The once-stratospheric ratings for "American Idol" hit an all-time low this week — down 27 percent from last season's average — the latest indication that America's erstwhile favorite show may be dying. A year after the effortlessly provocative Adam Lambert had conservative viewers in a knot, this year's contestants are inducing snores. Has "Idol" reached its nadir? (Watch this season's finalists perform a Frank Sinatra tribute)

The show's 15 minutes are up: It was the beginning of the end when Abdul left, says Dawn Olsen at Technorati. Obviously, show executives misjudged the special chemistry between the judges, and Simon Cowell's imminent departure is "the final nail in the coffin." "It's like trying to replace Hugh Hefner at Playboy — it's just not going to work." With Cowell's "X-Factor" hitting airwaves soon, the producers should end the "journey" now, while they can "go out like a lion, rather than a lamb."
"Is 'American Idol' nearing the end? Audience numbers lowest ever"

Maybe "Idol"'s just in a temporary rut: Not so fast, says Bill Carter at The New York Times' Media Decoder blog. While "Idol"'s clearly hit a snag, we can attribute the ratings drop at least partially to the beginning of daylight savings time, which keeps people out and away from their televisions during "Idol"'s 8 p.m. time slot. And the show is directly competing with newer, more novel shows, all vying for audience eyes during the "most competitive hour in television."
"Another low night for 'Idol'"

Wake me up when it's over: "Sigh," says Jamie Poniewozik at Time, is this season over yet? Even presumptive winner, bluesy, dread-locked mom Crystal Bowersox "was a dull as lint this week, and while it looks like Lee DeWyze can give her real competition... it was not particularly out of any growth on his part." Even the supposedly tense contestants seem unmoved by the show's tired machinations. "The only solution would be to send a surge of electricity through the stage floor."
"Idol Watch: When Harry met 'Idol'"