Holy moley. Where to even begin with this year? I’m basically in agreement with this blog post at votefortheworst. Let me illustrate why.
In the prior 10 seasons one—only one—out of sixty two auditions episodes had no semi-finalists shown (season 6, episode 1). This year had four. Four whole episodes where not a single semi-finalist was shown. Out of seven. So more than half.
Not that the producers can totally be blamed: the Aspen and St Louis auditions both produced no semi-finalists. San Diego produced 2, but neither was shown. For illustration purposes, let’s plot the fraction of semifinalist auditions shown by year:
This year has the single lowest percentage shown in the entire history, and only about half of the percentage of any season in the modern history (since Season 3).
Given how lousy the rate was for some of the cities, this year was perfect for a “Best of the Rest” show, which was done in seasons 3, 6, 7, and 9. Time could have also been better spent in Houston, where only 2 semifinalists out of 5 were shown.
But thank goodness we got to see nearly 4 minutes of Ben Purdom auditioning even though he had a stuffy nose. He didn’t get through, by the way.
Look: the audition rounds are always the worst part of the show (with the group rounds coming in a close second and the Top 2 performances third). But this year? At least in past years the bad auditions were sometimes funny. There was no William Hung, no Pants on the Ground. No person who looked like they would suck but actually were quite competent. The only moment that was even so-so was Phillip Phillips’ acoustic rendition of Thriller, though after countless cross-genre acoustic covers even that seemed old.
Well, at least this season can’t get any worse. Right?