First off let me just say that I am not an American Idol fan. I have never voted, I’ve never seen a season all the way through, and this is the first season I have watched enough episodes to really know what’s going on. This year there were two main factors keeping me watching the show: 1) my wife enjoys it 2) Fox is the only channel we can get clearly on our rabbit ears. So in honor of the only show I have regularly watched on TV this year (I am forced to watch Lost online) here are the top 10 reasons why my grandchildren will know what American Idol is.
1) Ratings wise it is the most popular show of all time, averaging 27 million viewers this season. Also, this year’s finale beat out last year’s huge turnout with almost 32 million viewers. It has even helped make Fox America's most popular television network for the first time since it began operation in 1987.
2) The ratings are so big there is a death star effect. That is, other channels are moving their popular shows and replacing them with duds to limit the negative impact.
3) It has made Ryan Seacrest the next Dick Clark (literally), where as his original co-host who left after the first season, Brian Dunkleman, is doing Celebrity Fit Club.
4) This show gives no names the chance to be famous. It is the ultimate place for people with no industry connections to get international exposure (sorry Miley Cyrus). It has done for music what blogging has done for news.
5) American Idol not only creates new music stars, but brings attention to old ones. Performers include Bryan Adams, George Michael , Seal, Donna Summer, Graham Nash, ZZ Top, OneRepublic (and that's all from the last episode). They also have themes such as "country music, hits of the 21st century and Elvis Presley songs, along with appearances and mentoring by legendary artists like Tony Bennett, Jennifer Lopez, Martina McBride and Bon Jovi. These guest performers not only share their expertise with the contestants, they enable audience members to experience a variety of musical styles."
6) They have a great business model. Every part of the show is cleverly crafted as a way to maximize profits:
-iTunes sponsors the show and they use them to sell recordings of the performances each night
-They have contestants do Ford commercials, drink Coke products, call on AT&T (each having to pay $35 million dollars)
-Total the show had 4,184 product placements
-There is even have an idol camp, featuring real past contestants
-The final episode was one big advertisement for the summer tour which will have 50 shows around the country at about $75 a seat
7) First show ever to get its own theme park.
8) Idol Gives Back raised over $70 million for charity in the last two years. Not only is that helping millions, but it sure makes the show look good too.
9) It also gives unknown songwriters a chance to make it big. This year they even let the final two contestants choose their favorite and sing it.
10) And finally, more people voted in the final two elimination than in the 2006 election. Yeah that’s an midterm election, but still, 97.5 million votes is phenomenal.
Like me, you may not like most of the music that comes out of the American Idol scene, but clearly a lot of people do. I also have to admit that I really liked Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway album.