Idol Chatter

It’s no secret that this season of “American Idol” didn’t pull in the usual numbers the ratings juggernaut usually does. I chalked it up to the judges and America putting through some mediocre talent and the lack of star-quality amongst the contestants. According to Gary McCullough, however, the drop in viewership had nothing to do with the quality of the wanna-be Idols, but a certain quality of new Judge Ellen DeGeneres: her “lesbian activism.”
Referring specifically to DeGeneres’ humorous quip that “Yes, I have loved a woman,” following Casey James and Michael Lynch’s rendition of Bryan Adam’s “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?”, and obliquely to other comments made throughout the season, McCullough, the director of Christian Newswire, asserts in a recent op-ed that such politically charged comments drive away “a significant market share of parents and teens who used to watch the show together, until mom and dad decided that the subtle promotion of an ‘alternate lifestyle’ to their kids was not worth the entertainment trade off.”
Apparently the joking references to host Ryan Seacrest being gay or intimations that Ryan and Simon Cowell are lovers, flung far and wide during the last few seasons, aren’t promotions of an “alternate lifestyle” or offensive to those looking to AI for “wholesome entertainment.” Nor was the Liberace-like flamboyance of last season’s runner-up, Adam Lambert–who danced the don’t-ask-don’t-tell tango until after the finale–the reason for AI’s decline, even though season eight’s finale was the lowest rated at the time. And McCullough must not recall that Will Young, the very first Idol, the winner of Britain’s “Pop Idol” which brought forth “American Idol,” came out soon after his win. Or openly gay season one AI contestant Jim Verraros.
No, the decline, in McCullogh’s mind directly correlates with Ellen being a “lesbian activist.”

Perhaps there’s no umbrage taken at the back-and-forth gay banter between the host and judges because Seacrest and Cowell are both straight. And perhaps Lambert staying mum about his preferences, until he kissed a boy on stage and he liked it, kept the show family-friendly, as defined by McCullogh. But, “Idol” has not just simply, or recently, jumped on the “pro-homosexuality bender” that McCullough claims network television is engaged in at “this moment in entertainment history.”
There are many reasons why a show loses its heat and “American Idol’s” popularity may simply be naturally waning. But the fact of the matter is that even though this season’s finale was the lowest in AI history, it still walloped the competition, pulling in 11.4 million more viewers than the second place show.
Why do you think “American Idol’s” ratings have dropped?

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