American Idol - Does Season Two Have A Chance?by Linda Dougherty -- 12/16/2002
We're just weeks away from the second installment of American Idol. The promos have begun and are picking up in frequency on a day-to-day basis. With the onslaught of advertisements, does AI2 have a chance of becoming a bigger hit then season one or is it destined to suffer the same fate of the follow-up Survivor runs?
Sure, Survivor still draws an audience, but nothing like the first show and although I never watched any of the series, I can remember the incredible buzz about the first Survivor. Much like this summer's American Idol, it was the topic of water-cooler conversations. Entertainment news programs, talk shows and radio DJs dedicated large segments to the first Survivor as they did with American Idol. But hype dwindled with each new program of Survivor. There's an occasional mention on the radio or TV, but nothing like that first season. None of the contestants have ever received the media attention that the first group got.
You may be reading this and thinking… shouldn't I be more worried about getting my Christmas shopping done then the fate of AI2? Well, yes to that, but since I've decided everyone is getting either an American Idol CD or DVD this year, that's pretty much taken care of, so I have time to ponder.
Was the phenomenon of the first Survivor because, like American Idol, it was shown in the summertime when there isn't really any other programming, while all follow-up Survivor shows have run during the regular season vying for media attention with the other programs? Or is it that there is a constant comparison of all the other Survivor contestants to the contestants on the first series, and does this mean that the future Idol contestants will also be compared to the top ten from the first American Idol?
Can there possibly be others with the talent and loveable personality of Kelly Clarkson to steal our hearts? Or the charisma and charm of Justin Guarini? Or the professionalism and talent of Tamyra Gray? The smile of RJ Helton? The beauty of Christina Christian? The attitude and spunk of Nikki McKibbin? And if so, is that the destiny of group two… to constantly be compared to the first Idols? Can the voters from season one really get behind a new Idol or will their allegiance always be to their first favorite? Will they feel disloyal by embracing a new Idol? By allowing the public to make the decision with their votes, has American Idol opened itself up to voting problems in the new season? Will people be able to separate the old from the new or will it feel like, if we vote for someone else it takes away from our original vote? Will it feel somehow like we are changing our minds?
Does the January premiere stand a chance competing with all the other network programs? American Idol takes some dedication in terms of viewership. You must watch the performances, make your selections and then watch the results on the following evening. Will people want to miss their other favorite programs to watch all the performances, to spend the time on the phone voting, to watch the results? Could it be that the summertime was the reason that American Idol drew the audience that it did? Nothing else to watch, right?
Perhaps though, the attention of the first AI will have a positive impact on viewership. New people will want to be involved in the voting process from the start. People will want to see if anyone can match or surpass the talent of their first favorite. Maybe the voting factor alone is enough to draw or at least sustain the previous audience. We shall know soon enough and it will be most interesting to see how the second season does. I'm sure the producers at Fox are just as anxious to know if they have a second hit on their hands.
I for one am just anxious to see a new Idol crowned. I am looking forward to seeing the words, "Former American Idol", when reading about Kelly Clarkson. "Former" will imply that she has moved on with her career. I will be happy to see that happen for her. Yes, there are many titles in the music industry, and some artists never escape them, Justin and Brittany are still referred to as "Former Mouseketeers," J-Lo as a "Former Fly-Girl," and that's all fine and good because the public knows that they have moved on and continued a career, hence the "Former" when the references are made. So the crowning of a new American Idol should only help to further propel Kelly into her own solo career.
And finally, for the Kelly fans out there, I saw Kelly perform at Madison Square Garden on the 12th. She appeared at Z100's Jingle Ball 2002. There to see the Wonder Boy, John Mayer, I was not even aware she was going to be there until we got to the show. I was delighted that she was at this event! I almost shouted out a "WooHoo" when I looked at the program! Yes, she was introduced as the American Idol and yes, she sang the songs from American Idol, but she looks like she's ready to move on. Performing in the company of Justin Timberlake, John Mayer, Destiny's Child, Avril Lavigne, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Nelly, and Kylie Minogue, she seemed just as comfortable as the seasoned veterans, sounded fantastic, and received enthusiastic applause from a crowd that certainly contained large numbers unfamiliar with American Idol. So regardless of the fate of the future American Idol - The Search For A Superstar, the first one, and soon to be "Former" American Idol, is well on her way to superstardom! And to that end I say, "WooHoo!"
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