Wednesday night American Idol debut their new judges lineup and kicked off their 10th season. Simon Cowell is gone, as well as Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres, but the later two will hardly be missed. The real question hanging over the Idol franchise is whether the departure of Cowell is their “jump the shark” moment or an opportunity to refresh and revitalize the suddenly moribund franchise.
Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are the new Idol judges and both struggled with the requirement to dash the dreams of the musically challenged. It was in many respects a kinder, gentler Idol. The number of freak-shows highlighted was way down, and minus Cowell the caustic comments were nearly non-existent.
With no breakout stars having won for several seasons the Idol franchise will rebound or continue its slide based on the quality of the contestants, not the new judges. Producers seem to realize this and have indicated that contestants (thankfully) will get far fewer opportunities to play instruments this season. Last season proved how dull a night full of guitar strumming can be.
Hopefully this season the focus will be on high quality voices, and lots of them.
What do you think? Are you hopeful for an Idol rebound or are you resigned to more of the same?