Editorials and Articles Archive
Cranking the Idol (and WNTS) machinery back to life
3 March 2018
Let's see, which key is it? Ah, here we go....
Ugh, look at all the dust and cobwebs. The power's out, too. Well, that's not a surprise. We haven't paid the electric bill in almost two years. To be honest, we haven't paid any of our bills since roughly 2009.
Otherwise, though, the WNTS office still looks the same as we left it. Piles of graph paper, whiteboards full of equations, old Review Crew ballots, promotional CDs from contestants we wouldn't remember if they walked through the door right now to repossess the furniture. Which cannot be ruled out. It's like a walk down memory lane, just more allergenic.
Anyway, American Idol will soon be back in business, and that means WhatNotToSing.com is too. Sort of. We're looking forward to next Sunday's reboot of the franchise. And, assuming the first few audition episodes are not a total train wreck, we plan on cataloging the season and calculating our legendary Approval Ratings™ for the Semifinals and Finals. Should the "train wreck" scenario arise, we reserve the right to change our minds.
Are we excited? Of course. Even if it turns out to be only a one-off affair, a new season of AI after a brief hiatus ought to be fun. And, it's always worthwhile to watch good young singers get some exposure and try to up their games on a national stage.
Are we optimistic that Idol 2.0 will be a marked improvement over the lackluster final few seasons of its predecessor? Of course not. Fifteen years of covering this show would make anyone cynical. Maybe the contestants will all be vocal reincarnations of Sam Cooke and Karen Carpenter. Maybe the new judging panel will be insightful arbiters of talent relevant to the pop music scene of 2018, and who won't make us want to throw our laptops at our TVs on a weekly basis. So, who are the new judges again? Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan? Oh. Okay. We'll hope for the Cooke/Carpenter angle, then.
Do we think ABC rebooted the show too soon and should instead have waited until 2020, as they had originally planned? No comment.
A big concern, to be frank, is that we've heard exceedingly little about any upcoming improvements to Idol's creaky old formula. The widely-leaked schedule – a few audition rounds, followed by Hollywood Week, Top 24 semifinals, and eight live Finals episodes with no result shows – appears to be dusted off whole from 2016. We have read lots about guest mentors and semifinal Celebrity Duet partners, suggesting that ABC and Fremantle are banking on star power to draw in viewers. That's understandable. Concerning, but understandable.
One change we'd absolutely urge the new brain trust to make: drop the ban on rap and hip-hop music. At the very least, make what the kids sing every week sound a little like what's played on the radio today. Our elderly senior editors, who are not fans of that sort of music one freaking iota, are begging you to do this, which ought to give you some clue as to what your target audience wants to hear. Come on now.
That's about it for now. Barring anything catastrophic or completely undigestible, we'll be back when the semifinals begin. (We'll also actually start checking our email and Facebook messages more often than once every equinox, if you have any questions or comments.) We sincerely hope that most of our old Review Crew team will be back to help us score performances; if you have changed your email address, please let us know because that's what our spreadsheets go by.
Gotta run, we have a lot of cleaning to do, plus some bill collectors and repo people already pounding at our door. Hmm, a couple of them look a-w-f-u-l-l-y familiar......
- The WNTS.com Team