Following a year besotted with rumors of potential comings and goings at the “American Idol” judges’ table, fans and critics are awaiting the start of the tenth season of the FOX reality show when it hits the small screen in January 2011.
After months of speculation, the “American Idol” judging line-up was finally announced in September. Season 10 “American Idol” judges are Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler. FOX and “Idol” execs were highly criticized for the delay in making the official announcement, since it seemed obvious to most that Lopez and Tyler were selected, and in some cases vocal about it, weeks earlier.
What remains to be seen is how effective the new trio is when it comes to making or breaking the dreams of young “Idol” hopefuls. Most of the early rounds of auditions were completed prior to the judges’ selections, so viewers will notice a dramatic change in the early shows, during which weeks of footage provide a glimpse into the season’s competition. Only the Los Angeles auditions, which took place on November 4, 2010, included all of the new judges.
In past seasons, some of the best moments have come out of this early coverage (Kelly Clarkson trading places with Randy at the judges’ table, an angry contestant throwing water on Simon, and who can forget “Pants on the Ground”). It will be interesting to see how “American Idol” covers these initial auditions.
By the time coverage of the first round of auditions is complete, many viewers have already selected favorite contestants as they head into Hollywood Week.
“American Idol’s” Hollywood Week, during which 150 or so contestants perform several more times in front of the judges, individually and in groups, allows viewers to analyze the playing field further and narrow down favorites even more. It also provides a look at how the “Idol” hopefuls interact with the judges.
So, what should “Idol” fans expect to see in this season’s first few episodes? Past seasons have shown that the judges’ tastes can vary greatly when selecting which contestants will proceed to Hollywood Week and beyond. They see thousands of “Idol” hopefuls, selecting the chosen few to advance to the next round. This season the new judges will have to trust that whoever judged the initial rounds put through the cream of the crop.
Once Hollywood Week airs (typically in February), the new judging trio will be closely scrutinized to see how they work with each other and the contestants. Some predict ego troubles between Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Others feel Randy Jackson will try to fill Simon’s “ringleader” shoes as the only remaining original “American Idol” judge .
One thing is certain: Loyal fans who think they know the routine will have to wait anxiously with the rest of the world to see how “American Idol” Season 10 pans out. This is a “make it or break it” year for “Idol.” Last season’s faltering ratings have FOX execs watching closely to see if “American Idol” can return to the ratings powerhouse it once was.
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