With the most vicious judge on television, Simon Cowell, off “American Idol,” the singing competition moves into its 10th season with a new panel and new method for finding a music star.
Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler join Randy Jackson at the judges’ table this year, the most significant change in a season that also includes a time-slot shift (performance shows will air on Wednesdays; results shows on Thursdays), new challenges for contestants (one of which is a Beatles-themed elimination round in Las Vegas) and online voting. But it’s the addition of Lopez and Tyler that will draw the most curiosity.
“I think they bring more of a critique rather than just, ‘Pack your suitcase. You’re going home,’” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said of the revamped cast at the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday. “I think they will say, ‘In order to stop you packing your suitcase to go home, this is what you should be looking at doing.’”
Though Lythgoe acknowledged that the very nature of “Idol” — viewers picking the eventual winner — will always make the show as much a popularity contest as a talent competition, there is a renewed focus on nurturing contestants’ talent this go-round.
“This year, it’s been much more of a collaborative table,” Lopez said of her judging cohorts. “We talk about [contestants]. We discuss things. And we put forth to them what we think could help them to grow as artists.”
She continues: “At the end of the day, we’re not here to break people down. We’re there to guide them and mentor them.”
The Bronx duo at the table
How outrageous is Season 10 going to get when Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler sit at the same table? Tyler gave critics a taste, correcting a journalist who said he was from Yonkers: “I am from the Bronx,” Tyler asserted. “I went to PS 81. Yonkers is where I got my pet raccoon.”