Just in time for the new season of Idol, here comes Chris Daughtry to bite the hand that fed him. He tells Rolling Stone he thinks the show is in a slump, and judging by the ratings for last night’s premiere (the lowest-rated Idol kickoff in four years, according to TV Week), he may be right. Meanwhile, this article in the Boston Globe implies that nearly two thirds of the six dozen finalists in the show’s history have dropped out of showbiz. Add these dissenting voices to the news that Katharine McPhee, Taylor Hicks, and Ruben Studdard have been dropped from their major label deals, and it seems fair to ask if American Idol is losing its starmaking power.

Or is it? Low-rated for Idol (33.2 million viewers last night) is still huge for any other show. And as for the alumni success rate, one out of three finalists becoming established stars (of widely varying prominence and career success, to be sure) isn’t a bad batting average, is it?

PopWatchers, do you think Idol is losing its ability to mint new stars, or is it still doing just fine, thank you? And did anything you saw on last night’s show sway your opinion?

addCredit(“Chris Daughtry: John Parra/”)