Tahoe Mike says:

        The point of having “Judges” is that they pass judgment. Otherwise “Coaches,” ala The Voice, would be a better term. Simon used to say, in all his arrogance, that the judges were there to “Guide the public” how to vote. If that isn’t their job, just do away with them once the live shows start.
        My point is that they should be forced to make a quantifiable judgment. I don’t think their score should count as part of the result, like DWTS, but at the end of the performance show they could say, “Well, the judges score it like this…,but it’s your vote that counts. What do you think America? voting lines are open.” This way the power still resides with the viewers. You would know when your favorite was in trouble.

    • Tagrid1 says:

      Did you see Steven Tyler on Jay Leno? He said that where the judges sit they can’t really hear the performances, so his comments are often very general, or just filler. I’d like to suggest removing the judges from the table in front of the contestants and put them in 3 seperate sound-proof booths where they can hear the performance perfectly AND see it on a screen, the same as WE see it on our TVs. Then, through a mic they could give an honest appraisal with constructive criticism – without all the crap.

    • Ben says:

      Count itunes downloads and you may as well put william hung in the top 5.

      Terrible idea. It’s not a measure of anything at all.

  35. Chris says:

    Interesting thought, what if when it gets to the top 3, they each perform a short setlist of 3 songs, and then they take turns singing their fourth song in random order to end the show. That way you get to see what the contestants would be like during a concert with the way they’d interact with the crowd. They’d have their work cut out jamming it into two hours but I think it’s an interesting idea.

  36. Heidi says:

    Great Suggestions. I will say (as much as I hate the current voting system) the voting system as it is was a benefit to a contestant like Haley. A rabid fan base will support their fav to no end. I think those of us who felt she was getting a raw deal AND found she had vocal talent voted for her and often. Sadly, that same system worked for the tween who voted for Scotty thousands of times too. I would never support a SYTYCD (LOVE THE SHOW) style voting format because then the judges have way too much power and would most certainly follow a script. Haley would have been a goner and we would have NEVER seen her grow. For the most part the voting worked out Okay. Judges Save used at right time I thought. But Jacob lasted way too long. Given Pia a chance to grow too like Haley? Could have been a more interesting finish down the stretch.

  37. ladyhelix says:

    Excellent List!! And I would add….
    (2) Before they hire new judges – TPTB at Idol need to sit down and decide what the judges are supposed to be doing.
    If the judges are supposed to provide professional constructive feedback to help the contestants improve their singing and performance? Well then do that. For all contestants.
    If the judges are supposed be distribute warm fuzzies and hugs regardless of the quality of the performance? Well then do that. For all contestants.
    If the judges are supposed to only highlight only the positive things about that specific performance? Well then do that. For all contestants.
    If the judges are supposed to talk at nauseum about a prior performances (to make us forget how bad the current performance was)? Well then do that. For all contestants.

    But please don’t tell us how we should “feel” about a performance, or yap about how we (the audience) “will react” because clearly you have NO CLUE. Feel free to comment on how you feel, but then just STOP. PLEASE. Quit acting like we’re morons.

  38. Nancy says:

    I agree! I think all of your suggestions are very valid. One big problem with idol is the voting! It should be restricted to just a certain number of votes just like Dancing With the Stars. I also think they need way more songs to choose from and banish some songs or atleast retire some for a few years, especially when some contestant ‘owned’ the song they performed and new performers of that same song will be compared to that and unfairly judged. You have hit the nail on the head Michael, hopefully Idol will seriously consider and implement some much needed changes.

  39. dan says:

    all I can say is I was excited to watch it until Casey left. Not that I was a huge fan, just that no one else seemed to have it and knew the voting was askew from the ability to vote more than once. It cracks me up to hear Seacrest exclaim how millions of votes were cast each week. Would love to know by how many people instead.

  40. Stacey says:

    They will never limit the votes. Because one of the differences from Dancing with the Stars that they like to boast about is that it’s a voter’s show. The ultimate choice is up to America. Dancing with the Stars as they showed this year that if you also count on judges votes; they can be manipulated to get the desired result. They wanted Ralph out of the finales and Kirstie or Chelsea in. So they manipulated his score to the point he had no hopes of catching up.

    It has it’s flaws; and hopefully they can find a way to help female contestants earlier in the competition. But the show loves to boast that it got 95 million votes in 2 hours on Semi-final night. Won’t happen if you limit the votes. And they can cite the fact two females ended up in the finale three. So the it can’t be all bad! Except for Pia; all the females limited were weaker. Maybe they were better than the guys who stayed longer; but they likely would have been limited eventually! Karen and Naima, Thia too were given more than one chance to improve. They didn’t; so they were eliminated.

    About the judging. Give them a extra year. Maybe they will actually judge next year. They weren’t bad; but it could have been helpful to get some of the worst singers out of there earlier and keep Pia.

    They might not get rid of Wild Card because they will say that it gave Naima and Stefano a extra chance and they did keep going for a number more weeks. Although I agree, one week of Semi-finals might be too little. But I am not convinced Kendra would have made it even if she had more time.

    My biggest suggestion is get rid of the SAVE. No use in having it. Let it be all equal. Even if it means someone like Casey goes out in 11th. Also if you keep it, don’t look so sexist in the future. Since all saves in the history of American Idol have gone to men!

    • Mark says:

      It’s fine that it’s a “voter’s show”, it’s not fine that the outcome is decided by < 1% of the viewers.

  41. Steve says:

    I liked most of those except I very much disagree with changing the judges. Steven Tyler adds hilarious personality to the judges panel, J-Lo showed authentic desire to find the next idol and really tried hard to give constructive criticism, and Randy has been around with day one and ALMOST ALWAYS has a dead on opinion. He loves to say when you nail it but does not shy away from saying what could make it better.

    • grakky says:

      So how do you explain when Haley absolutely ‘slayed’ the song but judges were mildly warm about it and way off the mark with too pitchy, too sharp, too blah blah like they’re the absolute technical authority. Come on Steven, Adele sings her heartbreak song and you say that people in America like it, they like that special feeling, of heartbreak??????????? wtf lol

      • Paul Hertz says:

        Voting for the best performer is an inherently flawed system. As we all know this rapidly deteriorates to an absurd popularity contest that bears no resemblance to reality. Plus it really makes no sense. Think about it. In a field of ten contestants, for instance, you don’t need to be the best performer in order to advance. You just need to not be the worst. Numbers one thru nine should all advance. Only number ten is eliminated.
        So here’s the big idea. Instead of voting for the best performer why not vote for the worst performer-the performer you feel should be eliminated. In essence you’re voting who should be “kicked off the island”. If your favorite performer is subpar and puts in a ” number five” performance just vote for who you think is the worst. If your favorite is really the worst, even in your eyes, just don’t vote.
        Is this system without flaws? Of course not. Could it be gamed? Certainly. I do think this would require more effort than most people would be willing to put forth. I think the results would more closely reflect reality and lessen the likelihood of someone with obvious talent being eliminated mysteriously in the early rounds.

    • claudia says:

      Take your medication, dear.

  42. Ladyhelix says:

    What happened to Ryan?
    He started out the season calm, fun, appropriate and engaging – it was such a delightful surprise!! Then about halfway through the live shows he started his decent back to the awkward, uncomfortable fool from season’s past. It was jarring – and it really made viewing the show unpleasant.
    My guess is that it’s not just Ryan. But Idol has to acknowledge that this dynamic is a HUGE HUGE part of the show and when he goes sour – the whole thing slides right with him.

  43. Margie says:

    Whatever you don’t give the producers even more power by going to a SYTYCD bottom 3/judges (sic) pick who goes home.

    I doubt Idol/AT&T will ever give up the revenue generated by power texting but let’s get rid of the judge’s save and leave it up to the public.

    Finally I agree with the new theme ideas. How about adding one where the contestants must do their own arrangements?

  44. Cass says:

    Um… LOVE. THIS. LIST. Number 6 is the only one I hesitate to agree with wholeheartedly, but it’s a good suggestion, and the others are brilliant! I haven’t voted for years now (save for Haley’s last two performances, out of frustration) because of the absolutely RIDICULOUS “unlimited voting” system. Sometimes contestants win not because they have the majority of viewers behind them, but a minority of viewers who have more time and inclination to vote hundreds or even thousands of times per performance night! Ugh.

  45. bb says:

    if number 3 on the list isn’t fixed, number 2 doesn’t matter. if the judges aren’t allowed to speak freely, than it doesn’t matter who is on the judging panel. Who cares what the judges’ credentials are if they will simply read the script provided to them from the producers. Basically the main thing has that has to changed (and is mentioned a few times in the list) is that the producers have to stop forcing the events and instead let it flow more naturally. That way the contestants, the judges, and the viewers are actually involved in the process!

    • Ella says:

      Not so true. Simon proved that there is a chance for judges to stand up for themselves. They just have to be strict and make their own choices so that Uncle Nigel couldn’t push his rules.

  46. Sean D says:

    Babyface, Melinda Doolittle, and Peggi Blu is I think the magic code to unlock a good solid judging panel. Who knows, maybe that could solve the lingering, disturbing problem of all those disappearing black male contestants from the Hollywood rounds? It probably runs deeper than the judge panel. But it couldn’t hurt.

  47. Delirious says:

    I’ll insist on what I said in the other Idol-related postings: change how the bottom three system works.

    Hoping there would be judges that actually know what they’re doing, unlike what mr Tyler, ms Lopez and Da Dawg, Yo this season… Each week, announce the bottom three, and from that bottom three, with absolutely no-one in production, especially the judges, knowing the order for those three, have them save one “blindly”. Example: we have Pia Toscano, Jacob Lusk and Stefano Langone in the bottom 3… Without knowing the order (let’s say Stefano was the one with the least votes, then Pia, then Jacob), they could just save Pia, and keep things like they were, although without knowing it. Or maybe they’d save Stefano, thinking “oh, but Pia can’t be the one with the least or second least votes”, and have the second one with the least votes be the one getting the boot, against all odds. That way, maybe we would’ve seen Casey or Pia go on for longer, although it could also mean Haley wouldn’t have made it this far…

    Another system could be a variation of the spanish “Idol-kinda” version. Have a bottom FIVE, and from those, the judges save one, the “teachers” (in this case I guess it’d be Jimmy, Don Was, and the invited producers) save another one, and finally _the non-bottom-three contestants_ save the last one. Talk about drama overload. Of course, in the spanish show, that’s done towards the votes, to select the people nominated for elimination, but I guess it might work, somehow, with the Idol system.

    Any thoughts?

    • loopdeloop says:

      WOW, that “Spanish Idol” voting system sounds INTENSE! Having the safe contestants pick one to stay? I would love to see that honestly, hah.

      • Jason S says:

        The stupidest idea ever is too let the judges or producers decide from a bottom three. Then they could way more easily pick the winner. That’s tantamount to a save every week. I believe the 1 vote per device is the fairest way to go. Pia wouldn’t have been eliminated had teen girls not been power texting Stefano. Haley would have beat out LAuren and possibly had a chance to beat Scotty if not for power texting teens. Plus a surprise elimination is always interesting.

        • Delirious says:

          Actually, maybe the 1-vote-per-device rule could’ve eliminated Haley earlier in the season, any of those times she was in the bottom three… We’ll never know, and speculating won’t do anything, because we don’t really know America’s voting pattern. Maybe limiting votes could’ve meant a Jacob/Stefano finale, or a Scotty/Haley one, or a Pia/Casey one even. No real way to know anyway.

          And loopdeloop, in Spain, it’s actually different, but I adapted it to AI. Here, the judges choose the bottom four on performance night, the “teachers/producers/whatever” save one, and the safe contestants save another one, and the bottom 2 go on to get voted on or off.

  48. Denis says:

    I totally agree with #8. The bad auditions wore out in season 2. Let’s see more of the good people.

  49. ziamp says:

    Thank you Michael, for another entertaining year! Sad to say, but I enjoyed your last recap more than watching the finale. Melinda was candid and hilarious, and it was wonderful to see Lauren Turner again (she was robbed, too)! I agree with all of your suggestions for next year’s idol, especially wiping the judging slate clean (or as they say in Italian, fare la piazza pulita!), and MOST especially, limiting the number of votes per device to 10! While that won’t produce the ridiculously inflated totals of 100million votes, it will more accurately reflect the contestants that will, in the long run, do well commercially. It would mean singers with actual talent and potential will have a greater possibility of surviving week to week. I would not give extra votes to the judges, as they have not proved themselves worthy of the responsibility, particularly with their pathetically shoddy effort this year (who I am kidding? Randy every year…). No, keep it in the hands of the people, the buying public, but make it democratic and realistic.

  50. Duke Basil says:


    • darcy's evil twin says:


      Most people complain the music isn’t current enough. I like some current music but let’s face it, the over-produced, non-melodic crap doesn’t translate well live. Haley’s “Rolling in the Deep” was lovely.