Idol 8 auditions end as the show runs out of material, but ratings are up over last year

American Idol 8‘s auditions have ended after seven episodes and nine hours–and just in time, because the show ran out of people so fast they had to double-up audition cities in a single hour-long episode, never mind spending time on the losers that have been mostly, thankfully absent this year.

The general approach–which included concluding every single episode with a feel-good story and a not-exactly-surprising golden ticket to Hollywood–has worked, as ratings increased compared to last year, although they’re still down from the season premiere. On Wednesday, 26.97 million people watched, up from 25.6 million last year, according to TV by the Numbers.

While this season has had fun auditions and auditions featuring delusional dummies, it has been nearly free of obvious attention whores. But two such obvious clowns showed up last night, one in Puerto Rico and one in New York City. Besides not having enough people to fill their own episode, both cities apparently didn’t even have enough people to fill a half-hour, which is why we had to be exposed to these losers, although at least one had a funny line when he told Simon Cowell, “You mean the way you like it when Seacrest does it?” (It’s better without context.) The show even let Alexis Cohen, the glittered goober from last year, audition again, and like last year, it ended in her giving the finger to the judges.

Season eight ran out of material so fast that, during Wednesday’s episode, Ryan Seacrest had to beg people in Utah to fight the judges, because they weren’t making interesting television by just being agreeable when they were rejected. “Don’t let them talk you into conceeding,” Seacrest said. “So use that drive and determination that got you here to get it and leave with it.”

In other words, you Utahans are boring as Archuleta shit and we’re not going to be able to get a full episode out of this unless some of you act crazy. On Tuesday, the crazy had to come from the judges, when Paula inexplicably fake-made out with Kara, and the judges sat on each other’s laps after a fan of Randy Jackson’s sat on his lap (!). And Ryan Seacrest, who previously attempted to high-five a blind man, pretended to punch a man with MS–an Osmond!–in the stomach.

Next week, the newly expanded Hollywood rounds arrive, and clearly, it’s not a moment too soon.

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.