The Twist That Would Change American Idol Forever – Could It Happen? Let’s Hope So
The flaw in the voting system for American Idol is easier to spot than Ryan Seacrest at a Big & Tall store.
You don’t vote someone out.
The system, set up for fans to vote for favorites, is great in theory but misses the point of eliminating someone who shouldn’t be on the show. So much can go wrong if people are voting for rather than against – ask Chris Daugherty or Pia Toscano. Clearly when the show was created producers wanted to avoid in-house hostility and have singers campaign to stay as opposed to campaigning to vote someone else out.
While the easiest fix would be have fans vote someone off (can you imagine Daniel Seavey tweeting “Vote out Qaasim!” to his millions of followers and how that would play off-screen? It’d be amazing), that’s not happening.
So how you can promote positivity, up the level of competitiveness and add a little more drama to a show that desperately needs it.
By stealing an idea that The Voice didn’t do right because they suck.
(NOTE: My hatred for The Voice comes from the idea that the judges give two shits about “winning.” The only people who care about winning are the contestants. The staged trash talk and forced jokes are pre-written by people smarter than the four in the chairs and it’s just pandering bullshit. If you honestly believe millionaire Adam Levine cares about Chrissy from Kentucky competing for you, you’re the type of person who subscribes to People or watches Extra and calls it “news.” I hate you. RANT OVER)
The Voice’s sing-off is a terrific idea if the competitors weren’t singing the same song, it wasn’t prerecorded and the “captains/judges” didn’t have producers screaming at them who they should save best on social media popularity (I’m assuming all of this because I don’t want to research the stupid show and not going to give them the joy of having one more Google search than necessary. Fuck the Voice).
Idol has dabbled in the 1v1 competition throughout the years when it’s nailing down it’s Top 24 or 36 or whatever the number is that year. You’ll remember this season when Maddie Walker was sent home, only to be brought back to sing against Rachael Hallack, who was supposed to be advancing. Hallack froze, Walker shined and the judges reversed their decision.
It was awesome. So why doesn’t this happen every week?
Let’s keep the one-show-a-week Season 14 format. It’s actually better than the performance Wednesday, results Thursday show. The extra layer of “am I safe or not and yes I’m safe but oh shit I have to go sing now” is pretty awesome. We’ve seen a couple contestants struggle because they couldn’t calm the nerves after being called to start the show or couldn’t settle down after being the last one called safe. In true competition, you need to be ready all the time. Idol shouldn’t be different.
Using this week as an example, let’s go this route:
An elimination would take place at the start of the show. Instead of Maddie and Adanna Duru being booted off last week, they’re kicked off Wednesday before they can even sing their Kelly Clarkson song. Everyone cries, we got to commercial, and now we’re back.
Seacrest starts calling names. You get called, you sing. With nine left, we’ll see seven. The last two left? They sing for their lives.
For this exercise, the last two are Seavey and Rayvon Owen. The two guys sing their Clarkson song with the digital information available about how to keep them safe for next week. That’s important because those numbers mean more to their show life than the elimination numbers do. Under the DRI Rules, no more phone votes to stay on. Digital only.
So Rayvon and Seavey are done and Seacrest starts talking about one of them keeping their dream alive. He then shows two phone numbers – and phone only. If you want to eliminate Rayvon, call this one, if you want to eliminate Daniel, call this one.
Seacrest reminds everyone to call to keep their favorites around – and we get the awesome montage that they stole from us back – and then adds “and don’t forget America – you need to send someone home” before flashing the elimination numbers again.
Is that an Idol you want to see?
First off, the bullshit Twitter campaigns are over because there isn’t a contestant who’s going to publicly say “Vote this guy out because I want to stay.” Contestants are way too nice and if someone did it would make the show 10 times better. You’d get a lot of vague, “Guys, if you want to keep me you know what to do” without any specific details.
There’s no more worrying about votes getting watered down or someone having a bad week because if you’re Bottom 2, you can sing for the save every damn week. Normal people – such as myself if I voted – are taking part because they’ll vote for X to go home because Y has been better all season. Crazy fans will vote for X to go home because X isn’t as cute as Y or because Z is their favorite but they didn’t want to take a chance Z might go home so he got all the votes.
I’m looking for a flaw and I’m not seeing it, other than people’s feelings might get hurt when they find out America wanted them gone. It’s the finale ever week of the season.
Would it make contestants compete more? Would it create rivalries? Would it make America feel like the show wasn’t as fixed as it feels now?
Yes, yes and yes.
So Pers Blankens, Scott Borchetta (who needs to come back if he’s going to give us entertainment like we’ve had this season), J-Lo, Harry Connick, Keith Urban, Seacrest, whoever – let’s make this happen.