American Idol is arguably the singing competition show that started the trend of many. But there is only one that is seen as the true successor of the reality show. That would be The Voice and although the first is on its way out, there is still the question of which one is more popular? The answer may not be as simple as you’d think.
American Idol has been able to stay on top and stay on air for 15 seasons. However the ratings have been on the decline with new competition, loss of their original judges, and possibly the shtick getting old. At its height the show brought in 37.4 million viewers in season six. During then Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, and more started their super stardom. The judges and the show itself also became inescapable through parodies on MadTV, Saturday Night Live, and more. Now the show has fallen down to 8.92 million and is still beating shows like Survivor and Arrow. The Voice on the other hand is experiencing its rise.
On March 29 the show brought in 11.10 million viewers making it number one in the time slot, and one of the most popular shows on TV. Although that’s relatively good for today’s shows it’s nowhere near close to what American Idol was able to bring in. Also another area where The Voice loses is that it hasn’t been able to churn out successful artists like its predecessor has.
Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, an award that people who have been in the business for years haven’t been able to do. Jordin Sparks, Katharine McPhee, and more have become household names along with achieving many awards. The show’s viewership may have declined but its legacy will probably last much longer given all of the artists it has been able to give pop culture. Most of the winners and contestants of The Voice have been having conflicts with their record labels and haven’t reached anywhere close to American Idol success. Even the judges can’t ignore this fault in their show.
“The Voice is very successful,” Adam Levine told Rolling Stone “but it’s got a ways to go if it wants to have as profound an impact as Idol. I’m not going to lie to you: I think there are problems… Millions of people watch the show every week and fall in love with a singer, then you don’t hear much from them.”
The ones you are able to hear from afterwards through a single or full album also have a hard time. For example season 2’s winner Jermaine Paul’s cover of “I Believe I Can Fly” debuted at 83 on the U.S. Billboard 100. The ones who did have success are in niche genres like country and reggae, making them less known to the rest of music lovers.
So to answer the question of which singing show is more popular, the answer is definitely American Idol. Although the show is leaving television and has fallen behind The Voice in ratings it will have a lasting presence in pop culture that the newer show may never reach. Also since the newer show hasn’t reached the height of popularity like American Idol it’s very possible it will have a much shorter life span. America’s most beloved show might be gone soon, but it probably won’t be forgotten.