American Idol Popularity Waning: Almost 20 Million Less Viewers Than in 2007

American Idol judges Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban are shown with host Ryan Seacrest in the center. The show is staggering into Season 12 as viewers leave the show in droves.

The first American Idol show was telecast on June 11, 2002 with 9.85 viewers watching The 2003 premiere show attracted 26.50 million viewers almost tripling the viewers from 2002. The 2007 premiere show attracted a record 37.44 million viewers, but there has been a steady decline of viewers since then, bottoming out at 17.93 viewers to start Season 12 last January. The show has lost close to 20 million viewers in the last six seasons.

Surprisingly the season finale topped out in Season 2 in 2003 at 38.06 million viewers and last year’s finale only attracted 21.49 million viewers, which is the all-time low for a finale.

With The Voice being telecast twice a year and X-Factor being shown in the fall it appears singing competition shows have reached the saturation point.  With American Idol starting about a month after the last X-Factor show has been shown, fans are not getting much of a break.

The Voice and X-Factor winners don’t get near the publicity of the American Idol winners. Quick, name all three winners of The Voice and the two winners of X-Factor. Only the most devout fans of either show could give you those names, without stopping to think it over.

Melanie Amaro who won X-Factor in December of 2011 has yet to release her debut album, which will be released next month. Meanwhile Phil Phillips the Season 11 winner of American Idol has already sold 700,000 copies of his debut album Dark Side of the Moon which has received 361 five-star reviews, while receiving only 5 one star reviews. I have to admit that I didn’t think Phil Phillips would go far as an artist, but he could be on the cusp of a great career.

Phil Phillips has been opening shows for Matchbox 20.

Season 12

American Idol went from a three judge panel of Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson in Season 11 to a four person panel of Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey in Season 12. The show got off on the wrong foot, before the first show aired as Nicki Minaj threatened to knock out Mariah Carey at the Charlotte auditions. They tangled more along the way to the opening show, but in recent weeks they have both calmed down and don’t talk to each other. Minaj is said to have said that if she had a gun she would shoot Carey, but later denied ever saying that.

Placing two divas on the judging panel was a recipe for disaster and that was what it turned out to be. I am sure the producers have told them to cool it, because most viewers like me don’t like a lot of attention being placed on the judges. Nicki Minaj seemed to be harsher with contestants a few weeks ago but seems to have calmed down and show more compassion for the contestants.

Keith Urban has really surprised me with his knowledge of American music and has very well thought out critiques of the singers. Randy Jackson has apparently appointed himself as the villain among the panelists, as he seems to be more critical of the singers, than the other three judges. Mariah Carey is taking over the Paula Abdul role as the judge who seldom says anything critical of most singers.

Ellen DeGeneres was by far the worst judge in the history of American Idol. She seemed to be more intent on cracking jokes, than on making meaningful critiques of the singers. It was no surprise, that she was a one season and out judge. I think even she sensed she didn’t belong on American Idol as a judge. Know that has nothing to do with Season 12, but just felt compelled to mention her judging skills or lack of.

It is too early to have a favorite or even to mention any names of the Season 12 contestants, since there are many eliminations ahead before the Final 10 is announced.

Apparently the tradition of judges going to rooms with contestants and telling which rooms are going home and which ones are advancing has been dropped, but that could change before the Final 10 is chosen. I liked that the Hollywood group week contestants were sorted into groups by American Idol executives. It ridded the show of the drama of singers begging to join a group or being dismissed by a group. I will never forget the season when the young boy from Louisiana was dumped by one group and him having to find a new group.

I don’t know if the tradition of contestants taking the long walk to talk to judges and being told their fate by the judges will be repeated this season. I am hoping by the end of this week, that we will know who the Final 10 singers are. Right now I think that the girl singers are better and should have more singers in the Top 10, but the producers may want an even number of girls and boys in the Top 10.

TV By the Numbers shows that both Big Bang Theory and Person of Interest attracted more viewers than American Idol last Thursday. The show is no longer the juggernaut it used to be, but it still is one of the most-watched shows on television.

It will be interesting to find out who the Final 10 will be composed of and we should know by the end of Thursday night’s show.


Immortality Reality Check

I was recently researching the survival rate for my duodenal cancer, which has a history of returning. I found out at one website that I had a 30 percent chance of living past five years.

The oncologist when told about this survival rate gave me a reality check, by telling me the average life span for an American male is only 76. Since I will be 69 later this year that means I may be down to my last seven years of life, regardless of how the cancer situation may change. The five years survival rate doesn’t sound so bad, when I may have only seven years left anyway.

Chemotherapy has gone well during the first ten weeks, which ends tomorrow leaving me with fourteen more weeks left. If the Catscan shows that the cancer has returned when the chemotherapy ends, then I may be forced into making some very difficult decisions. Don’t know whether I would want to start a new round of surgery, if surgery is even an option and whether continuing chemotherapy would even be an option.

It would be easy to be selfish and continue to pursue any surgery or chemotherapy, that may rid my body of the cancer. This cancer has reduced me to a man who has ostrich legs, which really indicate that something is seriously wrong with my health.

One of the main reasons for me to try to go to any length to keep fighting cancer, if it has returned would be to see my grandsons a few more years. I have a grandson who was 14 yesterday that dreams of playing major league baseball. He will be trying out for his high school team in Texas in the spring of 2014. I would like to be around if and when he plays baseball on the professional level.

His brother who will be 12 in October likes to play soccer and does extremely well in school, since he loves to read books. I would like to see him grow up and start a career, while I am still living.

The worst thing about leaving this world is those I would leave behind, including my two sons and daughter and my wife Rhonda and my stepson Justin.

My father is 98 and will be 99 in November of this year. It is now a possibility that he may outlive me and I am happy for him. He made the right health choices to eat almost exclusively healthy meals and very seldom ate out at fast food places. He worked in his garden till well into his 90’s and also mowed the yard.

What really matters the most is that whatever happens will be God’s will, so I am ready to accept whatever God has in store for me.

I may live another 10 or 15 years, but on the other hand I may not even be around this time next year.

I want to see all the baseball and football games I can see while I am still around. I want to listen to some of my 17,000 old-time radio shows from the 1920’s through 1962 when old-time radio died on September 30 of that year.

There is a lot of music I would like to hear again, while I am still around and enjoy nature and see the stars in the night sky.

Only God knows what my future holds and how much time I have left. Time will tell how all of this plays out.

One of my main objectives is to be the same person I have always been, no matter how good or bad the news may be about my cancer as the years roll by. I don’t want anyone feeling bad for me, because I will be worried about the ones being left behind more than myself.

Magazine Ads From the Past

These ads will bring a lot of memories to the old-timers among us and will let the younger generation know about the days, when you could buy a Coca-Cola for 5 cents and a pack of gum for 5 cents.

Smokesational! Radiolutionary! Smokerette-Radio by Stewart Warner: The only combination smoker and radio set. Magazine Ad, later 1940’s
A combination radio-smoker which provided smokers with a place for their cigarettes, cigars, pipes and tobacco, while listening to their favorite radio programs on this $49.95 radio.
This is the precursor of the Sony Walkman for only $7.95, before shipping and federal tax.


A one pound bag of Bazooka Bubble Gum will set you back $7.99 today after inflation kicked in.



You could look up and down every aisle of every grocery store in the United States today and not find these prices. Two boxes of Wheaties probably cost at least 25 cents nowadays and two pounds of coffee has probably doubled to 50 cents.


Barber shop prices of the 1900’s on the left. No date given for the prices on the right.


Barber shop prices over a 100 years later. The shave and a haircut of the 1900’s cost a total of 60 cents. That same shave and haircut today costs $33.00.


Nicki Minaj: Harshest American Idol Judge Ever?

Nicki Minaj

I thought Simon Cowell was the harshest American Idol judge, but Nicki Minaj gave him a run for his money last night. She not only criticized the singing of the singers, but their attitude and demeanor as well. She seemed to enjoy trashing the singing of Matheus Fernandes and then added insult to injury by saying he was choosing songs about his height, so he could have a pity party. She could have handled this situation better, by telling him backstage not to dwell on his height.

Matheus Fernandes
Matheus Fernandez

Fernandes may be remembered by some viewers, when he competed in The Glee Project on the Oxygen channel in 2011. The 4′ 9″ Fernandes was the shortest of all the American Idol contestants in the 2012 season.

Mariah Carey, who I had considered as a diva of the first magnitude showed a lot more class than Minaj during the show last night. Keith Urban and Randy Jackson didn’t seem to get as much camera time, as Minaj since she obviously enjoyed having the spotlight on herself, rather than on the contestants, who should have been in the spotlight. It is almost like Minaj enjoys stabbing the contestants with a knife and then gives it a little twist for maximum shock effect.

I think it was important that American Idol brought back Randy Jackson for Season 12, to give the show some stability. Keith Urban has shown how well he knows American music, by knowing a song that one of the singers hadn’t heard of, with Urban being from Australia.

American Idol Officials Choose Groups

With the judges picking which contestants were in each group it eliminated some of the drama. There was no drama of someone begging to join a group, or to be kicked out of a group and finding a new group. However, there was still the drama of not all the singers liking a song choice. One group in particular had a country singer, who was trying to learn a Maroon 5 song Moves Like Jagger. The song choice sealed his fate as he couldn’t remember the words and was clearly uncomfortable singing a song out of his comfort zone.

TV Ratings Down

American Idol premiered this year on January 16 and drew only 17.93 million viewers, which was the lowest since the show debuted in 2002 with 9.8 million viewers. This was the first season since 2002, that less than 20 million viewers watched a premiere show.

A season low 13.28 million viewers watched American Idol last night and this is during the Hollywood week.

The proliferation of singing competitions has dealt American Idol a blow, that they may never recover from. To make matters worse The Voice will be returning again, about three months after ending their fall version in December. That could put a further dent into American Idol ratings. X-Factor finished their season a month before the 2013 debut of American Idol.

It would not surprise me to see a viewer backlash against Nicki Minaj, if she continues to belittle the contestants in such a cruel way. The way she is behaving tells me she won’t be back for Season 13.