The winner of the American Song Contest won a magnificent show flop – the reality is blurred

American song contest has been a TV appointment in my house for the past seven weeks. At 8 p.m. on Monday – or a little later to allow for a fast forward – it’s on, and we’re having fun watching and talking about it, from the first episode to tonight’s finale, which revealed the winner.

American song contest has enormous talent, both in front of and behind the camera. I love her so much better than american idoland it’s way better than NBC’s America’s Got Talentwhich just got excruciating to watch.

The final continued this feeling of pleasure, with great performances and 20 minutes of results that reflected Eurovision in the best way.

Watching those rankings change was fascinating and tense, and then thrilling when the American votes actually overturned the jury results, which was particularly satisfying to me.

When the jury votes were announced and then the state totals were added up, I was almost screaming at the TV and so thrilled that Oklahoma’s AleXa finally won.

Alexa from Oklahoma performs "Wonderland" during the grand finale of the American Song Contest
Oklahoma’s AleXa performs “Wonderland” at the American Song Contest Grand Finals. (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)

American song contest was hosted and directed by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg, who deserve Emmys for their unassuming and perfectly calibrated interaction. They throw a light party having fun themselves.

Is it you? It’s me? It’s them!

While the time-wasting tracks would normally irritate me, I really enjoyed the Snoop and Kelly tracks. Same their catches are charming! My husband and I are eagerly awaiting the halftime report, which was the height of silliness in the series.

But a singing contest doesn’t work without good music, and American song contest certainly delivered that too.

A show with all the original songs is a wonderful complement to all the bad karaoke America has suffered over the years, thanks to singing competitions.

Singers are all accomplished, but in different ways and at different levels.

With the exception of Michael Bolton (whom I joked about but who makes me very, very worriedespecially during the finale), all of the other celebrity acts – Macy Gray, Jewel, Sisqó – were eliminated.

The staging of their performances is generally strong, and there’s a wide variety of music, from soulful ballads (“Sparrow” by Jordan Smith, “Beautiful World” by Bolton”) to ridiculous nonsense (“New Boot Goofin'” by Ryan Charles, “Million Dollar Smoothie”) to catchy songs (“Wonderland” by AleXa, “Mr. Independent” by Grant Knoche).

Several of his songs are now in heavy rotation (“LOKO”; “Mr. Independent”; “Train”) on my reading list.

Texas' Grant Knoche plays
Grant Knoche from Texas performs “Mr. Independent” during the semi-final of the American Song Contest. (Photo by Trae Patton/NBC)

All shows, especially live ones, can take a while to settle in, but it was pretty solid early on, and I liked it from the start.

Still, I enjoyed how it changed from week to week.

For example, exactly how the votes were calculated remained opaque, and the finale delivered an animated segment with “Professor Snoop” explaining how the big final vote worked out.

Overall I think American song contest has been one of the highlights of reality TV this year so far. So why did so few people watch?

Mistakes of the American Song Contest

American Song Contest logo, as seen in an NBC commercial for its version of Eurovision
The American Song Contest logo, as seen in an NBC commercial for its version of Eurovision.

Short: American song contest was a ratings disaster.

The best thing that happened with the ratings is that, after losing about half of its viewership from week one to week three, his live notes have remained stable.

But on entering a distant fourth place in his time slot is not a victory, and it is nothing gained in DVR viewing.

What went so wrong?

I was the guest of The EuroWhat? Podcastthe last episode to talk American song contest, and Ben, Mike and I discussed this a lot in depth. (It’s currently on their Patreon stream but will soon be in the main stream.)

But here’s what I think I might have hurt American song contest.

Its generic name

I understand that he uses the name of the Eurovision Song Contest.

But “American” ≠ “Eurovision”.

And American song contest looks like a store brand american idol.

Its scheduling

Versus american idol? Why divide the audience for live singing competitions?

Postpone the first due to COVID issues, it was the responsible choice for a show with a live audience, but that didn’t help the show, as it couldn’t be screened outside of the Winter Olympics . But I also doubt that a premiere in February would have made it a big hit, especially because the wind of the Winter Olympics was a sweet fart at best.

Why was American song contest spread over seven weeks, with nothing happening between each episode? The Eurovision semi-finals and final all take place in the same week.

I think that’s the kind of show that should have aired in December, over a week or two, like NBC’s Singing. Create momentum. The weekly episodes just didn’t do that.

(On the podcast, Mike and Ben talked more about the lineup than Eurovision itself, and how it basically overlapped with the Eurovision season, and not in a helpful way.)

state against state

I understand why it was impossible for NBC to replicate Eurovision with state-based contests sending their winners to American song contest. So the producers cast people instead.

I think they’ve generally done a great job of selecting actors from every state and territory, providing a range of artists and music from all genres.

They didn’t just echo state stereotypes either. After all, a K-pop singer from Oklahoma won. And my state, Florida, was represented by a Latin pop artist, not a sweaty, sunburned, COVID-infected troglodyte wearing a DeSantis hat and screaming mah free-dum! while demanding that the rights of others be taken away.

In the end, I can’t remember who’s in what state, and I don’t care either. And I don’t know if statehood in America translates to voting on reality TV.

The Jury

I understand American song contest was modeled on Eurovisionbut giving immediate power to the jury (they voted based on dress rehearsal footage, which is why we saw their results immediately) was boring.

If you really think you have to balance the public vote, why have a public vote?

To its credit, ASC brought in a member of the jury to humanize them. But they remained largely faceless people who continued to vote (as a group) for the most generic music I couldn’t stand. And since they didn’t exactly taste like me, I’m done with them!

What also didn’t help was the lack of clarity on how the voting works mathematically, at least not until the final. Fortunately, this took away some of the power of the jury by grouping it into regions, instead of giving each member of the jury the same power as the votes of an entire state.

Still, I wanted to scream every time another region voted for Washington. So boring, jury!

Will there be a season 2 of the American Song Contest?

I’m not sure solving all or even all of these things would change American song contest into a reality TV sensation.

Hopefully it gets a second season, ideally condensed into more than one event.

But I realize that hope is a fantasy, and the odds of it coming back get closer to zero with each subsequent episode.

Then again, the broadcast networks are just pushing a panic button these days, so maybe a show with low ratings would be a safer bet than something new. Then again, maybe that’s what NBC was thinking when they tried to bring Eurovision to the United States.

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