All right, there's been some back-and-forth this week about whether this season of American Idol has been blah because of the themes or boring contestants or the show just running out of steam.

I think it's some combination thereof, but I'm still of the mind that the themes have been causing some of the mind-numbingness of season seven.

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Consider this. Last season, for the Top 16 and the Top 20, the contestants had no constraints, except that the Top 20 had to dedicate the song to a friend or family member. So they were all over the board in styles, genres and eras.

Yes, the Top 12 had to do the songs of Diana Ross, and the Top 6 had to do the songs of Bon Jovi, but the other mentor nights were more open: British Invasion, No Doubt songs and songs by artists who inspired the band, American classics with Tony Bennett (but this made the throwback theme an anomaly, not just another old-fashioned week), Latin night with Jennifer Lopez (including songs by Santana, Gloria Estefan and others), country week with Martina McBride (with songs by Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Bonnie Raitt and Rascal Flatts).

So in the 12 weeks I looked back at, the contestants got to cover much more ground than just "Beatles" or "the '80s" or "Dolly Parton" or whatever. We've gotten variety when the singers have gone with new arrangements, but taken together, this season's song choices have been pretty stale.

And it's almost too late to do anything about it.

Sounds like the show is planning to make some changes in future seasons, based on the questions in a viewer survey, but these sure seem like the wrong questions to me.

What do you think?

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