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The begining of the end for Idol?

As Idol ratings have dipped slightly this season, packs of chicken-littles have emerged claiming the end is near for the hit show.

Come to think of it, this season has the perfect four horsemen of the apocalypse lineup: Pestilence (Antonella Barba), Slaughter (Gina Glocksen), Desolation (Sanjaya Malakar) and Death (Phil Stacey).

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Seriously though, while most just say Idol is over, one TV critic is actually thinking constructively. Eric Deggans of The St. Petersburg Times has five ways to shore up Idol. From his column that was published today:

1. Actively recruit contestants.
When CBS’s Survivor found that open casting calls kept attracting the same kind of people, they recruited a more diverse group that helped revitalize the program. Idol expands its open casting calls every year, yet culls increasingly blander lineups. Sparks was even rejected from the Los Angeles auditions (she won a contest that flew her to Seattle for another try), and Doolittle only auditioned because she was accompanying a friend. Time to take the initiative and find new voices.
2. Upgrade the celebrity coaches.
Every celebrity mentor who performed on Idol this year sounded markedly worse than the contestants themselves. And some say, balding, paunchy disco icon Barry Gibb have little connection to the current pop scene. It’s time for coaches who are better performers and teachers. Who wouldn’t tune in to see Prince really put these kids through some changes?
3. Combine judges’ votes with the public’s.
One of the biggest post-Idol problems for winners such as Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino and Taylor Hicks is that their musical styles are not the most popular genres, limiting their chances to live up to the Idol title. More guidance is needed from the presumed industry experts.
4. Get Paula back on the crazy train, or get her gone.
It sounds awful to say, but since Paula Abdul has toned down her nonsensical asides and oddball behavior, she has become a platitude-spouting bore.
5. Stop padding the shows.
The trade magazine Variety noted last week that ratings for Wednesday Idol editions are far higher than for Tuesday; nearly a third of last Wednesday’s audience just tuned in for the ejection episode and hadn’t watched the competition on Tuesday. Time to stop filling out episodes. Cut the results show back to a half-hour and don’t even think about interrupting the competition for a week of charity fundraising.
Click here for the full column. What do you think Idol can do differently next season?  Or does it even have to change. Share your thoughts in our comments section.

Posted by Tim Swift

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