This new season, which debuted on Tuesday, is down 10 percent as compared to the same time last season, according to Nielsen Media Research, but industry experts told ABCNEWS.com that in years past viewership has increased once the "real" competition starts and the auditions are over.
"I think if they made it clear that these people had professional opportunities, but it didn't work out for them," viewers wouldn't be so angry, said Johnston, who said she considered anyone who has been signed to a label a "professional." "I mean it's America. People like second chances, they don't like being lied to."
Idol fan and Chicagoan Becca Leftwich, 22, said that she's watched almost all the "Idol' seasons and was unhappy to hear that some of the talent this season isn't as "real" as the show makes it seem.
"I'd like to think that if I were to go on the show, I'd have the same opportunity as these people -- that I'd have a real chance," Leftwich told ABCNEWS.com. "I thought everyone was right off the street."
"I think the show is really entertaining regardless, which is what it's meant to be, so it doesn't change my feelings about watching it," said Leftwich. "But I do think it's kind of weird they'd have pre-signed people on the show."
And while she isn't pleased about the extent of experience some of the contestants reportedly have, Leftwich said she'll keep watching as long as the talented contestants remain fairly unknown, and no mainstream (and recognizable) performers appear onstage in the coming weeks.
Boston-area "Idol" fan and blogger MJ Santilli told ABCNEWS.com that she actually enjoys watching the contestants who have more experience.
"I think those contestants can be pretty entertaining -- more so than those who end up onstage looking like a deer in the headlights," said Santilli.
Santilli said she wasn't angry when she found out about hopefuls like Hennessey, "and it actually cracked me up -- she seemed pretty ordinary," said Santilli. "After all the buzz, she didn't seem like a big deal."
"They build people up, and oftentimes they're not that great," Santilli said.