"[Idol 6's Top 10 finalists are] not a compelling group of acts. There was no must-see live performer and not a lot of diversity," former Daily Variety music editor Don Waller toldUSA Today in a report published Wednesday. "I don't think people were that enthused. It was, 'Oh, here's the Idol tour again.' It was bad casting."
Idol 6's Top 10 -- winner Jordin Sparks and runner-up Blake Lewis, as well as fellow finalists Melinda Doolittle, Lakisha Jones, Phil Stacey, Chris Richardson, Sanjaya Malakar, Haley Scarnato, Gina Glocksen and Chris Sligh -- are all participating in the tour, which began July 6 in Sunrise, FL and comes to a close September 22 in Manchester, NH.
Thirty of the 57 shows scheduled for the tour have already occurred, and according to USA Today, attendance reports and gross receipts are not living up to the standard set by concert performances featuring other former Idol finalists in recent years.
"There are always intangibles that motivate people to see something live, and maybe there was something about last year's tour that people wanted to see versus the acts this year," Gary Bongiovanni, editor of touring trade publication and website Pollstar, told USA Today.
According to USA Today none of the first 30 shows were sellouts and only one bested the 93% capacity mark, the July 18 stop in Sparks' hometown of Glendale, AZ. Those numbers don't look good -- especially when compared with the first 30 shows of Idol's fifth-season tour last year, which had 17 sellouts and 10 exceed the aforementioned capacity mark, according to USA Today.
In addition, 14 of the first 30 shows this year were below 60% capacity compared to the lowest-capacity figure from the first 30 shows last year, roughly 89%, according to USA Today.
However a lackluster cast apparently isn't the only thing that might be keeping Idol home viewers at home and away from the tour. Current ticket prices average $60.45 -- a 13% increase over last year's price of $53.27, according to USA Today, which added the average price for the Idol fourth-season tour in 2005 was $44.47.
"Percentage-wise, that is a pretty healthy jump in the average ticket price," Bongiovanni told USA Today. "In the first six months of the year, the average price for the Top 100 touring acts had only gone up 50 cents. Maybe the ticket price was creeping up a little too high for that audience."