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Retooled 'American Idol' slips 13% to lowest ratings since Season 1

Simon Cowell's barbs could hurt, but apparently not as much as having him leave the show.

A retooled "American Idol" opened its 10th season Wednesday without its resident mean judge -- and to its worst numbers since its first season back in the summer of 2002, down 13% from last year. An average of 26.1 million tuned in to the two-hour premiere that introduced new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, along with Randy Jackson, the sole remaining original judge. "Idol" also opened on a new night, rather than Tuesdays as in the past.

Among the key demographic of adults aged 18 to 49, "Idol" was down 18%.

Fox, which went to unusual lengths to manage expectations for TV's No. 1 show without its big star judge, said the losses were in line with expectations. The record for an "Idol" opener is the Season 6 premiere, which drew 37.4 million.

Rival networks immediately seized on the numbers as evidence that the "Idol" phenomenon is waning. ABC rushed out a release pointing out that its lineup had scored big year-to-year gains against the Fox show.

What did you think of the premiere and the new judges?

--Scott Collins


Photo: Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez and Randy Jackson are the judges for "American Idol's" Season 10. Credit: Michael Becker/Fox.


Comments () | Archives (16)

Of course the judges are important, but I watch more for the contestants.

Steve Tyler made it easy to watch.

Not surprised. It will never be as good as it was when Simon, Paula and Randy were the judges. They were American Idol. AI should have done everything in their power to keep them there.

No surprise at all. For all the praise that the new judges and the absence of Simon and his snarkiness is getting from viewers, the truth came out in the ratings. Continuing Idol without Simon was a very bad idea. Simon was the backbone of the show, the one who made it spicy, fun, and exciting, and the one whose opinion everyone valued and anticipated most. Filling Simon and Paula's empty seats with two well-known music artists was a cheap stunt which the producers resorted to out of sheer desperation. People liked what they saw last night because it was all doctored by editing. Once the show goes live, the truth will come out again, when Tyler creates problems with his potty mouth and J Lo has trouble delivering negative critiques. It happened with Ellen last season; she was great during Hollywood Week, when she could be edited, but once we saw her perform live as a judge, it all went wrong. She was a failed experiment, and this retooled Idol was, too.

Some "Idol-aters" LOVE the tryouts, 'cause Simon had 60 ways to tell folks they were terrible. Without Simon, it's not as caustic. What's REALLY interesting though, is the thought that THESE judges might bring BETTER talent to the contest! They are not trying to prove something, they are proven talents themselves. Paula was resurrecting her career, and Simon's view was solely as a producer/businessman. After Hollywood week, I will be VERY interested in just how good the final 12 (10?) can sing. I have felt that over the last couple/few years, only a handful (or less) really had a chance to win. I would love to see twelve GREAT singers duke it out. And, with these judges, maybe we will.

It's called "moving on" people. If ya don't appreciate the new judges watch something else...DUH!

What 49 year old as shown in the demographic table watches American Idol. I would assume that Mel Torme and Frank are more credible choices for someone that age. As a published journalist and also a music critic I have blogged concerning this show since 2005. Personally, I never cared if American Idol ran its course but I have consistently advocated an adult concert show, no judges just great music with instruments and singer songwriters, no hype,

I enjoyed the show. It was fun to watch the two new judges settle into their roles and see how they handled the duties they must carry out. Randy is always a cool drink of water and the contestants' back stories were heart-warming. All in all, I'll stay tuned to American Idol, a true American original.

Adam Lambert killed American Idol and Cowell leaving, buried it in it's grave.

Give it time, because this season has a whole new punch. I like it already and had lost hope once, but now I am saved.

I think there are two sides her 1 is These kids will once again be performing for the new judges The AI audience and the people watching around the world. Tyler and J.lo have been there, and done that. Over 60 years combined experience. So it would be interesting to see how they judge these new contestants knowing they've been there before. On the other hand No Simon No Paula, this show has lost 2 out of it's 3 original judges.



I loved it. Thought it was much more positive - much better atmosphere and lots of talented kids. Really liked that they didn't focus on embarrassing people as much. Think the talent level seemed higher than last year too. I imagine that the ratings will pick up (!)

I think they emphasized too much on the idol wannabes
saying and adoring the big star judges.
If I need adoration and star power gone rampant, I can
catch re-runs of Ricky Gervais trying to be a host on this
year's Golden Globe Awards. Lol. That was bohhring.
Enough already!

The show sucks and it's been over for me anyway for a couple of years now. Every show has a shelf life and this one has been past expiration for a while now. It's very predictable and it has lost all it's charm. The only thing that was remotely interesting anymore was Mr Cowell and his gone now. But, even he wasn't going to save this thing. It was a good run, a damn good run, but it's time has come and gone. Just like an athlete can't walk away and retire with grace, the same thing has befallen this show. Sticks around too long and becomes irrelevant. Sad and pathetic really.

JLo is a worthless no talent hack who plays with her hair more times (32 in the first two nights alone) than I care to ever see. Get rid of her and bring in Stevie Nicks

Idol needs people who are qualified to judge talent. It's only fair to the contestants who are seriously hoping for an honest review. J-Lo is a million dollar fixture. She has no talent and is incapable of judging it in others. If Fox reasoned that flaunting Lopez's famous curves would bring on the crowd, they were sorely mistaken. Her bust is a bust. Tyler isn't much better than a court jester who is not amusing. He can't judge talent for taffy and if he thinks his off-color repartee is lively, he's dead wrong. This show is slipping and I doubt that wonderful Randy can do a darn thing to save it.


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