The 2011 season of American Idol needs executive producer Nigel Lythgoe to make some changes. The 2011 American Idol season will begin in January for Fox, but decisions have to be made way before then, as they have the audition stops across the country to focus on. It hasn’t even been officially announced that Lythgoe will take his job back as an executive on the show, but the rumors are so strong, it is safe to assume he is doing exactly that. With the position of power again, he needs to make sure that he helps to put together a strong panel at the judge’s table that will be less worried about personal egos and more worried about developing talent. The show has strayed from its intent, and it’s time to fix things.
The second major thing that Lythgoe must do with American Idol is to tone down the amount of time that is spent focusing on the judges. In past seasons the show has become really bogged down by in-fighting amongst the judges, diatribes that really had nothing to do about singers that had just performed, and even several judges just not paying attention to the contestants. Simon Cowell is one of the judges that is to be blamed for not paying enough attention, often seen talking to his fellow judges during a performance and then when Ryan Seacrest is talking to the contestants. If he was talking specifically about the performance that had just ended, that would be one thing, but he was so often distracted that he wasn’t able to always give a fair critique.
The judge’s panel has to have personalities of their own, but they should never overshadow what is taking place on stage. The past season of American Idol had a lot of problems with critics tearing down the quality of the contestants, and that might have less to do with the contestants and more to do with how they were selected and pushed through the audition phases. It seemed almost like the judges were just trying to rush through the final “Hollywood Week Phase” and they just missed some opportunities to take stronger singers with them, or to cut people that were not making the grade.
There are far too many ways that American Idol needs to be cleaned up, and it might even start with cutting back on how much of the show is presented. There doesn’t need to be so much filler when the judges are talking, and if the show wants to present something that is more interesting, how about evolving back stories of what the contestants are doing during the week? How about more time shown where they work with their mentors? Or maybe it is even time to cut the show back from two hours to one and a half hours if they can’t do it right. Don’t even get us started on the results show, which is so bloated with filler that it has gone beyond ridiculous. How about removing some of that filler and ending the show on time one of these years?
It’s not too late to save American Idol and keep it around for years to come, but the decisions have to start at the top, and they have to make the tough calls in order to keep the product fresh and relevant.