Is ‘American Idol’ past its peak?


The fevered response to the latest loopy Paula Abdul episode, where she judged a phantom performance, just goes to show how "American Idol" continues to dominate television in its seventh season.

Yet while "Idol" is still a hit, it's no longer necessarily hip.

You can hear it in the lack of enthusiasm in 14-year-old Katharine Bohrs' voice.

"Last year I was really into it, and the year before that," said the high school freshman from Brookline, Massachusetts. "This year in the beginning I was, but then track started up and I have a lot of homework. It's two hours long and I don't have the time."

She used to watch regularly with a friend. Now her friend records it and watches only occasionally, Bohrs said.

Statistics back up the anecdote. Audience declines for "American Idol" are steepest among youthful viewers, the people who set the pop culture agenda and are most likely to buy music made by the show's winners. These are not the people you want to turn off.

(The Associated Press)

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