American Idol returned to Fox TV in its 10th season with two new judges, both famous singers in their own rights; Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. Randy Jackson, the voice of reason of the show, returned as the judge even for the latest season. Does this mean that American Idol has entered a new gentler more ‘professional’ phase in its latest season?
Was Simon missed? As Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe has been suggesting the show will be less caustic without Cowell, he recently told Emmy Magazine, If you like people being mean to people, you'll miss it.
We do not think so. The curiosity factor took over for most part and Jennifer and Steve Tyler were sure-footed, glamorous and hit the right note of professional kindness. Randy moved to Simon’s chair but avoided the mean mantle, he continued to be his staid, honest self.
The show was showing a steady slide in ratings over the past few years. There was a 9 per cent drop reported in 2010. Peter Rice, Fox chairman said in an interview if we can get to the end of our 10th season in transition with new casting and get anywhere close to being the No. 1 (network) again among younger viewers, that would be a tremendous achievement.
In the New Jersey auditions, the judges did not falter much. The usual mix of eye candy, bizarre and some talent and heart wrenching stories were there. Jennifer clearly did not like saying no but was firm and kind about it. She even cried at one point and Tyler joined in but his were tears of joy for the performance.
Jennifer and Tyler are infusing the show with much needed Pop and Rock and Roll glamour. Hopefully, their musical ear will be able to zero in on more memorable talent than that of last few years.
Critics felt that Simon’s brand of judging was grating and the glamour, irreverent kooky quotient that Paula Abdul brought in was totally absent. Kara DioGuardi's two seasons were adequate, Ellen Degeneres was clearly not the right fit for the show and gracefully exited sighting the same reason.
However, American Idol, in its 10th season, may need more than an infusion of new and fresh judging talent and quotient to up the ante. Take a look at all the winners of the previous seasons- Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, and Lee DeWyze – only four of the contestants have made it big time. Whether this a good track record or not the viewers have to decide.