1. Cast the best singers. Quit casting the show for "variety." It's clear that some people are on this season because of their looks and their back story. You could tell this was going to be an issue when the judges kept talking about kids have the "whole package" when they auditioned.
2. Take the guitars away! Trust me, I'm queen of loving a simple guitar vocal, but it just doesn't work on Idol. Too many contestants are hiding behind their guitars. And honestly, they don't play well enough to play for themselves when they're trying to give their best vocal performance.
3. Get Simon back. The truth is people tuned in to see what Simon would say. The contestants really only listened to what Simon said. If you can't get Simon back, replace Simon with someone equally as demanding. I thought Harry Connick could be that guy, and maybe he still could be if they let him.
4. Abandon the schtick. The things you're doing to pre-cede each performance. The week the finalists "auditioned" as each other was painfully bad. Show what's going on with their coaching and mentoring and how they're getting prepared to perform.
5. Get a producer or A&R person on the judging panel. Three artists as judges is hurting. You're getting one point of view, sort of like having only three writers judge a songwriting competition instead of getting a publisher into the mix.
I could go on, but five is a nice number, so I'll stop here.
Am I wrong? What do you think? Can Idol be saved?