American Idol: 11 Terrible Ideas to Avoid in a Potential Season 13 Reboot

American Idol took another hit in the ratings Wednesday night — down 11 and 15 percent in total audience and the 18-49 demo.

Even worse, the show seems to be generating more press for a rumored plan to replace first-year judge Mariah Carey with veteran Jennifer Lopez than for its very strong final four ladies — an idea that makes about as much sense as booking Sanjaya Malakar to perform on next week’s results show! (Fret not: That’s not actually happening. At least not to my knowledge.)

PHOTOS | American Idol‘s Ratings Woes: 8 Common-Sense Ways to Salvage Season 12

A couple weeks back, I suggested eight easy ways Fox could help put Season 12 back on course — and most of those ideas still hold up. But as Fox reality chief Mike Darnell and his team turn their eye to potential fixes for Season 13, I’ve identified 11 pitfalls they absolutely must avoid.

RELATED | American Idol Top 4 (Redux) Performance Recap: Standards Operating Procedure

Check out the results of my brainstorm below, then hit the comments with your own ideas about what Fox should avoid to make sure it doesn’t ruin the House That Kelly Clarkson Built. And for all my reality TV recaps, news, videos and interviews, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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131 Comments
  1. sherab says:

    brilliant! love this, CK. (figures we have the same initials! heh heh)

  2. Replace Mariah but keep the rest of the judges. Even the ones I don’t like. Stop putting so much focus on who watches the singers and start putting the focus on the people who actually sing.

  3. IdleTime says:

    I thought they’ve already implemented limited voting on AI recently? Like 50 votes per device, right?

  4. toadily says:

    So many great ideas, especially more time on the music and letting us in back stage, letting the talent shine on its own merit, and new energy from judges who haven’t been scripted, except maybe Keith. Stevie Nicks, Smokey, Jon Bon Jovi, HC Jr have all proven they can entertain us and give us great feedback and they don’t need a springboard to a fading career. I love you Randy, but Dawg, your musicianship and experience are hiding under a bunch of tired phrases. Don’t limit song choice by themes or time period cuz a good artist can create something great from any genre that moves them. We don’t wanna hear the same tired genre with forced performances for 2 hours. Hope production values rise dramatically cuz they sure detracted from performances this year. No more screaming backups and choirs, no more fog, and no more bad camera work, please. Love all you idoloonies! Peace.

  5. Marie Shelton says:

    Mariah will never come back. I went into the season loving Nicki and hating Mariah. Then the live shows happened. Despite her babbling and being too nice to Lazaro, she was the only one who kept it real and gave advice that the contestants could take with them.

    So many of the things you mentioned need to be done, but I’d start with firing Nigel and Randy.

  6. oscar says:

    I want them to give the low range singers a chance, with the exeption of scotty and maybe phillip, they only focus on singers with really high vocal ranges and that not fair to the others, yes it is impressive to sing that high but some of the most successful singers in history like johnny cash and frank sinatra have low singing voices and sound increadible, singing is more than just hitting high notes, just because one cant sing that high doesnt mean he/she is bad, give the low range singers their chance dont ignore them

  7. Mark says:

    Ok, why is no one on this site commenting on the reports that all four Idol judges AND Nigel are going to be replaced next season? I’ve seen it on three different sources so far today. This is the best chance this show has to survive a Season 13. Is there any substance to these stories?

  8. Carmen says:

    Great List Michael. I wish I’d seen it sooner to get in on the conversation.

    12) No More 4th Judge! There’s WAAAAAAAAAY too much yakity-yak-yak. There’s almost certainly more time given over to judges talking on American Idol than there is to contestants singing. And it’s often the same old comments over and over and over again. ENOUGH!

  9. dani n. says:

    New Judges every season just like there are new contestants or better yet have judges audition just like contestants. Let ‘s see one of them audition for 5 seasons. I joke I joke. Though maybe they would remember what it’s luke to be so hungry. That said I liked Keith fine enough. And I did like Nikki. Everyone is remembering how honest Simon was and yet bad mouth Nikki for her approach. Simon could be a muserable sod too and are we holding Nikki to a double standard?

  10. darcy's evil twin says:

    I like you suggestions, Mr. Slezak.
    I agree with everyone that has said, “Only three judges”. Or, if they insist on four judges, they rotate and only three of them are allowed to critique a performance.
    .
    It would be interesting to go back and watch Season one and look at what made it work so well.
    .
    One thing that really bugged me about this season, and Mr. Slezak hit on it – the manipulation to get a female winner It would be interesting to see what would happen in a season where the chips were allowed to fall where they may.

  11. Sharon says:

    Also, don’t have artists on the shows just to plug their latest album that they have coming out. Who cares if the winner gets a Ford? Who cares if they painted a Ford? I personally don’t care if they go home to visit. It’s a SINGING competition at the end of the day. AI has ran its course and needs to be retired. We watched this season but fast forwarded through the critiques. Having previous AI winners on the show is not a good idea. Sure they’ve been there and done that but the judges need to have decades of experience behind them. All the genres need to be represented. Get rid of theme weeks-old and boring. Who cares what the back story is? Are you playing sympathy cards? At the end of the day, it’s about who can sing. Jimmy needs to go as well. Like DWTS does, have a guest judge each week. It’d keep it fresh. Just a side note/observation, it looked like Mariah was lip syncing and was autotuned when she was singing on the finale. The woman can sing–why was she lip syncing?!?

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