‘American Idol’ at TCA: ‘This is the show that produces stars’

From left: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest return for the 11th season of “American Idol,” premiering Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. on Fox.

“American Idol” was first on the reality singing competition scene, and its judges and producers don’t want you — or any of those similar shows — to forget it.

“‘Idol’ is still the best TV show of its kind anywhere,” judge Randy Jackson said while promoting Season 11 at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif., on Sunday. “We are the original. We kind of invented this whole game that everybody is now copying.”

Jackson was referring in large part to “The X Factor,” the vocal competition former “Idol” judge Simon Cowell brought to Fox (and then enlisted fellow “Idol” alum Paula Abdul to join him). Before its premiere, Cowell boasted that “The X Factor” would topple “Idol” from its perch as the most-watched series in America. In reality, it drew about half the audience of “Idol.”

Why the lopsided success? “This is the show that produces the stars,” says “Idol” executive producer Ken Warwick. “There’s no other series … over the years that has produced anything like the number of stars that we have. There’s no Kelly Clarksons, Carrie Underwoods, Jennifer Hudsons.”

Warwick took a further jab at “The X Factor” by saying one winner of the British version, Leona Lewis, was only a “one and a half hit star for 10 minutes.” Jackson saved even harsher words for the contestants of “The Voice,” which proved to be a hit for NBC over the summer, by calling them “second chance people” since the 2011 winner, Javier Colon, had a failed contract with Capitol Records before appearing on the contest. Adding to the forced animosity, Jackson made this comparison: “We will definitely never ever rip off ‘Star Trek’ like ‘The Voice’ did with spinning chairs. We won’t do that,” he said.

But not everyone associated with “Idol” views the crowded field of singing competitions as a bad thing. “It’s a more competitive marketplace, but in the end competition is good,” said “Idol” executive producer Cecile Frot Coutaz. “It means you have to raise your game. You have to be better.” In that spirit, “Idol” will change the format for this season, but only slightly, featuring performance challenges that include a song from the late 1950s and a round stripping songs down to one voice, one instrument.

That still might not be enough for the show to sustain its unbeatable track record. “I expect ‘Idol’ will be down [in ratings] this season,” Kevin Reilly, Fox President of Entertainment, said, “but mostly due to the fact it’s going to be an 11 year old show. It’s going to be a natural life cycle for that show.”

While it remains on the air, however, everyone involved with “Idol” intends to maintain “the gold standard,” as Mike Darnell, Fox’s President of Alternative Entertainment, called it. “Right now everybody chases this show. And we don’t concern ourselves with that,” he said. “We just have to do the best show we can.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…