American Idol survey asks about keeping Ellen, Paula’s return, mentors, theme weeks, more

A comprehensive survey about American Idol that’s linked from the show’s web site asks respondents about everything from whether Ellen DeGeneres should return next year to whether there should be theme weeks. This would seem to indicate that Fox and the producers are considering changing the show next year.

Overall, the questions and possible responses are very comprehensive and honest and not bullshit. (Take the survey here.) For example, if you respond that you’re watching the show less than last year, the survey asks you why, and the options include “The talent is worse,” “The pace is slower,” “The music themes each week are generally boring,” “The judges aren’t as entertaining this season,” “I do not like the show as much now that Paula Abdul has left,” “I do not like Ellen DeGeneres on the show,” “The contestants eliminated so far do not make sense,” “People are talking about American Idol less,” “I am getting bored by the show,” and “I don’t care about the contestants this season.”

The survey asks for responses about each judge, asking to identify one’s range of agreement with statements about whether each judge “gives good feedback,” “is supportive,” “works well with the other judges,” or adds entertainment value to the program.” Ellen DeGeneres’ questions, however, add two unique to her: “Ellen should be judge on American Idol next season” and “Ellen has fitted well as part of the panel of judges.”

The survey asks about the number of judges, and how much time is devoted to them, and also asks about the judges’ save. Paula Abdul is even represented, with respondents asked to identify their agreement or disagreement with statements such as “I miss Paula on American Idol,” “It was time for Paula to move on from American Idol,” I would like Paula to return as a guest judge in future seasons,” and “I would like Paula to return as a permanent judge next season.” (Oh please, no.)

Ryan Seacrest doesn’t get his own selection of questions, but is represented in other questions, like when the survey asks “How much of a reason are each of the following for watching American Idol?” and includes both Ryan Seacrest and “The banter between Ryan and the judges” as options.

The survey also asks respondents to rank guest mentors; asks about DVR behavior (including whether people watch just the contestants’ performances only, judges’ comments, Simon’s comments, guest star performances, or the results); and asks about the “overall performance of the judges and Ryan.”

Among the survey’s other questions:

  • How much are you enjoying the current season of American Idol?
  • How much of a reason are each of the following for watching American Idol?
  • Thinking about the live performance shows, do you generally like the principle of having music themes every week?
  • Thinking about past seasons of American Idol, which of the following music themes have you particularly liked?
  • The live performance shows regularly feature a Mentor who gives advice to the contestants that week. Do you like or dislike the idea of having Mentors on American Idol?
  • Do you like the idea of having former American Idol winners or stars come back as Mentors on the show?

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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.