American Idol delivers the exact same thing as always, loses 24 percent of its viewers

American Idol‘s eleventh season debuted last night, and “season one-one,” as Randy Jackson wouldn’t stop saying, was pretty much the same thing as always. And while the show remains far and away the most popular series on television, it lost 24 percent of its viewers 18 to 49 compared to last season’s debut.

The debut a year ago was Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler’s first appearance on the show, so there was obviously increased interest then, and they remain the most interesting part, if only because they are less predictable than the rest of the show. That’s especially true since Steven Tyler continues to say whatever comes into his mind–like when a female auditioner’s family came in and he told her dad it was “hot, humid, and happenin,'” adding, “just like your daughter.”

Anyway, the episode averaged 21.9 million viewers, which was down versus 26.25 last year, and it lost 24 percent of its viewers 18 to 49. TV By the Numbers reports. That continues the general trend of declining ratings for the show, which still has an insane number of viewers. Consider Big Brother producers’ Alison Grodner and Rich Meehan’s new CW show Remodeled, which had .7 million viewers for its debut Tuesday, and .6 million when it repeated last night.

Otherwise, it was the typical parade of delusional people whose family members lied to them about being good singers, actually decent singers, people with sad stories, and people who were just fucking with the show, like Joshua Chavis, whose friends couldn’t stop laughing when he came out and pretended to be devastated. Although the editors added stupid sound effects, the show oddly played everything straight, even as he pretended he wanted the cameras to go away, even though it was clearly a joke. Are they really hurting that much for contestants who are actually delusional and upset?

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.