ABC to retune Fox reject American Idol in 2018
Attention, would-be Arkansas superstars. Time to tune up and try out.
Did you believe your shot at fame and fortune (or at least 15 minutes of fame) was over because Fox canceled American Idol last year? In case you missed the memo, ABC has bought the rights to the show and is bringing it back, probably in March. Too soon? We’ll see. American Idol — once an unstoppable ratings behemoth — ran from 2002 to 2016 and once drew more than 30 million viewers. That is remarkable.
By the end, viewership had fallen to a third of that thanks to a glut of copycat shows and the natural aging process of all TV programs.
Without another major singing competition to worry about, NBC’s The Voice is still going strong, but that series is really more about the judges than the singers. Doubt me? Name one singer from the show. Just one.
American Idol’s high point in Arkansas was Season 8 (2009) when native son Kris Allen defeated the talented Adam Lambert to take home the title and do all of us proud. Allen’s triumph was seen by almost 29 million viewers. Heady stuff for a small-town boy.
My favorite moment from that finale was when Allen and Lambert joined the surviving members of Queen for a rendition of “We Are the Champions.” That was magical.
After ABC made its big revival announcement, it revealed the signing of “music luminary” Katy Perry as the first judge. Variety is reporting that Perry is being paid $25 million for the chore. Not bad for indoor work with no heavy lifting.
We’ll see if pop royalty translates to ratings and if Perry has the skills to make a good judge. Idol has had some spectacular failures (looking at you, Mariah Carey and Ellen DeGeneres).
In my opinion, the best judging panel was the final one — Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. All were knowledgeable and articulate and left their egos at the door.
Meanwhile, The Voice has signed American Idol’s Kelly Clarkson, the show’s immensely popular first winner in 2002, as a coach for Season 14, set for February. She’ll join Blake Shelton and Adam Levine and an unnamed fourth coach.
Clarkson, who turned down the opportunity to judge on the rebooted Idol, has been an adviser and performer on The Voice and told Variety that she’s looking forward to the adventure.
“We’ve gone back and forth about a role as a coach for years, but the timing hasn’t been right until now,” Clarkson said. “I can’t wait to turn my chair and see the faces of up-and-coming artists and provide them with the help and support they’ve needed to break into the industry.”
Former Idol contestant Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus will be joining Levine and Shelton this fall for the show’s 13th season.
All that said, here’s your chance to get in on the action. Beginning Aug. 17, American Idol is hitting the road with a bus tour to hold auditions in 19 cities across the country.
If you can’t audition in person, you can submit a video online. Get all the details and information at AmericanIdol.com (which redirects to abc. go.com). Contestants must be between the ages of 15 and 28.
The site lists all the bus stops and dates, from Miami to Portland, Ore. The closest to Arkansas will be Tulsa on Sept. 1 and Shreveport on Sept. 4.
But don’t be afraid of a road trip. Allen journeyed 12 hours, to Louisville, Ky., for his audition. There were 15,000 others already in line and he almost missed the registration deadline. You could say it all worked out.
Regular readers already know that the Smithsonian Channel is one of my favorites. It always seems to have a fascinating variety of programming. From A to Z — Aerial America to Zoo Vets — there’s never a dull moment.
Here are a couple of new series premiering today.
■ America in Color, 7 p.m. The series has meticulously restored and colorized archival black-and-white footage from the early 20th century through the 1960s to give viewers a new perspective on history.
Liev Schreiber narrates the five-part series. Each episode highlights a decade. First up is “1920s.”
■ First Ladies Revealed, 8 p.m. The series profiles several of the women who have held the title of first lady. It reveals their challenges and celebrates the achievements, “from the crucial role Jackie Kennedy’s image played in the JFK administration to the influence Hillary Clinton had during her husband’s presidency.”
First up is “The Power of Style,” highlighting not only Kennedy, but Dolley Madison and Nancy Reagan.
Kris Allen and his wife, Katy, enjoy his homecoming parade in Conway on May 8, 2009. Allen would be named the American Idol Season 8 winner on May 20.