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American Idol: Ready for Season 13

January 15th, 2014 · No Comments

With the premiere of American Idol  Season 13, I’m going to begin posting reviews of the new season each week.  However, let’s first take a look back at how the popular singing contest got to Season 13 in the first place:

Season 1–I watched very little of this season, and the consensus is that Kelly Clarkson was its one true bright shining star.  However, her success was critical to the show’s success as well.

Season 2–I tuned in on Wild Card night, when that season’s decision for how to fill the final slots in the field were being made.  I heard Clay Aiken sing, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”  I voted for him all the way to the finale.  Season winner Ruben Studdard found a career as well, and this season also gave us a fresh country star in Josh Gracin.

Season 3–Early on I could tell this was going to be Fantasia Barrino’s season, and I was not one of her fans.  The field was a very non-competitive one, and I quit watching early.

Season 4–Carrie Underwood became one of the biggest superstars the show has ever produced, but Bo Bice and Costantine Maroulis made the season a breakout year for rockers.

Season 5–I actually liked (and voted for) Taylor Hicks.  Randy Jackson called him a “throwback singer,” and he’d fit perfectly alongside such classic Southern entertainers as Glen Campbell, Roger Miller, and Johnny Cash.  But this season was an especially rich one that provided career breakouts for Kelli Pickler, Bucky Covington, Paris Bennett, Katherine McPhee, and Chris Daughtry.

Season 6–Never got into this one, didn’t watch it.

Season 7–Will long be remembered as the season when the two Davids (winner Cook and runner-up Archuleta) battled all the way to the finale.

Season 8–May have featured the best field ever.  If someone were casting a scripted show about a talent competition, it might look something like this:  the Southern charmer (Kris Allen), the flamboyant theatrical glam-rocker (Adam Lambert), the conservative Christian (Danny Gokey), the Black diva (Lil Rounds), the Asian-American teen punker (Alison Iraheta), the Asian-American crooner (Anoop Desai), and a piano man (Matt Girard).  Except for the coffeehouse queen, where I’d swap out Megan Joy in favor of Crystal Bowersox.

Season 9–Crystal Bowersox remains the face of this season, even though she didn’t win.  It’s remembered as the year of the singer-songwriter, thanks to her, winner Lee DeWise, and breakout appearances from Casey James and Casey Abrams.

Season 10–Although the field was competitive, very little is memorable except for the winner, teenage country baritone Scotty McCreery.  To be fair, runner-up Lauren Alaina gathered a fan base, too.

Season 11–I disagreed with the judges about almost every decision this season. and only the victory of Phillip Phillips (the one strong contender in a very weak field) kept it from being a total farce.  Second-worst season ever.

Season 12–Worst season ever.  A total farce.  The entire season was openly fixed around the dubious policy of giving advantage to a female vocalist.  The judges (deliberately?) selected a skimpy field in which four women who could win were matched against six people who had no business being in the competition.  Audiences responded by making The Voice a more popular show.

So now Season 13 is being hyped as having a new judging panel and some format changes.  Let’s hope it gives us a competitive field of new talent to vote for, because that’s what it’s supposed to do.

Tags: American Idol