The Next Season of American Idol

The Next Season of American Idol

Potential hits and misses.

American Idol is getting pretty elderly rounding its season 11 bend. Grandpa’s still doing pretty well for himself, though, and has held the top spot Nielsen ratings for seven seasons, claiming the record over shows that were actually good. Ratings aside, any television show worth its salt knows that tried-and-true isn’t going to cut it—they need to have a few tricks up their sleeves. So here’s what’s cooking fresh on American Idol this season:

  1. Producer Nigel Lythgoe sicked his puppy Jennifer Lopez on the press to announce that the judges are going to be “tougher” this season. Yikes, Jenny from the Block, I bet those contestants are shaking in their boots. You’re looking mighty menacing with your big smile next to that white vase of flowers there.
  2. It is still not the same show as The X-Factor. The X-Factor seems to be exactly the show as American Idol, complete with the whacked-out lights and smarmy, gay-ish host. They even have old judges Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell.
  3. The show’s commercial tells us that this season will be touchy-feely, in a happy way. In the commercial, Randy Jackson seduces a guitarist in the park with his eyes, Jennifer Lopez draws a crowd in a snuggly white dress and Steven Tyler asks a garage band to join him on a walk across country. All accompanied by a song that features the lyrics “Together we can fly!” Seems rather anathema to number one on my list, but what do I know? 
  4. Genre singers can stay in their category of expertise. Last season, the show allowed singers to sing in their preferred styles, regardless of the theme of the night. According to Lythgoe, that means “You can take a Michael Jackson song and turn it country.” A hard rock version of “Puff the Magic Dragon”? The way the song was meant to be sung.
  5. Ellen is no longer on the show. I don’t know how Ellen did it really. She had her own show and was all over the world and in every paparazzi rag, and still had time to judge the show. I know she’s a good dancer and all, but all of the judges besides her seem to have a more intimate musical knowledge. I’m glad she won’t be judging this season.
  6. Judge Steven Tyler fell in his hotel room in Paraguay, knocking out several of his teeth. This season, we’re on the edges of our seats to see if Tyler becomes a spokesperson for the toothless, and what “genre of expertise” his mouth sans teeth can produce.