American Idol. The so-so show with an over-the-top app.


AMERICAN IDOL: Logo 2009. CR: FOX

I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I haven’t watched American Idol for years.

After 11 years of auditions, Hollywood highs and elimination lows, the show has lost whatever modicum of appeal it once held.

When Simon left, I knew the honeymoon was over.

No amount of judge musical chairs, worst-of reels or Nicki Minaj artificial booty bumps could change my mind.

Nevertheless, millions still tune in each season, making AI one of the highest rated shows on TV.

This year marks the twelfth season for the franchise.

The season’s highlights include a highly publicized cat fight between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, the return of a four judge panel and the American Idol app.

That’s right.

American Idol has an app.

American idol apps

And if you’re a fan of the show, you’re in luck.

The app launched in January (to coincide with the new season, I suppose).

They’re up to version 1.4, so they’ve been putting in work.

FYI – American Idol went all in, making it the most feature-filled app I’ve ever seen.

Literally.

Hands down.

Don’t believe me?

Check it.

The menu alone has 19 different menu items, excluding the Live Sync and Setting options.

Have you ever seen so many options?

Have you ever seen so many options?

They include Vote, AT&T Fan Choice, Idol VIP Sweeps, News, Video, Photos, etc.

With all these options, they’ve got the nerve to have a section called “Idol Extras” below the fold.

Extras?

American Idol has clearly never heard the expression “enough is enough” because they pour it on.

And not necessarily in a good way.

If you go to the home page, you’re presented with a layout that reminds me of the Windows Mobile UI with all those damn tiles.

Scary.

The main banner on the home page includes a countdown clock counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the next show airs.

American Idol App

Underneath that are a repeating series of four grouped thumbnails, which let users navigate to different sections of the app.

An ad appears between each group of thumbnails peddling AT&T, contests and sweepstakes, and various AI branding and marketing messages.

There are feeds to the judges and contestants’ social media profiles, videos, and links to artist websites.

Keith Urban’s Light the Fuse Tour features prominently on the home page (judges need some artist love too!).

One of the more controversial elements of season twelve is the change in voting.

Where you used to be able to place votes one at a time for your favorite artist over the phone, online and via text, you can now place 50 votes at once through the app.

50 votes!

You can divy up those vote however you please for whomever you please.

vote for your favorite idol

The app does a good job of helping fans to manage this new power.

Last night, I didn’t actually watch the show, but I did watch the Top 8 Perform Recap video in the app.

It took forever to load – I had to quit the app and restart before I could actually watch it.

But I digress.

I placed my fifty votes and found the vote counter very useful for keeping track of how many votes I had placed and how many I had left.

The main landing pages of American Idol’s app feel like a Tumblr blog, with simple navigation.

Touch an image and it opens.

Simple.

But for all the content they’ve got, some pages seem like they were just thrown in with no rhyme or reason.

They lack the design sensibility and UI logic of the main pages.

The AT&T Fan Choice option for example, opens up a page of promotional offers that are clearly pulled straight from the web.

The content is resized to fit inside a mobile wrapper, but someone clearly didn’t think about how making lilliputian pages would impact the text and the navigation.

There are a bunch of other pages and features that I won’t get into, because I found the app exhausting.

My biggest peeves with many apps, including this one, is that they do too much.

When it comes to apps, less is more.

Unless you’ve got ADD.

I’d rather see an app do a few things really well, then a butt load of things so-so.

And while the Voting feature is crown jewel of the American Idol app, it doesn’t save it from being a hot mess.

At the end of the day, if you’re reeeaaaallllyyyy into Idol (and you have ADD), then I’m sure you’re love the app.

Everyone else, not so much.

American Idol had the right idea, but (unfortunately for we non-American Idol fans) their execution leaves much to be desired.

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Filed under apps, mobile, reality tv

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