“You know a talent show is bad when people talk about the judges and not the contestants,” my father quipped when a news anchor reported a breaking update in the Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey feud. His assertion about the new season of popular FOX singing competition, “American Idol,” was spot on, and the proof is in the ratings. The show returned on Wednesday with its least-watched and lowest-rated premiere ever.

For months, the machine behind “American Idol” allegedly force fed news about tension between two of its most popular judges, Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj. Many saw the narrative as a desperate attempt to drum up interest and increase ratings. A video showing the two embroiled in a nasty cat fight hit the Internet followed by a series of press appearances in which tempers flared and accusations were made on both sides.

But, alas all the alleged instigating on the part of the producers was to no avail. The premiere of “American Idol” delivered 17.9 million viewers, down 19 percent from last year’s opener which previously held the title for lowest-rated premiere.

Many attribute the dip in ratings to the manufactured drama, saying they would rather see talented contestants with potential for superstardom than catty bickering between judges. But I’d argue that the allure of “American Idol” waned long before. I became disillusioned with the show after I realized most top “Idol” winners have a slim chance of becoming a success by music industry standards.

What are your thoughts, Clutchettes and Gents? Will you tune into “American Idol” this season?

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