American Idol‘s 11th season (yes, this show has been on the air for more than a decade) begins on January 18, but instead of being excited for the stuff we can’t wait to see — the backstabbing drama during Hollywood week, Steven Tyler’s charming incoherency, Jennifer Lopez’s flawlessness when it comes to choosing an outfit — we’re focusing on the stuff we hope to never see or hear ever again. Jump below for our Top 11.
TOP 11 THINGS WE NEVER WANT TO SEE OR HEAR ON AMERICAN IDOL EVER AGAIN
11. Randy Jackson’s catchphrases. First it was “dawg.” Then it was “in it to win it.” Randy, you’re the judge who’s been there the longest! Stop spouting your annoying one-liners and critique performances using a variety of words.
10. Hour-long results shows. The half-hour results shows of yesteryear already felt tediously stretched out, but to make us wait a whole hour to find out who goes home?! Idol, we realize you have to cram a bunch of stuff in the episode — Ford commercials, trips to movie premieres with the cast to pimp out some new Fox movie, performances — but if you need to cut time, drop the unnecessary summary of the judges’ critiques and the super cheesy group performances. No one will miss them.
9. Beatles (or the songs of Lennon/McCartney) theme nights. There’s only so many times we can hear these songs sung by anybody but The Beatles. On that note…
8. Contestants singing Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, Etta James’ “At Last”, R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” or Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be”. There are still plenty of songs yet to be performed on American Idol, so why do people keep going back to these?
7. Discouraging contestants to discuss their sexuality freely. We’re not saying that Idol has made contestants flat-out lie about their sexual orientation, but remember how big a thing Adam Lambert’s unspoken homosexuality was during Season 8? Why did it have to be a mystery? The Voice, by comparison, made no big deal of the fact that finalists Vicci Martinez and Beverly McClellan were gay, and had no qualms saying as much when delving into their back stories (or having their partners appear on the show). We’d love to see Idol provide the same respect to their non-hetero contestants.
6. Passing people to the next round who clearly don’t deserve it. Season 8′s clueless giggling drama queen Tatiana Del Toro, Season 8′s cabaret comedy act Nick “Norman Gentle” Mitchell, Season 6′s scandal-maker Antonella Barba and Season 5′s King of the Bad Contestants Sanjaya Malakar shouldn’t have made it past the initial audition round, and yet there they were, many, many rounds after that. We know you’re trying to make good television, but viewers only get angry seeing a coveted spot go to a contestant who is clearly out of his or her element.
5. Overly cheesy Ford commercials. American Idol obviously needs the cash that Ford shells out as a major sponsor of the show. But why do these “music videos” have to be so, so terrible? Isn’t there a more clever way to hock cars that doesn’t give us secondhand embarrassment for the contestants who are contractually obligated to participate?
4. Anyone under the age of 17. Jordin Sparks and Scotty McCreery both won their respective seasons at the age of 17, so there’s no denying a young’un can prove their worth on the Idol stage. But not every teenager possesses a Bieber-sized amount of talent and professionalism, and what we mostly get with teenage contestants are kids who are good enough for their high school talent shows, but nowhere near experienced enough to make it in the music industry at large. Let’s just hope Idol doesn’t lower the age limit even further to 13. We hate to see children break down into tears in front of millions of people when they’re voted off.
3. Contestants making classic songs virtually unrecognizable. The judges are always saying the Idols should “make the songs [their] own.” Though we’ve gotten some pretty entertaining new spins on beloved songs — Blake Lewis’ beatboxed “You Give Love A Bad Name” and David Cook’s rock ballad turn of Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby” — most contestants fail at this because they’ve yet to discover who they are as performers. And then we get musical abominations like Naima Adedapo’s reggae regurgitation of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” and Todrick Hall’s transformation of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” into we-don’t-even-know-what.
2. Guest mentors who have no real advice to give. When we think of somebody who should be giving out advice, Miley Cyrus is not the first person who comes to mind. And please, we beg you, no more appearances by will.i.am, who basically lived at American Idol last season.
1. A non-threatening young man as the winner. We’re not saying a girl has to win American Idol Season 11, but enough of these by-the-numbers guys with yawn personalities. If the show is going to deliver its fifth male winner in a row, how about a heavily tattooed Hell’s Angels-riding leather daddy who plays the harp and sings Michael Buble songs better than Michael Buble? There’s gotta be someone like that out there in America!