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Is Steven Tyler the reason for 'American Idol's' unexpected ratings stamina?

Stevenbleepsign This was supposed to be the year that "American Idol" crashed and burned. How could it not? Everyone knew ex-judge Simon Cowell was the star. Once he packed up and left with his tight T-shirts and brutal one-liners, "Idol" was like a young singer who forgets the lyrics: Living on borrowed time.

Turns out the pessimists will have to hang on to those eulogies a little longer.

Read all about why -- including how new judge Steven Tyler has become its new star -- in our Calendar story.

-- Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollins)

Photo: Steven Tyler is, along with Jennifer Lopez, a new face on "American Idol's" judging panel. Credit: Frank Micelotta / Fox

Comments () | Archives (22)

This season of American Idol is re-energized and fresh. The format of pairing the contestants with music producers allows the audience to see the making of an AI and the amount of work that goes into the performances. The contestants this season are amazingly talented; some of the best ever- especially the guys! Although I like Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson and Jennifer Lopez, I think their comments to the contestants at this point in the competition require greater depth and constructiveness. The comments made to the contestants for the live shows have been the same or similar to ones given during the selection round. Kind of miss Simon who praised with a critical and more balanced ear. I think Randy is the only one of the judges attempting to judge in this manner. "I think you are great," is not substantive.

I really like the lineup of judges this year. Steven Tyler is the new Paula, Jennifer Lopez is the new Randy, and Randy is the new Simon (though not quite tough enough). For me, Jennifer and Steven are surprises. I sort of expected Jennifer to take over the Paula role, but I should have known better from how she performed as a mentor -- she gave some sharp advice. Steven just pretty much loves everyone, but that's OK. Someone needs to deliver the real, honest criticism, and Randy has stepped up. He'll never be as mean as Simon, but he gets the point across (mostly; I think he's still been a bit too lenient on some contestants who he likes when they have a bad night).

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