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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 30 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

‘American Idol’ is Back… on ABC!

It’s been over a year since Ryan Seacrest uttered those last two ominous words at the close of American Idol’s last season — “for now” — leaving fans of the show discussing the possibility of a revival ever since. Most fans figured the show would take a couple years off, regroup and return for a new generation looking to populate the music scene with homegrown talent.

However, the rumor mill never stopped churning. A few months ago, there was buzz that NBC was looking to add Idol to its lineup, despite already having The Voice under its wing, but then talks of a bidding war between networks emerged and, this week we learned that ABC came out on top, even above the show’s home for 15 seasons, FOX.

With the news, came speculation and other details about the show. Here’s what we know or have heard so far:

  1. Stalwart host, Ryan Seacrest, eyed to return for ABC’s Idol revival. [Credit: Variety]

    The show will be hosting at least some auditions at Disney World. It seems likely that casting calls will be held around the country and those that advance will be shipped off to the Florida theme park to perform for the shows celebrity judging panel before being whittled down to a yet to be determined group of finalists.
  2. Despite his new daytime talk show gig with Kelly Ripa, ABC seems eager to get Ryan Seacrest on board to host again. Truly, the show would be nothing without his professionalism and expertise. The show also seems to be going after one particular Idol alum to judge. The one and only Kelly Clarkson looks to be clearing her schedule and has expressed interest in the gig already.
  3. Given ABC’s reality roster already, which includes Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor, it seems likely that Idol will be in good hands. Rumors have the show pegged for a Sunday performance show with results happening at the end of the following week’s performance show, as they do with Dancing with the Stars.

ABC has also promised a “bigger, better, bolder Idol,” which has many fans wondering what changes the network will make to their beloved show. As a fan of the show, I can say that I do think changes are a necessary for the show to attract new viewers as well as retaining their loyal fan base. So, in the spirit of putting things out in the universe and hoping The Powers That Be hear our cries, I’ve put together a list of some fans suggestions (including my own) on how to improve the show:

  • Idol alum like Adam Lambert would make great mentors for the new crop of contestants. [Credit: Hollywood Reporter]

    blackfield at idolforums.com suggested: having iTunes downloads count as votes, as they do on The Voice. This gives fans access to music from their favorite contestants right away and is a better gauge of whether those votes will translate into album sales.
  • jstxanothrxstory at idolforums.com suggested: Fresher and newer songs. It’s no secret that Idol often gives its contestants a very limited list of songs to choose from during its theme weeks, which is why we often hear the same songs over and over again. Hopefully ABC will invest the time and money into clearing both newer and more songs for its contestants. ABC could even do like the do with Dancing with the Stars and have a Disney songs night, as long as they carefully toe the line between cheesy and legitimate musical talent.
  • BJ_Lock at idolforums.com suggested: Less focus on the judges, saying this is something that The Voice suffers from. I would agree that while yes, in the early season, a scathing review from Simon Cowell could change a contestant’s fate, but in the most recent seasons, the judge’s feedback has become less critical. As a result, the audience often tunes them out and has made a decision on how they are going to vote before they even hear from them. Shorter, more substantial feedback would benefit the contestant, thereby improving the quality of performances from week to week, and also help the audience decide who is actually listening to that feedback and using the Idol platform to grow as an artist. A win-win situation, in my opinion.

Several fans also voiced concerns about the way Idol has conducted results shows in the past. From having a “Judges’ Save” which has yet to be used effectively to drawing out the results over an hour or over the span of the performance show. The format that seemed to work best is to do it similar to the way FOX’s other reality show So You Think You Can Dance does it and announce the contestants in danger at the beginning of the show, have everyone sing, and then announce the eliminated contestant at the end. It reduces the pressure on all the contestants and motivates them to give their best performance. Also, without a Judges’ or Twitter Save, the worst that could happen is that a talented contestant goes home early like Jennifer Hudson or Chris Daughtry, and look how well that turned out for them.

I also think having Idol alum mentor the contestants from week to week could yield some good results, as it has in the past and they can, like The Voice’s mentors, bring some of their celebrity friends to mentor with them. I’m sure Queen frontman Adam Lambert or Country belle Carrie Underwood have some famous friends that would tag along for the ride.

All in all, ABC has their work cut out for them trying to figure out how to make the show, which was once a ratings juggernaut, that again. As I said, I think Idol is in good hands with the network that has kept Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor fresh for so many seasons and I’m sure between now and March 2018, when the show is slated to be returning, we’ll hear plenty more rumors about what the network is doing to make Idol bigger, better and bolder.

[Credit: Matt Sayles / Invision / Getty Images]

How do you feel about ABC bringing Idol back? And what changes would you like to see them make to the show? Sound off in the comments below.


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