It won’t be long before all of the major players on American Idol are long gone. Simon Cowell has stated he may be leaving the show sooner rather than later. Idol’s host Ryan Seacrest just renewed his contract for three more years for $15 million. Randy Jackson has not said one way or another, but this week news broke, by Abdul herself on her Twitter, that she was, in fact, leaving the show.
In her place is the annoying, unwatchable Kara DioGuardi. Perhaps the producers don’t think the steadily declining viewership will notice Abdul’s departure but I can tell you, as a viewer from Day One, the show will greatly suffer without her. Abdul was the heart, for better or worse, drunk or sober. Every good show needs a heart and a great villain. Idol had both in Abdul and Cowell.
Let’s face it, Idol is only barely watchable now. It’s a bad habit that is tough to break, especially when there is a good contestant in the mix. What it is, though, is incredibly profitable in the long run. There is good reason for the producers to let Abdul walk away when most of their stars are selling records like hotcakes. There is no stigma anymore against being a reality show contestant; this is how music stars are born.
Abdul has not said yet what was the thing that eventually pulled the trigger on her participation, but one can probably guess it’s money-related. Either that or she grew tired of always having to play the role of loony. Randy Jackson must be glad just to be there, as should Abdul, frankly. Where was she before Idol came along? Wasn’t it the best thing that ever happened to her career?
In the end, though, it’s smart to jump ship before it really starts sinking. No one wants to be that last person standing there collecting a paycheck after all of the good people have gone. What remains to be seen is whether the judges can have the same magic and turn out the same stars as the old ones did.
Here is what I will miss about the show with Paula Abdul gone. I will miss her jumping up and dancing when she really liked a song. I will miss how she would tear up at a particularly moving performance. I will miss how she always found something nice to say about someone no matter how bad their performance was. I will miss her standing up to Simon.
As I think about it, I may never watch the show from here on out. All this time I’ve been waiting for a good reason to sever the ties. Now I finally have one; it can’t always be about the bottom line. Besides which, I feel certain I won’t be the only viewer turned off by DioGuardi a second time around.
Idol’s auditions start this week. Here’s to hoping the Abdul thing turns itself around by the time this article goes to press.