Settle down, folks. If not as though a pair of Simon Cowell clones were leaving the show.
Yikes, Simon Cowell clones. Now there’s a frightening thought.
Seriously, when I heard the news that Jennifer and Steven were leaving, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed.
Now, I didn’t dance a jig like I would have if Idol announced Randy Jackson’s departure. (Long overdue, folks. Long overdue.)
But as a viewer, I’m just not going to miss Jennifer or Steven very much.
As judges, they were not very good. They were much better at using the show to market themselves than they were at judging anything.
Which brings me back to the doom and gloom. Folks are being awfully quick to predict the decline of a show that’s still a cash cow for FOX.
Fact: American Idol lost 23 percent of its audience last season and was still the most-watched show of its kind and the second highest rated show after Sunday Night Football. Get that — it still outdrew The Voice and The X Factor.
Fact: Jennifer Lopez says she’s leaving because she has so much else to do. Hmm. Here’s betting she didn’t have nearly so many career options before she became a judge on American Idol. To say the show reinvigorated her career would be a gross understatement. It made her a star again.
Fact: Steven Tyler is returning to his first love, rock and roll. Translation: He’ll be touring with Aerosmith. Here’s betting the demand for Aerosmith tickets is a whole lot higher than it would have been if the aging rocker hadn’t spent two years on Idol, where he was introduced to a new generation of potential fans.
Fact: That track record should help the show attract high-profile new judges who will entice viewers to watch the start of Season 12 the same way Jennifer and Steven did back when they made their judging debuts in Season 10.
Fact: If Idol can find high-profile, opinionated judges, this offers the show another chance to set itself apart of the competition. Because there’s very little judging going on over at The X Factor of The Voice. Lots of bickering between judges, perhaps. But very little judging of the type Simon delivered in his Idol heyday or Jimmy Iovine provided on results shows during Idol Season 11.
Fact: Idol still has the best format of the singing show competitions, one that keeps the focus on the contestants, partly because the judges don’t serve the dual role of judges and mentors. And, ultimately, it’s the contestants who keep viewers coming back week after week.
The only reason I see for doom and gloom is the fact that the show has been here before.
And the track record for picking new judges hasn’t been great.
Kara DioGuardi. Ellen DeGeneres. Steven and Jennifer.
Four strikes and you’re out?
OK, maybe Steven and Jennifer were more like foul balls than a swing and a miss.
This time, Idol needs to get it right.
If it doesn’t, then we can talk doom and gloom.