American Idol Twist Leaves Viewers Cold
Published February 10, 2014 at 10:05 am
Few shows in history have had the sort of success of Fox’s American Idol. The network’s tentpole hit has been going strong for 13 seasons, seamless integrating new hosts and competitors every year while retaining strong ratings.
It’s not alone in the market, however. Other singing competition shows have cropped up, creeping into the space once totally dominated by Idol.
That pressure from other shows could very well be the impetus behind a new dramatic twist the show introduced in this season. As the show has always done, contestants were flown to Los Angeles to perform during “Hollywood Week.” This time, though, 52 of them were made to sing again immediately after they landed, then told to board one of two buses.
The second bus took people to a hotel to continue their dreams of stardom. The first one drove them right back to the airport, where they were told to go home and that they were no longer involved in the competition.
Many people on Twitter criticized the show’s harsh new wrinkle.
One commenter described it as “cold-blooded.” Another said it was “evil.” One even said that it was so “uncool” that it made her excited for The Voice, a competing show on NBC.
Whether these sorts of stunts will help American Idol retain viewers remain to be seen. For many viewers, at least, this method of building drama is not what they want out of their entertainment, which could lead to them looking to other channels.
As a marketing tool, a dramatic shift can serve to reengage uninterested customers and remind people that your brand is still interesting and exciting. However, it’s critical to be thoughtful when designing this sort of change. If it feels abrupt or flies in the face of what consumers have come to expect from you, it could come off like a cheap ploy and wind up alienating your core audience.