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'American Idol:' Artist development in sinkhole with ratings

American Idol Season 13 Top 13 revealed February 20, 2014.
American Idol Season 13 Top 13 revealed February 20, 2014.

"American Idol" (Idol) artist and development effectiveness seems noticeably different this season as it appears veteran coaches have been cut from the show and replaced by former American Idol judge, Randy Jackson. Also new to the Idol A&R department are Season 8 runner up Adam Lambert and Season 5 fourth place contestant Chris Daughtry.

The cutting of the first three contestants from the American Idol Top 13, usually scares the remaining Top 10 straight. So by the first Top 10 introduction performance show, the Idols are usually beyond karaoke performance-ready. The first noticeable improvements of the Top 10 in seasons past has been seen by how they play into the camera, make use of the stage, and make use of the stage equipment effectively. Appearance has always been something to look forward to, as many artists seem to build confidence with improved appearance. Increased confidence, seemed to naturally introduce more stage movement, more risk-taking, and better vocals. However, song choice, arrangement and execution all appear to be a struggle amongst the artists this season. Idol judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban, and Harry Connick, Jr. appear to be giving usable advice from week-to-week. But one has to wonder, exactly what is going on backstage that their advice doesn't translate into consistently advanced, stellar performances that reel the audiences in and leave the audience begging for more?

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Debra Byrd has been the backstage jewel of a vocal coach since American Idol kicked off its first season. Under her guidance former Idol contestants such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson have excelled. She is an accomplished vocal coach and chair of the vocal department at Musicians Institute, in Los Angeles, California.

In 2010, Season 6, American Idol vocal coaches Peisha (Arten) McPhee and Adriana McPhee came aboard. Notably, Season five second runner up Katherine McPhee was trained by her mother Peisha McPhee prior to competing on Idol.

It appears Jackson, Lambert, and Daughtry are all newbees at coaching. Unfortunately for Idol, new bees don't fly. Randy Jackson's coaching workshop and the Idol alum coaching do not appear to have the wings to help the Idol contestants soar this season. And, they don't appear to be the buoy needed to keep American Idol afloat for another season. American idol viewership has been tanking in recent years. In fact, none of the current Season 13 Idols have reached 20 thousand Twitter followers as of yet as America prepares to pare the group down to the final eight. Season six was the last season American Idol reached record highs of over 37 million viewers.

According to Nielsen's Ratings, American Idol ratings slipped in the 18-49 year old viewer slot to a rating of 2.2 the week ending March 23, 2014, down from the 4.6 rating at the season's premier. In the same week, American Idol under-performed The Voice's 4.1 rating.

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