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5 Drastic Changes We Hope to See on the New ‘American Idol’

"American Idol"
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

American Idol is coming back, but it’s gonna have to shake things up if it wants to win over skeptical viewers.

The longtime Fox property is packing up and heading to ABC in 2018. The pioneering reality competition was the pre-eminent music show for years before it grew stale, amidst a rotating panel of judges and fans who flocked over to NBC’s The Voice.

It’s often hard to duplicate the magic that made something so special the first time around, so Idol is going to have to think outside the box if it is to become the ratings juggernaut and pop culture phenomenon it once was.

To that end, here are some changes we think the show should make.

1. You must be the lowest vote getter in consecutive episodes before you’re kicked off. 

Finishing last in any one given week doesn’t seem fair. If you finished last in the rope climb in gym class, you weren’t kicked out of gym, were you? Maybe it’s time to modify the elimination process. Adapt the ol’ “it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon” logic and perhaps award points during the course of the season, so if you build up enough you can’t get booted for having one bad week. Being bad in “Motown week” isn’t necessarily fair to a singer who tends to go country. Have a heart and understand that one week does not a bad performer make.

Bo Bice, Ryan Seacrest, Carrie Underwood
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

2. Contestants have to perform at least one song they wrote on their own.

Let’s find a well-rounded performer, shall we? Let talent rise to the top by filtering out the wannabes who may not have the all-around game prized by audiences and industry types alike.

Lee DeWyze
Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

3. Take digs at The Voice.

Nothing generates buzz quite like a feud. Original Idol sweetheart Kelly Clarkson defected to NBC’s hit. New Idol judge Katy Perry knows a thing or two (or three or four) about having bad blood (and not just with Taylor Swift, either). Why not capitalize on it and let viewers indulge in the rivalry? Trash talking by the judges adds a new level of drama not seen on this show before.

Carson Daly, Adam Levine, CeeLo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton
Joe Scarnici, Getty Images

4. Get a lesser-known contestant who didn’t win to be a judge.

The pile of names of Idol losers stands higher than the garbage bag in your kitchen that needs to be changed. Paula Abdul was a largely forgotten name when she signed on to be a judge way back when and that worked out pretty well. This could happen again with someone who has ties to the show. And it doesn’t have to be a star like Kellie Pickler, Katherine McPhee or Chris Daughtry, either. Ace Young, Blake Lewis, Crystal Bowersox are not huge stars, but they know the drill and would bring a wealth of knowledge to the job. Better yet: why not have an online contest where fans vote for one of these alums to be the judge? What a great way to build interest before the show even airs.

Blake Lewis
Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

Stop the choreographed numbers.

It’s long been a staple to see the contestants singing and dancing like they’ve been dropped into some combination of a talent contest and Broadway show. Yes, it adds entertainment value, but, at the end of the day, American Idol is a show on the hunt to crown a great artist. Seeing 12 hopefuls parade around a Ford truck that’s been strategically placed to be on the stage because of a sponsorship deal can feel forced and doesn’t really let you see a singer as a solo performer. And in the end isn’t the point of American Idol to find a great solo performer?

Camile Velasco, Jasmine Trias, Diana DeGarmo, La Toya London
Frank Micelotta, Getty Images

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