“American Idol” used to be an Emmy favorite, but it’s been two years now since the former reality TV juggernaut received a golden ticket to TV’s top honors.
The show was nominated for Best Reality-Competition Series in each the first nine years of that category’s existence. But then two years ago it vanished from the race, replaced by hip, young newcomer “The Voice.”
This season, “Idol’s” judging panel went through a major overhaul in the hopes of a fresh start: Goodbye Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj and hello again to returning judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez as well as newcomer Harry Connick Jr. New executive producer Per Blankens gave the show a much-needed facelift focusing more on good singers and less on trainwrecks. And six-time Emmy also-ran Ryan Seacrest returned as host with renewed energy.
However, even with all these changes, this long-running reality stalwart faces an uphill climb when it comes to being nominated again at the Emmys as Best Reality-Competition Series.
Because no past nominee has ever been snubbed and then returned to this top reality race. Once a show is dropped from the category — like “The Apprentice” being fired in 2006 or “Survivor” being voted off in 2007 — it can never muster up enough support to re-enter the Emmy competition.
But thanks to increased appreciation from fans and favorable reviews from critics, “American Idol’s” currently-airing thirteenth season may just have enough support to buck this trend and make Emmy history.
Of the new season, Matt Roush (TV Guide) wrote, “Can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed the audition episodes this much.” He went on to praise the show’s new judge Connick, “Creatively and for entertainment value, [he] is the best thing to happen to ‘Idol’ in quite some time.”
And Michael Slezak (TV Line) agreed, gushing, “It’s no secret that neophyte ‘American Idol’ judge Harry Connick Jr. created more good will with viewers in a week than Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj managed in an entire season — combined — during last year’s bad-vibes spectacular.”
Throughout its first 12 seasons, “Idol” reaped a whopping 64 Emmy nominations, with eight technical wins to its credit. It has yet to claim either of the two top prizes: Best Reality-Competition Series and Best Reality Host.
Do you think “American Idol’s” thirteenth season can make Emmy history by re-entering the Best Reality-Competition Series race? Sound off in the comments section below!