Fox’s hit reality series ‘American Idol’ returns tonight for its 10th season. The show has enjoyed ruling network ratings for nine years. Last season, things were shaken up a bit as Paula Abdul left and popular talk show host Ellen DeGeneres joined the judging panel. Then sometimes blunt, sometimes crass, but always ever-knowledgeable Simon Cowell announced he was leaving the show at the end of season 9. America thrived on hearing and discussing Cowell’s opinions – and most of the time, as he loved to say, America agreed with him. Now in its 10th season, host Ryan Seacrest and veteran judge Randy Jackson remain the show’s only original anchors. Rock legend Steven Tyler and singer/dancer/actress Jennifer Lopez have signed on as judges. Flint area native LaKisha Jones received a lot of local support during her time on the show and she placed 4th on season 6. Flint area ‘American Idol’ viewers I have spoken with are divided in their thoughts about the show. Some feel it has slowly lost its appeal the last few years, and without Simon Cowell, it will be doomed. Others still believe in the show’s ability to make an unknown’s dream come true and think that Lopez and Tyler have a lot to add, given their background and iconic status in the music industry. Earlier this month, Seacrest and the 3 Idol judges appeared on ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ to discuss working together and the upcoming season.
Seacrest told Leno the new foursome gets along great. He said, ‘People should know from day 1 we just fit together. So it was great chemistry.’
Leno asked Lopez if she could be negative with someone and tell them no. Lopez said, ‘You have to find ways to really say it where they can hear you. (You) accentuate the positive, but at the same time be totally honest.’
She continued by describing someone with the ‘whole package’ by saying:
‘The whole package is a real artist. Someone who can really contribute to the music industry for a long time. Not somebody who’s gonna have 1 hit and then be gone. Somebody who has a point of view, has a message, has something to say and can say it through their music.’
‘I’m looking for somebody personally that’s not so contrived and put together, that’s like a Joplin that can really wail. (Someone) who doesn’t really care and is carefree and has that certain something you can’t put your finger on.’
Leno asked about any changes in the show, and all Seacrest offered, was ‘They’ve been talking about online voting.’
Tonight’s ratings will be a sure indication as to whether the fans have decided to roll with the new judges and a whole new season. One thing that won’t change, is some undoubtedly bad auditions as the panel hunts for more untapped hidden talent . And, for 1 virtually unknown person, the dream of becoming a star will ultimately come true.
‘American Idol’ airs in Flint on WSMH FOX66 tonight at 8 PM EST.