My thoughts on the "Daughtry Rule" on American Idol

by Jason Hughes, posted Mar 13th 2009 2:00PM
Chris DaughtryI know they're not calling it the "Daughtry Rule" but come on! Who are we kidding here? If every you needed proof that the votes on American Idol aren't fixed, just look at how they've responded to Season 5. Almost every effort has been made to minimize winner Taylor Hicks' involvement with the show, other than begrudgingly admitting he won the title. And as for Chris Daughtry, they've practically given him the honorary title of "your Fifth American Idol!" They sure would like to take all the credit for his album and success since the show.

It took them a few years to figure out how to make sure this never happens again, and the new rule is it. One time in a season the judges can save an eliminated contestant from America's vote. Instead no one goes home, and two go the next week. I think the idea is solid, but the execution creates more emotional chaos with each eliminated contestant. Now you can get your heart broken by Ryan, raise your hopes again with your performance and then get dashed again by the judges. Two, count them, two shattered dreams in each show!

Plus it makes the judges look like dicks when they tell someone "No." They should make the decision before the results are read and have Ryan just announce it all at once. Of course, there is a benefit from the double-dreams-dashing we have now. Contestants won't be singing their song on the verge of tears as they imagine their inevitable path to oblivion. Instead they can sing as if their lives depended on it (because they do), hoping against hope that they're the next Chris Daughtry in the judge's eyes.

Next, they need to come up with a rule where the judges can force someone home who's long outstayed their welcome. They can call that one the "Sanjaya Rule."

What do you think of the "Daughtry Rule"?
I love it149 (26.3%)
It seems mean the way they do it105 (18.6%)
I'm on the fence for now106 (18.7%)
They shouldn't be able to overrule America's votes139 (24.6%)
What rule? Who's Daughtry? Where am I?67 (11.8%)

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I think they'll find this new rule is a mistake, it actually will hurt the show, and they will eventually abandon it. Don't they get it? Part of the fun and suspense of AI is wondering who will prematurely get the shaft, undeserved. A big part of AI's stand alone success has always been built on empowering the AUDIENCE to be the SOLE deciders of who stays, and who goes - not the judges.

As it is, while it may seem charitable to give a contestant a second chance to perform and hang on for dear life, all the while the judges are rudely and insensitively talking amongst themselves, not even paying attention, just to have one of the them surface say, "Sorry, dude", (and might as well add, "we weren't even listening, and it really wouldn't matter even if we were"). Talk about adding insult to's a pointless exercise in humiliation. And to make matters worse, they're given no choice but to be trapped into the repetition of singing the same song, and arrangement that the judges hated to begin with. What possible chance do they have to genuinely change these judges' minds under such confining circumstances?

March 14 2009 at 4:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The night of Jennifer Hudson's final American Idol appearance there was a huge thunderstorm that took out utilities to numerous homes in the Midwest. Jennifer Hudson is a Chicago girl and of course many Chicagoans wanted Jennifer to go all the way. We were unable to vote. We were powerless.

March 13 2009 at 11:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

You're right about the execution of the new rule, Jason. It's horrible for us and the contestants the way they're doing it. They should simply throw the Save trump card right after the person is eliminated, maybe after a commercial break, and really pimp it out with lights and balloons since it's a once-a-season occurrence. The way they're doing it now is cruel and excruciating to endure.

March 13 2009 at 10:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why can't the judges just be happy with picking the top 12 oops! I mean the top 13? We already have to deal with them infleuncing America and thus the votes, now they can just choose to throw the results out. Winning American Idol does not make you a star. It takes talent, likeability and EXPOSURE, and the ladder is something that the show gives in droves. It doesn't matter if someone goes home " prematurally " if stardom is in their future then just being on the show should be enough.

March 13 2009 at 10:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I could probably get a little wordy too, but I won't. I do agree with Theme Nights. There are too many artists that litterly "own" their songs. To do so would be at the contestants risk. There are just some songs that need to be left alone.
As for Paula, take the "personal" emotions out of the equation of constructive/positive comments. It's just getting old after 7 seasons.

March 13 2009 at 6:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with most of your points but Idol has no interest in fairness or a single vote model. They love to claim they received 30,40, 50 million votes in a week. They don't want the public to know that 80% or so of those votes came from a rabid subset smaller than a million individuals.

March 13 2009 at 5:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If anything, this is the Sanjaya Rule, created to keep Sanjayas from staying in the competition over legitimately talented singers.

March 13 2009 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'll respond to every point you made...
1. Instead of this, just do it like Dancing with the Stars does and have a vote limit per #. I wouldn't register to vote, but I've voted for a few people since my GF started making me watch this show.

2. I actually thought they already had that rule. If you make the top 10, you can't release a studio album that's not Idol related for one year.

3. 12 is a lot, as I think the four judges are enough as it is. But I do like the idea of people unrelated to the show that are just knowledgable record industry people having a say in the process.

4. It would be cool, but I bet there'd be a ton of technical issues every week as a result.

5. Definitely...but some winners have no creativity, like Jordin Sparks.

6. I think it should be ALL original songs, but not just by the singers, but by aspiring songwriters too, and let the singers choose!

7. Definitely. MJ Night was painful. And they couldn't have butchered The Beatles any more than they did last year...

8. Group numbers are always cheesy and just plain awful.

9. Even worse are the fake interviews that lead to the Ford Commercial.

10. Paula is useless. The worst thing for me is how she dances during can you be a judge and do that?

March 13 2009 at 4:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is a dumb rule that only hinders the game. Let's assume that they do use their save one week (which seems a given, since every season there is a "shocking" elimination). One of two things will happen: either the person saved will just go home next week (since now he has to go from lowest to third lowest, escaping the bottom two), or else if it's late enough in the season that person will go on to win the thing, basically making it look like the fix is in and that's the person the judges chose.

Speaking of which, I'm really hoping that one of the choses ones (Danny, Adam, and the girl whose name I forget with the red hair) start saying "Um, Paula, could you please stop saying I'm a shoe in to go straight to the finals? I'd like people to actually vote for me and not have to be the one that gets saved. And by the way didn't you tell like 5 of us that you'll see us in the finals?"

March 13 2009 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's actually the "Michael Johns" Rule. Ryan kept his hopes up last season that maybe because of Idol Gives Back he might not be eliminated but he did anyways.

Or this could be the "Tamyra Gray" rule but she got booted at 4th place so I guess it's not her rule.

So I guess in one episode this season the judges would say to the viewers: F your votes!

March 13 2009 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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