Tuesday and Wednesday nights just aren't the same this year.
"American Idol," the pop culture phenomenon, is fizzling, sputtering and has lost its way.
Season 6 was doomed from the outset when Idol execs put an emphasis on sub-par talent and freak shows over true potential. Blame William Hung. Blame the stratospheric ratings. Blame the water cooler banter that focuses on the miserable singers rather than the rising stars.
The Sanjaya drama shifted the emphasis from singing to vaudeville. And while no one will argue that the "Idol Gives Back" concept is a terrific, generous gesture, it's not the reason I invest a few hours in "American Idol" each week.
I watch Idol to be entertained, not to cry.
"Idol Gives Back" is a worthy concept. Just keep it separate from the show. Do an hour lead-in but don't blend in people dying with the results.
Season 1 was unique, a brand new show with compelling content that introduced America to Kelly Clarkson. Season 2 gave us the Clay Aiken-Ruben Studdard competition (which Aiken should have won).
Season 3 was the battle of the divas and gave us Fantasia and Jennifer Hudson. Season 4 gave us Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood. And Season 5 launched Chris Daughtry's career, despite his fourth-place finish.
So what do we have in Season 6? Yeah, there are a few good singers, but with the possible exception of Melinda Doolittle, we've seen better.
Blake Lewis is no Chris Daughtry. Or Clay Aiken. Or Bo Bice for that matter. The male talent in Season 6 is the weakest in six seasons. And this was the sorriest Top 10 to date. The Idol Summer Tour? You revved up to see Sanjaya and Hot Legs Haley Scarnato?
Something is just not right about Season 6.
Those sour notes we've been hearing are not just the wannabes on the Idol stage. It's Fonzie's motorboat rumbling.