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Watch live, the latest local news, weather and investigative stories impacting your community. Jennifer Lopez returns to "American Idol" as the show's new panel what debuts.
When "American Idol" debuted nearly a dozen years ago, two of the three judges had something in common with the contestants: They were unknowns, at least to the mass TV audience. Still, Simon Cowell's sarcasm and Randy Jackson's upbeat patter quickly melded with the loopy and sappy pronouncements of Paula Abdul, until then known far better for dancing than talking, into a television phenomena.
The panelists' banter became a kind of music in itself albeit more comic cacophony at times than symphony. Viewers weren't watching a new kind of TV show as much as a pop culture chemistry experiment conducted in real time on Fox. It worked spectacularly until bickering and personnel changes began to eclipse the real stars: the young singers.
idol coming off record-low ratings for its May season finale, returns for its 13th outing Wednesday with a reconstituted panel and a steep challenge: to create a new version of the old winning formula amid scrutiny and high expectations. Golden Globes: Red Carpet Hits and Misses. The overhauled lineup, with Ryan Seacrest remaining as host, appears to have a good shot at gelling.
Returning after a one-season absence is Jennifer Lopez, who proved a superstar could bring a down-to-earth approach to Idol, emerging as encouraging and honest, but never cruel. Keith Urban, in his first season last year, stood out as a voice of calm amid the grating Mariah Carey-Nicki Minaj diva-off.
Newcomer Harry lopez Connick,. Arrives as an affable performer who knows what it's like to hit it big when young. Idol producers are promising changes to the program, including allowing contestant to play instruments at auditions.
But no alterations can compare to how the talent show landscape Idol helped create has morphed over the last decade-plus. Golden Globes After Parties, the Voice, which returns Feb. 24, has succeeded by expanding on the Idol formula, while what largely avoiding the senior programs missteps.
The sibling-like rivalry among The Voice coaches, while entertaining, hasnt spilled over into knocking or overshadowing the contestants. Idol appears to be learning from NBC's "Voice. A promo video for the new season features the judges talking about Idol as the American Dream and citing its ample success stories, while avoiding scenes of the freak show that the early auditions can denigrate into.