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New AMERICAN IDOL Judges Impress, Season 10 Off To Promising Start

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New AMERICAN IDOL Judges Impress, Season 10 Off To Promising Start

American Idol Season 10

Photo : FOX

Entering its tenth season, AMERICAL IDOL was looking to recover from an underwhelming Season 9 and underwent a fairly major overhaul in hopes to reinvigorate the series. The new judges have already won over a lot of folks but will the other changes be just as effective?

  By : TAMARA BROOKS

Entering its tenth season, AMERICAL IDOL was looking to recover from an underwhelming Season 9 and underwent a fairly major overhaul in hopes to reinvigorate the series. The new judges have already won over a lot of folks but will the other changes be just as effective?

The departure of Simon Cowell left many wondering if the show could flourish without him, the black heart and soul of the series. With three hours of show aired, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have already made themselves comfortable behind the judges’ table. Tyler’s style is a curious mix of bluntness, insight, and Paula Abdul-reminiscent positivity. He takes over as Randy Jackson’s partner in occasional appreciation of some of the female contestants’ looks (though he’s expressive more often than Randy and Simon put together). He also has a tendency to sing along with contestants which will probably be the career highlight for most of these brave/misguided souls. And then there’s J.Lo.

The word that dominated the Twittersphere about Lopez: “stunning.” While most were referring to how gorgeous she looked (the word “glittery” also popped up many times), it also applies to how well she’s doing. Lopez is the “lead” judge and has been warm, funny, incredibly tolerant and kind during the bad contestants shenanigans, and prone to sticking to the bright side even when saying no.

American Idol Season 10

Photo : FOX

Honestly, I tired of Simon trying so hard to insult the contestants and I’m glad to have two actual performers on the panel. Tyler is a genuine rock legend with a great voice and fantastic stage presence and, say what you will about J.lo’s singing voice, the lady knows how to work a stage and glam up a video. Between the two of them, I expect a lot of actual, practical, constructive advice once the performance episodes start.

Now, let’s talk about some of the other big changes they’ve made. With the exception of lowering the youngest auditioning age to 15-years-old, the “cattle call” rounds are basically the same if for no other reason to initiate the newbies (though I’m sure they’d rather swallow live goldfish than listen to some of the train wrecks they let into the room). They have, however, added an extra qualification round. The Hollywood portion will yield 60 contestants who’ll be cut to 40 in Las Vegas. From those 40, the Top 20 will be chosen and the audience will determine ten finalists with the judges selecting the final two to complete the Top 12. I think the strategy here is to not only ensure the best and brightest make it to the Top 20 but that they’re more comfortable performing under intense pressure. One extra week/round of prep can be huge and hopefully that means we’ll have a super-strong talent pool when all is said and done.

Perhaps the two most significant format changes revolve around song selection and the mentoring process. While the contestants will still have the restrictions of Theme Nights, they’ll be able to stick to their personal genres. That means Rockers won’t have to “try” R&B and Country singers won’t have to contain their twang. In another first, they’ll also have the option to sing original material though it’s unclear whether these will be tracks specifically chosen for AI or songs written by the contestants. I’m guessing it’s the former, not just because they’ll be releasing singles as the season goes on but because of the stellar mentoring/music team they have set up.

Since Universal Music Group is IDOL’s new label partner, the Top 12 will get the privilege of working with some of the biggest names in the industry. Interscope/Geffen/A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine will be the primary “in-house mentor.” If you don’t know him, he’s helped the careers of artists ranging from Stevie Nicks and U2 to No Doubt and Lady Gaga. Also on board are A&R legend Ron Fair (Christina Aguilera, Keyshia Cole, Lady Gaga, and U2 among others) and super producers Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins (Britney Spears, Michael Jackson, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, etc.), Timbaland (everyone from Madonna and Chris Cornell to Justin Timberlake and Missy Elliott) , and Alex da Kid (Nicki Minaj, Diddy Dirty Money, B.O.B.). They’ll be working with the contestants to help customize their songs every week which is HUGE. These guys are responsible for more hits than a kid who’s mastered Whack-A-Mole.

So would it be safe to say I’m actually kinda excited for IDOL Season 10? Yes. Because I am and you should be too. The series was definitely slumping and needed a boost. It’ll at least be interesting to see how these tweaks will turn out and frankly it can’t be any drearier than Season 9.

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