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American Idol premiere ratings keep dropping

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American IdolNew judge Harry Connick Jr. and new/old judge J-Lo couldn’t stop American Idol’s same old problem: flagging ratings. Wednesday’s return garnered 15 million viewers and a 4.6 adults 18-49 category. The Voice debuted with a 5.1 demo in that category last year, and they’ll be crowing about that on their return.

Fox had hoped viewers might stop by to see how Connick would change the table dynamic. Just two episodes in, everybody seems to agree he’s a keeper. The returning Lopez will keep the singing competition in the headlines, and not the ones Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey were generating. Once it was obvious Fox wouldn’t let the pair kill each other on live TV, viewers lost interest in their rivalry. If Celebrity Deathmatch were still around, that would be an easy bit.

People are wondering aloud if Fox is trying to replicate the playful fun The Voice’s judges have. On NBC’s show the coaches actually compete for talent, and they were still enjoying themselves more than the Idol table.

That may be true, but The Voice wouldn’t exist had Idol not paved the way. Every network tried to emulate Fox’s singing success. ABC even tried using one of AI’s biggest stars, Kelly Clarkson, on Duets. NBC found a gimmick that worked by pitting the coaches against each other in a “rivalry” about as real as a pro wrestling feud. Seriously, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton are the new Affleck and Damon.

Idol’s original panel had more to do with its ratings than they got credit for. They got tired of each other and us of them before they broke up. But I haven’t enjoyed any of the other panels as much as Randy, Simon and Paula. If you need further proof of how important  judges are, name me the last two Voice winners without looking them up. They’re winning the ratings and cultural relevance battle and have yet to produce a single star. Anyone that claims they’re watching The Voice to see the next big singing sensation is deluding themselves.

The good news for Fox is that 15 million viewers is still a huge number, and far better than anyone else had Wednesday night.

Read [Yahoo TV]

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