How to Recover American Idol - The UpStream

How to Recover American Idol

posted Sunday Aug 1, 2010 by Scott Ertz

How to Recover American Idol

The country's top-rated program for somewhere near 100 years now is on the brink of collapse. Simon Cowell has left the show so he can go back to having a career and recently rehired executive producer, Nigel Lythgoe, has fired Ellen Degenres and Kara DioGuardi, leaving the series with Randy Jackson.

Jennifer Lopez has officially been picked to replace Ellen and Kara (they are bringing the team back to 3, not 4) and rumors in the industry seem to point to an incredibly odd replacement for Simon: Steven Tyler. Yes, you read that right. JLo and Aerosmith combining to form a partnership even stranger than the Super Bowl halftime show where Aerosmith and N*Sync performed with Brittany Spears.

So, this has me thinking - is there a way for Fox to salvage American Idol?

I never really liked Idol but I have always understood what made the show successful. It had nothing to do with the talentless hacks performing on stage, it was all about the talentless hacks sitting at the table. You had a great combination of styles combined to form relevance. Simon Cowell was the bitter jerk. While his comments always came across as crass, they were almost always accurate. Paula Abdul was motherly and nurturing, making the contestants feel better about how bad they were. Randy Jackson was realistic, although sometimes unintelligible.

As the panel changed, so did the show. Subsequent sets of judges have lost the mesh that the original 3 had and this past season illustrated it more than any other. While Ellen is a very funny individual, she was always conservative with her comments, partially because she didn't want to offend anyone and partially because she was uncomfortable being there because of her lack of a music background. Kara seems to have no measurable personality at all, so her input was mostly unheard and unimportant.

For Idol to get itself back to where it once was, the producers are going to have to think long and hard about who they bring in to replace people, especially taking Simon's chair. They need someone who is willing to say exactly what they think without regard for the contestant's feelings. The female lead will need to have almost all compassion and the ability to tell you that you suck and you walk away happy she said it. JLo might be the right person for that role, but I don't know about Steven Tyler. Maybe someone more like Howard Stern or Bill Maher.

What do you think? Is there any chance of saving Idol or is it all over for the series? On a personal note, I would like to express my shock about just how much I had to say about American Idol.


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