American Idol Live! Is the Last Refuge of Idol Superfans

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Name as many of these people as you can.
American Idol Live!, coming to Comerica Theatre next week, is a testament to how much smaller American Idol gets every year as a cultural institution.

Don't get me wrong -- it's still big. Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips' debut single is still impossible to avoid if you are or have ever been inside a grocery store. But how many of the finalists from this year's show can you name? How many of the judges can you name?

At the show's peak, being a runner-up was its own kind of pop stardom. Even Clay Aiken, one of the least obvious stars of the past decade, didn't actually have to win to pick up a radio hit, the astonishingly creepy "Invisible":

That kind of pop culture pull made Idol Live!, the concert tour featuring each season's finalists, a big deal in itself. The Top 10 were all possible stars, with their own hyper-devoted Idol fiefdoms.

This year, in a finale watched by just 14 million fans, Candice Glover -- she's the winner, the first in years who isn't a gravelly voiced guy with an acoustic guitar -- beat Kree Harrison. Glover's first album won't come out for a few months, but her debut single peaked at 93 on the Hot 100.

For all that, though -- for all the indications that its demographic is narrowing, and with it the appeal of the people who get voted into pseudo-stardom -- it's still around and still, if I had to guess, making a ton of money.

American Idol began life as one of the most ubiquitous shows in decades, an anomaly in a TV (and music) landscape increasingly dominated by finding niches to appeal to and then exploiting them.

Now it's become its own niche.

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Comerica Theatre

400 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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1 comments
wragged
wragged

Clay is still in the top 4 stars to emerge from Idol. His 6 albums and 7 million in sales can't be denied even if this writer longs to be cool by bashing Clay. It is long past cool to be a bully to Clay. Move along now.

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