Today is the debut of the latest season of the ratings juggernaut, American Idol. It is the first season without Paula Abdul, but unfortunately it is also the last season with Simon Cowell. He will debut his own show next year, The X-Factor, to rival his soon to be former show, A.I. But the arguably bright sida to all this is the debut of Ellen DeGeneres as the new 4th judge on the panel. All this movement has left me a bit disinterested in the whole franchise. For such a big fan, I am strangely not very excited about the start of the new season. Maybe all the judge drama has overshadowed what the show is truly about: discovering new talent. Hopefully once I see the new batch of wannabes, it’ll get me excited all over again.
With Cowell leaving, does this usher in the impending demise of American Idol? If they get anyone less than “spectacularly better” than Simon Cowell, they can start counting down to the end. They need a main anchor who will keep the show from drifting into irrelevancy. No matter how big the star, if he or she can’t match Cowell, then it’s an exercise in futility. I really hope they weather through this. I remember a time when the only 3 shows I watched on TV were Survivor, The Amazing Race, and American Idol. So it’s a sentimental favorite.
So let’s see, will it be another nail-biter season ala Kris-vs-Adam or will it be a so-so snoozefest ala Taylor-vs-Katherine? Will it produce another unqualified star like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, or will the winner fizzle out like Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard? I just hope it turns out engaging like the past 2 seasons. It would be a shame if we lose a guilty pleasure as irresistible as American Idol.