So Idol is over for another year, and for once I’m breathing a sigh of relief!

Unlike last years triumphant series which gave us Adam Lambert, Kris Allen and Alison Iraheta this year’s competition has been a rather pitiful affair – a year in which third rate singers like Tim Urban, Katie Stevens and Andrew Garcia made the Top 10, show themes bordered on the geriatric and America’s favorite comedienne replaced Paula Abdul – and added nothing to the judging panel…

I’ve already spoken extensively about my misgivings on this season – see my Fallen Idol piece (and here’s my take on the 10 Best Idol Singles ever) – but before Season 9 becomes a distant memory, and all is forgotten (if not forgiven), here are 15 of the key lessons we learned this season!

1)   Ryan Seacrest Has Too Much On His Plate. Between Idol, his radio shows, E! News commitments, red carpet duties and booming production company something had to give for Ryan… from dancing with former contestants during one of Tim’s songs, cruelly mocking his former co-host Brian Dunkleman and bizarre banter with Simon Cowell – it’s clearly time Ryan took a nice long rest.

2)   The Idol Producers Don’t Buy Much Music These Days. Frank Sinatra Week. Lennon and McCartney Week. Elvis Week. The Rolling Stones. Really? What – were the rights to Fleetwood Mac Week unavailable?

3)   Big Mike Auditioned For The Wrong Show. Those sausage arms and cheesy on stage antics belong elsewhere – how about Dance Your Ass Off? (oh come on – Season 9’s Mr Arrogant deserves it…)

4)   Ellen Really Adds Nothing To The Judging Panel. Sure she’s adorable, funny and clever – but Ellen’s lack of musical experience really hurt her critiques. I don’t want to hear that someone is still ‘great’, ‘adorable’ or ‘amazing’ after they just stank up the Idol stage.

5)   America Doesn’t Pay Enough Attention In The Semi Finals. How can Alex Lambert and Lily Scott be sent packing, when one trick pony, Andrew ‘Straight Up’ Garcia makes it to the Top 10? We may berate the judges – but these slip-ups were all our fault America…

6)   No One Buys Idol Albums Anymore. Exhibit A – Season 9 (the album). Sales to date – 12,000. Wow!

7)   Kara Dioguardi Really Upped Her Game. Who knows what happened between seasons 8 and 9  – but Kara 2.0 is sharp, to the point, incisive and most of the time, spot on. With Simon’s departure Kara is suddenly the judging panel’s MVP.

8 )   Personality Counts. Why is Kris Allen struggling when Adam Lambert is closing in on ¾ million US album sales, and has a hit single worldwide? Why is Jordin Sparks fading fast? And why did Ruben Studdard lose his record deal? Because being a star takes more than a good voice – you also need personality and charisma – and lots of it. Every time Adam speaks the sound bites come rolling out… think David Archuleta has much to say? Or that Katie Stevens was going to charm the record buying public… Exactly… Who’s today’s biggest music star? Lady Gaga. Enough said…

9)   Randy Needs New Material – Fast. Booing Simon in the opening introductions, ‘pitchy’, ‘It was just alright for me’, ‘a million, bazillion percent yes’, ‘from me to you’… can someone please get Randy some new critiques ahead of next season…

10)  No One Uses The Idol Stage Anymore. Man, I miss the days when instruments were forbidden on the Idol stage. Okay – not really – but after weeks and weeks of dull performances with frightened performers cowering behind their guitars (yes Casey and Lee – that means you) maybe it’s time for a No Instrument Week once in a while.

11)  Many Of Today’s Stars Wouldn’t Make It Past The First Round Of Auditions. Rihanna, Ke$ha, Diddy, Usher, Lady Gaga – one train wreck performance after another with some truly horrible vocals. Only former Idols delivered on the Idol stage this year – Kris Allen, David Cook, Adam again… what does this tell us…!

12)  Backstory Is Boring. I don’t care if you lived in your car, why your parents divorce is so hard or how pregnant your wife is. I just want you to be able to sing really, really well, light up a stage, and have a personality. Thanks.

13)  No One On The Idol Staff Has A Watch. How else to explain all the frustrating Season 9 over-runs – that screwed with the voting lines for DVR fans and ruined many a Glee recording. Please don’t tell me the show is live and it just happens – I’ve produced hours and hours of live TV myself. It’s sloppy producing pure and simple. This is Season 9 remember…

14)  Guest Judges Were A Really Bad Idea. For all of us who criticized Paula over the years, let us remember Joe Jonas (can he speak?), Victoria Beckham (um it’s a singing contest not Top Model) and Avril Lavigne (revolting). Paula may have been loopy – but she was always entertaining.

15)                  Simon Is Idol. And I really don’t know if the show can survive without him… we’ll find out in 7 months time…

So what did you think of Season 9? What lessons do you think we should add to the above list? And will you be back for a Simon less Season 10… start weighing in…