Remember When People Loved ‘American Idol’?

There was a time when FOX’s American Idol laid a curse on any other TV show that shared a time slot with it. This was the curse of an ultimate crushing when it came to the ratings. But lately, American Idol is getting a taste of its own medicine. This week — even with Thursday’s reveal of its Top 10 performers — Idol tied its lowest audience numbers.

Thursday’s episode had nearly 13 million viewers, which isn’t a bad number for today’s TV landscape, but compare this to the numbers from a few seasons ago and it’s about half.

What has happened over the last few seasons to shrink the audience? Could it be the new panel of judges that are turning people off? The contestants? The other singing competitions now on TV? Or is it just another side affect of our increased DVD and online TV viewing?

Regardess, the show had a golden age. So, Celebuzz remembers 10 things about American Idol that once made it really great.

1. Simon Cowell, a standout judge: How could Simon Cowell not be No. 1? His brutally honest remarks made him the judge to watch out for. When he was on, he was ON. The magic seemed to have faded for Cowell on The X Factor. But, he was really amazing to watch over the years he was on Idol.

2. Paula Abdul, the unexpected: She was feeling emotions. She would cheer and she would cry, she would support. You never knew what to expect out of her, but that’s why you kept tuning in.

3. Simon and Paula’s relationship, the unpredictable chemistry: Two great things that were great together. Did they hate each other? Were they flirting? Is that sexual tension? This duo brought life and chaos to the judging panel.

4. Kelly Clarkson, a winner who moves us. The first winner of American Idol, ever. Her first single, “A Moment Like This,” was a song written for whomever became the winner of the show. Why don’t they do that anymore? To this day, we remember boo-hooing while she delivered her tear-filled victory performance of the song.

5. Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, a rivalry that enlivened the audience: The Season 2 finalists were battling a very close competition. And there was a lot of controversy surrounding the number of votes that led Studdard to the win.

6. Carrie Underwood, undeniably charming plus talent: Cowell predicted that “not only will [she] win this show, [she] will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner.” His prediction was correct, and still stands correct seven seasons later.

7. Sanjaya Malakar, when America took the judges on. He was a finalist on Season 6, but wasn’t particularly popular among the judges. The viewers loved him and kept voting for him, until he was eventually eliminated in seventh place. Ratings instantly dropped for the next episode. Now, that is called caring.

8. Ryan Seacrest and his blonde ambition: Sure, he’s a staple on the show now and a media mogul. But, back in the day he shared the stage with (and then later pushed off the stage) co-host Brian Dunkleman. We should have known of his ambition back then. Showgirls, anyone? Today, everyone has been complimenting Seacrest on his longer, darker locks, but how could we forget his blonde days? Que boring.

9. One of a kind. Let’s face it. With the entry of NBC’s The Voice and The X Factor, the audience may have just reached its limit for talent competitions. Thus, the novelty is gone.

10. William Hung, because he just didn’t know. Nowadays, we’re subjected to people looking to become famous and the season’s big viral success. William Hung just wanted to sing. He had no idea how bad he was, but his naive confidence stole our hearts. He was the likeable underdog and we rooted for him.

American Idol airs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 8PM on FOX.

Watch as Charlie Kemper gets roasted on Idol’s Top 20.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player