Like we said, "American Idol" died a long time ago.
Here are the five things that killed it:
5. The show's format
In truth, the format for "American Idol" was doomed to eventually fail.
Its huge cattle call auditions made sense when it was real, talented struggling artists looking for a way to be noticed, but once it quickly became stadiums full of people trying out, the system collapsed.
People got mere seconds to audition. "Big show" singers were favored because nuance was out the window.
Simply put, this ain't the way to pick America's best singers.
4. The Producers
The people who let what "American Idol" once was deteriorate into what it is now must take a lot of the blame for its fall.
Sure, it was funny for the first couple of seasons to watch people who were bad try out. But it got old pretty quick, and to focus on them, as the show too frequently did, was just dishonest. If you're looking for the best talent in America, why focus on the worst?
People whose families probably told them they weren't good were getting put through to the judges just so viewers could laugh at bad contestants. Contestants who were obviously jokes were getting shown on TV.
Really? That's what you want this show to be about?
3. The Judges
"American Idol" pretty much died when Simon Cowell left. He was the only judge, ever, who was able to simply be honest about talent. No other judge while he was there (oh God, remember Ellen DeGeneres?), and certainly none other since has been able to simply tell contestants they were bad.
Now, everyone gets praise. Thank goodness viewers choose, because if it were up to the judges, everyone would be the winner.
The vacuum that rushed in when Cowell stepped away also gave rise to the show focusing on the judges, and led to the Mariah Careys and Nicki Minajes who really killed the show. But the clueless Jennifer Lopez, the meek Keith Urban and Harry Connick aren't much better.
2. The contestants
When you talk about blame for the fall of "Idol," you need ti hold up a mirror at the contestants themselves. Somewhere along the line, the contestants on "American Idol" started thinking the show was "The Real World."
Drama replaced ability. Image replaced talent. Contestants thought they were there for their personalities rather than their performances. Even winners such as Phillip Phillips decided they knew better and ignored the music industry and public. (Nice sales on your second album, there, Phil.)
Instead of real artists such as Clarkson and Underwood, we got far less talented divas who really had no shot at careers.
Blame whomever you want for the fall of "American Idol," but the real problem with the show is the voting audience.
When the show started, it largely captured the attention of music fans – people who bought records, listened to popular music. So it was no surprise that Kelly Clarkson won the first season; she was the most talented.
That changed when everyone started watching the show – meaning the vast majority of viewers and voters had no knowledge of, or interest in, music. Had the first season been the a popularity contest, faux punker Nikki McKibbon probably would have won.
There were warnings as early as the second season when Clay Aiken almost beat far more talented Ruben Studdard and really hit full force when goofy Taylor Hicks beat Katharine McPhee and Elliott Yamin in Season 5.
Sure, there have been good picks since then: Carrie Underwood in Season 4, Jordan Sparks in Season 6, Lee DeWyze in Season 9. But far more often the more "popular" contestants who are less talented win, and in recent years, basically the whole final group wasn't very talented.