According to Gail Berman, head of Fox’s entertainment division, ratings for American Idol are expected to be lower this season (Reuters via Yahoo! News [no longer available]).

Berman says this is a natural consequence of the show’s age—it being in the fourth season and all. I say, bull.

American Idol will have lower ratings this year (if, in fact, it does) for one simple reason: The voting system is flawed, and mediocre/annoying singers excel while the great ones are kicked off early. People like me are tired of watching something so antithetical to reality.

Cases-in-point:

  • Ruben, who was good, beat Clay, who was much better. Ruben’s win was the first major sign that something was amiss in the American Idol universe.
  • That Fantasia even made it into the top 10 last season is proof enough; that she ultimately won is nothing short of reprehensible. We’ve already had one Macy Gray, enough already.
  • George Huff and La Toya London were kicked off early in the last season, despite being—hands-down—the two best singers in the competition.
  • The other men in last season’s top 10—John Stevens and John Peter Lewis—didn’t deserve to be there at all, but inexplicably lasted longer than notably better contestants.

I might watch American Idol now-and-then this season, but I’m not going to invest any emotion or effort or time into it if the producers cannot develop a voting system that is fair and keeps the good contestants in the game. Fantasia? Come on now, be serious.