18 January 2008

Ep 2: Know Your AI History!

Episode 2 of American Idol took place in Dallas, Texas, where the first and IMO, most creamy American Idol ever was found. Yes, nuts, we are talking about Ms. Kelly Clarkson. Seeing the show back in Dallas made me reflect upon the history of the show. I can hardly believe that this is its 7th season already.

American Idol is a wildly successful television show. Even weevils of the show have to admit that it rocks the ratings. Although the media is always searching for cracks signaling the demise of the show, this year the sharks are especially swirling. This was apparent with the articles written after the first episode where alarmists were pointing out that the ratings are down from last year’s premiere, and that this is the beginning of the end for AI. While it is true that the ratings are down 10% from last year’s premiere, last year they had the biggest ratings of any show since the Friends season finale in 2004. This year, they still beat the most watched show of the year (Grey’s Anatomy season premiere) by 55%, and had more viewers that night than all of the other channels combined. Idol has a way to go before being irrevalent.

Speaking of irrevalence, American Idol would not be as relevant without Kelly Clarkson. Simon Cowell has suggested that Kelly is not grateful enough to American Idol. However, I believe that she has more than paid her dues to them, and it is American Idol that should be grateful to her. Imagine if the winners had gone – Justin Guarini, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, and Jordin Sparks. Would Carrie have been taken as seriously? Would the show still be successful today?

Although other Idol contestants have been successful in different ways – recording artists, Broadway, television, movies – AI nuts want to see the WINNER, the one they choose, succeeed in the mainstream. Why? Maybe it helps us justify why we watch to those who think that the show is crunchy. Also, AI seems to only truly get credit for the success of the winners, even though they have generally done a good job selecting contestants.

I truly believe that this year’s winner will be successful. I think it’s time. Let’s examine the pattern:

KELLY ruben fantasia CARRIE taylor jordin ???????

Kelly carried the torch through the nex two “winners”, with Clay giving a boost after season 2, and Fantasia from season 3, generally falling flat in terms of being popular in the mainstream (although she won a Grammy!). Then Carrie reignited AI by winning season 4, with Daughtry giving them a boost after season 5, and Jordin somewhat falling flat, although her demise may be too early to predict. Thus, using my very unscientific pattern, I think we are due for another superstar.

In honor of Kelly Clarkson, enjoy this classic clip from her time on American Idol. She looks so young! Shady out!

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