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American Idoal Season 9

February 25, 2010 - Kim Collette
And so it begins....American Idol's live performance shows are back.  But, a lot has changed with this ratings juggernaut since it's debut in June of 2002.  Do you remember Brian Dunkleman?  Way back in 2002 he was actually a co-host with Ryan Seacrest (who has somehow used Idol to become an entertainment host royale).  Last year the judging panel expanded to add a fourth judge, Kara DioGuardi.  This season marks the first time since Idol started that one of the original judges isn't there.  Paula Abdul (and her incoherent ramblings) is not "forever our girl."  She has been replaced by talk-show host and comedian Ellen DeGeneres (which befuddles me since she doesn't have a musical background).  Not to mention there have been numerous changes to performance aspects....contestants can now play instruments while perfoming if they choose to.  What happened to this being a "singing" competition as the judges like to remind us?  Even the dwindling of 24 or 36 contestants down to "Your Top 10" has changed over the course of time. 

But enough on those changes...To me, the biggest change is the lack of the "wow" factor. I've been a faithful viewer since Kelly Clarkson left the stage as the first American Idol.  Back in those early days, the show actually found raw talent.  Those kids really were  "a one in a million shot."  We fell in love with the contestants, their stories and their singing talent.  We actually hoped for their success on the show and off.  For me....after Season 5, the 180 happened.  Everyone who knows me, can attest that I fell in love with Elliott Yamin during his journey to the Top 3 in Season 5.  To me Elliott is what the show is meant to be about; someone who has had some challenges in their life that they have overcome to live out their dream on the Idol stage. Someone who relishes the opportunity to be on the Idol stage and doen't take it for granted.

After Season 5, there have been a slew of contestants. However, none of them hold a candle to the likes of Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Elliott Yamin, Bo Bice or even Clay Aiken.  Now we get to see former t.v. performers, contestants that had a record contract at one time or who have perfomed on stages in plays or in  musicals.  To me, American Idol has lost what made it special.  That unique ability to give the "Average Joe" a chance in the music industry when they normally wouldn't have had one.  I really don't care about a former Barney cast member "making it."  And....maybe it's just me, but through Season 5 the actual singing talent was just flat out BETTER.    With the exceptions of a few contestants (David Cook and Adam Lambert to name 2), all we get are "cookie cutter" performances these days.

Then there is Simon Cowell.  He is the main reason I am still tuning in every week.  Where else can you hear  a comment like:  " If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning."  But, even that  might change next season.  It has been said that Simon won't be back next year.  And...if that holds true...American Idol will never be the same. 

With all that said, I too might retire from American Idol after this season. I just haven't been "wowed."  As for the contestants this year, Lee Dewyze, Casey James and Andrew Garcia top my list of guys and Ohio's own Crystal Bowersox is the ONLY girl who has caught my eye.   Well....whoever becomes  "The Next American Idol,"  you may just be my last.

Until next time friends!


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