American Idol has become “a coveted booking for established artists looking to return to the mainstream or maintain their public appeal,” the New York Times reports. It’s also a great way to show off your new facelift, not that I’ll mention any names.
Record labels and music industry people are interested because “the songs performed on the show — either by established artists making guest appearances or by the contestants themselves — receive a sales boost in some cases.” Thus, “as the stature of ‘Idol’ has increased, so has the eagerness of record labels hoping to place their artists on the show,” according to the paper. Since there’s so much desire and demand, producers can be picky; Universal Records President Monte Lipman says, “They’re holding all the cards.”
Why do producers encourage this? Shockingly enough, they say it’s entirely altruistic; they’re using their power for good. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says, “We realized we had this influence as well. We’re giving them something back. They’re not just coming on this corny American show.”
Elsewhere, the LA Times asks a varied group of people why the show is popular, and thus attracts the attention of everyone from recording artists to high schoolers. On the panel: Kurt Anderson, Bravo’s Lauren Zalaznick, and others. Zalaznick says it is “a phenomenon” that “is not reproducible.” Historian Neal Gabler says the show is “about our empowerment,” while Anderson says he watches for “the really terrible people and watching Simon Cowell telling them they’re rubbish.”