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Is American Idol coming to an end?

Just now, it has been reported that Enrique Iglesias is being offered to judge the next season of American Idol. With Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler declining to return as judges, Enrique joins the list of other music artists are slated to form an all-new panel of judges for the reality-singing show.  Other artists offered were R & B sensation Nicki Minaj and country music singer Keith Urban. While it has yet to be made official, if the three agree, they will join Mariah Carey to be the quartet of judges for American Idol Season 12.

And yet with a new set of judges and original judge Randy Jackson shifting to become more of a mentor, there are some speculations about the upcoming season of American Idol. Is this the last season? Will the reality singing show that started it all finally be closing curtains?

The reception of last season’s American Idol was still excellent. It enjoyed very high TV ratings, and the 132 million votes during the finale between Jessica Sanchez and Philip Phillips was a new record. However, the problem seems to lie not with the show but with the kind of singers produced by the show. Of course, what happens to the music careers of American Idol winners can’t possibly be blamed on the show. Still, if a grand winner of American Idol doesn’t make it big on the music scene, the show will surely take a hit.

Looking back on the past winners of American Idol, who among them had the best career? Based on music sales, no other Idol winner has sold more records than first-ever winner Kelly Clarkson who has sold more than 23 million records worldwide. Kelly Clarkson’s finale song “A Moment Like This” also started the trend of the American Idol finale; whoever performs the best finale song is sure to be crowned the winner.

After Kelly Clarkson, the next successful American Idol winner would have to be Carrie Underwood. The victory of Carrie during Season 4 of American Idol said to have started the influx of country music into the show. While American Idol still is associated mostly with pop music, country music has really made a great influence. The no. of contestants belonging to the country music genre really spiked from then on. Aside from Carrie Underwood, notable winners belonging to the country music genre are Season 5 winner Taylor Hicks, Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina, and recent winner Phillip Phillips.

But after Carrie, most of the success of American Idol winners seems to have waned. Noticeable is the lackluster sales of America Idol finale songs which before were eagerly anticipated by music lovers. The last great American Idol finale song is David Cook’s “ The Time of My Life” from Season 7 which is the best selling American Idol coronation song to date.

After David Cook, none of the subsequent American Idol winners released finale songs that have made any impact. The finale song of Kris Allen and Adam Lambert “No Boundaries” didn’t even reach Gold status. There was no new song composed during the American Idol Season 9 finale between Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox. While Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina enjoyed relative success as country music singers in the US, they have yet to make some serious noise in the music scene.

Some of American Idol’s declining popularity can be attributed to the departure of original Idol judge Simon Cowell. Simon was a huge factor in the success of American Idol because of the animosity he caused to the fans as the show’s toughest judge and critic. It is worth theorizing that the huge success enjoyed by rival reality singing show “The X-Factor” can be credited to Simon. The X-Factor has developed into a serious contender against American Idol. Another reality singing show rising up to challenge American Idol is The Voice, which features judges Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine.

With both The X-Factor and The Voice returning for a new season, American Idol is facing a lot of pressure from both fans and critics. Will the next big music artist of America  be discovered in American Idol Season 12? Or will we simply have another one-hit wonder winner?

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