The biggest talent show in the country, “American Idol,” has returned for its 11th season, and somehow manages to not feel completely stale. In recent years, contestants on “American Idol” have been allowed to play an instrument while they sing. As a musician, I think that “American Idol” could interest an even bigger audience by setting a higher bar for their contestants. Here is a look at how “American Idol” could broaden their talent pool and image as a serious talent competition by adding just a few simple rules.
Musicians with a Poetic Stride
Rather than singing pop songs that everyone knows, it would be interesting to see contestants perform their own songs. Plenty of folks can sing and dance along to popular songs, however it takes true talent to write your own songs and then perform the song for millions of viewers. Featuring musicians and performers that can perform their own songs may increase the show’s reputation as being a serious talent competition.
When I found out that “American Idol” were allowing contestants to play an instrument while they perform a few seasons ago, I was thrilled beyond belief. This opened the gates for serious musicians who not only sing, but play an instrument or two as well. It is my personal opinion that contestants that know how to play a musical instrument will fare better in the music industry, than a stand-alone singer would.
Lift the Age Limitation
Another thing that “American Idol” could do to broaden the talent pool is to lift the age limitation. Musical talent does not end once a person reaches their late ’20s. By lifting the age limitation, the competition would be blown wide open. Rather than seeing thousands of teens and young adults trying out, the competition would likely see many older Americans with considerable talent who thought their dream of becoming a famous singer were lost forever.
While “American Idol” is nowhere close to fizzling out, the producers can expand the show’s demand by instating a few simple rules. I see no reason why there should be an age limit on the competition. Additionally, contestants that write their own music or play their own instruments while singing beautifully would endear to serious musicians who formerly thought the show was nothing more than a glorified popularity contest.
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