Aus Idol Is Kinda Flopping & Here’s Why It’s Not Working In Today’s Reality-Rich Climate

Australian Idol Bad Ratings

The Australian Idol revival has been back on our screens for a while now. But sadly for the nostalgic talent show, it hasn’t been the touchdown-worthy return that they expected. For the real fans, that’s an OG judge Mark Holden reference. Miss you, king.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Channel Seven will be saying bye-bye to three of the six remaining contestants in one go to add some much needed spice to the show before next week’s finale. This caused some viewers to suspect that maybe Seven were using this twist to finish the season early due to lacklustre ratings.

After reaching out to Seven for comment, a spokesperson has denied that the last-minute twist had anything to do with shortening Australian Idol’s intended run.

“Seven commissioned 21 episodes of Australian Idol last year. Episode 20 airs tonight with our grand finale next Sunday, 26 March,” a Seven spokesperson told PEDESTRIAN. 

“Any suggestion that the season has been cut short is wildly inaccurate.”

Welp there you have it. But now that Idol is on the home stretch, it got me thinking.

Idol‘s return has been a buzzy topic since it was announced in 2020. And, as production was halted because of COVID, the hype only continued to build until it premiered in January 2023. But sadly, despite the excitement for the show’s return after 14 years, the ratings have been consistently lacklustre.

Maybe it’s because they decided to bring back problematic shock-jock and professional yucky man Kyle Sandilands as one of the judges, despite the fact he was fired from the series back in 2009 for asking an absolutely fucked sexual question to a 14-year-old on his radio show. Or maybe, just maybe, the complete lack of diversity within the permanent judging panel.

According to Media Week, Sunday night’s episode saw an audience of 467,000 tune in to the show. While those numbers aren’t anything to sniff at, Idol consistently lands in third or fourth place when up against other reality show bangers like Married At First Sight, which pulls in almost double the audience.

It’s a pretty rough cop for Channel Seven but I reckon it says a lot about the changing landscape of reality television in Australia over the last 14 years.

Since Australian Idol last graced our screens, talent and reality shows have developed and progressed faster than my chest did in year eight.

Reality shows are no longer the only way to become an overnight sensation, with up-and-coming talent almost expected to have a following on social media before they’re even considered for casting on modern day reality shows.

Plus, it seems that audiences crave more in their after-work viewing than another wholesome singing competition. Despite the throwback factor, Idol in today’s reality show climate lacks a certain something-something. There’s no blind audition, the contestants aren’t forced to live in a mansion together or do elimination challenges.

It’s ~only~ about the singing. And while that was hitting the spot for us in the early 2000s, now the simplicity of that formula just isn’t working.

Australian Idol is only further proof that while audiences are quick to tweet that they crave reality shows about love, talent and wholesome underdog success, the numbers just don’t back that up.

Let’s face it. We’re messy people who crave drama, spice and dirty secrets. And no matter how much Kyle argues with fellow judge Harry Connick Jr. Australian Idol just can’t provide that.