The 2013 American Idol Live! Tour hasn't even begun, but it may already in serious trouble.
The tour was scheduled to launch June 29 in St. Louis (10th-place finalist Curtis Finch Jr.'s hometown), but now all dates scheduled before July 19 have been canceled. "Idol" fans in such tour stops as Tulsa, Kansas City, Detroit, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, and even the seemingly "Idol"-friendly tourist hub of Las Vegas better recheck their calendars...and revisit their point of purchase.
According to a statement on the website for St. Louis's Chaifetz Arena, the original kickoff venue for the tour: “Production rehearsals have been pushed by a couple of weeks which unfortunately affects some of the early dates on the tour itinerary....The ‘American Idol Live!’ tour now begins on July 19 in Kent, WA and ends in Nashville on August 31."
Additionally, a spokesperson for the tour gave the following statement to Yahoo!'s Reality Rocks: "Due to production scheduling changes, the 'American Idol' 2013 tour will now begin on July 19 and go through the summer until August 31. The Idols look forward to performing in 30 venues across the country." (The tour originally included 40 dates.)
The following 10 dates have been canceled, with no word if any of the dates (other than Rosemont) will be rescheduled:
June 29 - St. Louis, MO
June 30 - Kansas City, MO
July 2 - Minneapolis, MN
July 5 - Detroit, MI
July 6 - Rosemont, IL
July 8 - Tulsa, OK
July 10 - Broomfield, CO
July 12 - Las Vegas, NV
July 13 - Ontario, CA
July 14 - Oakland, CA
So, are production issues really to blame here, or is this a case of sluggish ticket sales?
And if it's the latter, are low sales for the tour just an extension of what was widely considered to be a disappointing "American Idol" season, or are they symptomatic of an ailing concert industry overall?
Well, probably a little of both. Of course, many non-"Idol"-affiliated concert tours have also struggled to fill seats in recent times; even the almighty Rolling Stones have faced difficulties this year, in this recession-stricken economy. However, it would be naive to look at Season 12's relatively low ratings, not to mention all the grumblings in the blogosphere about the show's supposed shark-jumping, and not come to the conclusion that underwhelming ticket sales may be the result of a generally underwhelming "Idol" season.
At the end of the day, for whatever reason, fewer viewers became emotionally invested in this season (if they watched at all), so it makes sense that fewer people would be willing to invest serious money to see this season's contestants perform live...even if the contestants, particularly the all-female top five, are very talented kids.
I feel pretty sorry for this year's "Idol" top 11 (the top 10, plus fan pick Aubrey Cleland), all of whom have probably dreamed all their lives of playing sold-out arenas. While history has proven that only a select few non-winning "Idol" finalists of any season go on to enjoy success once their respective tours are over, at least for one glorious summer they all get to feel like full-fledged pop superstars, playing to screaming capacity crowds of adoring thousands across the nation. Now, in some cities, the Season 12 contestants won't even get to do that.
Apparently "American Idol" should now be called "American Idle." This is definitely a cruel introduction to the troubled music biz for these young singers, so let's hope they're able to pursue music careers after the tour is over...especially since the tour may be over sooner than they expected.