“American Idol” is about young talent, not celebrities

Sooner or later every popular TV show develops shortcomings and eventually flops. “American Idol” last season appeared to be heading down that path. The judges and the talent on the show just failed to meet expectations and the quality of entertainment as a whole seemed to be slowly fading.

Yet despite all the criticism aimed at “Idol” recently, at the end of the day the show must go on, right?

Last year the show suffered perhaps because it lacked the star-power quality of former judge Paula Abdul. And her replacement Ellen DeGeneres just didn’t cut it. DeGeneres by the way recently confirmed she won’t be returning next season. No surprise there.

There is no doubt that DeGeneres is a wonderful comedian and she truly is the perfect and sweetest talk show host. Much love there. But her role as “Idol” judge lacked any real content – although funny at times the advice DeGeneres gave during the season lacked any real direction for the contesters.

Paula Abdul on the other hand with all her glam star power was widely loved and developed a huge fan base during her years on “Idol.” Yes, Abdul had a couple of hits back in the day and she is recognized for her dancing skills. But honestly besides her great looks and glam appeal she never really had much of a singing voice. Nevertheless Abdul was part of what made “Idol” so great over the years. And people just loved her even when her comments as judge absolutely made no sense. Go figure!

And now there is talk that Abdul could be possibly returning to Idol next season. The plan seems like a long shot but bringing her back could potentially skyrocket the show’s ratings and may be just what the nine-year old singing show needs right now.

Meanwhile Simon Cowell, the show’s most popular judge all these years, is out. “Idol” finds itself in a real pickle with his departure and replacing his brute honesty and expertise in the industry will be no easy task for the producers.

The latest rumors are that “Idol” may be looking to bring Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith and/or Jennifer Lopez to the show as judges.

Right off the bat Tyler is no Cowell and although the Aerosmith lead singer has a plethora of experience, the question remains: can he hold his own on camera when it comes to sharing productive advice?

And, well, J.Lo? She’s definitely qualified and could be the best thing for Idol since the exit of Abdul. Lopez similar to Abdul doesn’t have the best singing voice but as a performer and successful actress, not to mention dancer, carries a lot of weight when it comes to the entertainment industry. You go girl! Holla!

As for judge Kara DioGuardi, well she is expected to leave too.

That leaves everybody’s “dog” Mr. Randy Jackson. Jackson is always that cool cat on the show that has always been able to give constructive criticism without belittling the performers.

But that’s just it folks. When it really comes down to it “Idol” is not so much about the judges and their glam power. It’s about the performers.

Year after year young talent showcased on “Idol” is what viewers at home really seem to connect with. Households nationwide support “Idol” singers from their hometown and become fans of their personal stories, dreams and ambitions.

What has made “Idol” so great over the years is precisely the heart and soul of ordinary up and coming young talents that continue to blow audiences away every season with extraordinary performances.

Sure having J.Lo or Steven Tyler could really help “Idol” ratings these days. But ultimately what will save “Idol” in the coming years from flopping, especially after a poor season last year and judges coming and going, is being able to highlight young people’s dreams to reach for the stars. Out.

Photo: At the May 10 “American Idol” finale, Lee DeWyze kicked off the night with “The Boxer,” the perfect song to describe his journey as a singer. (www.americanidol.com)



Pepe Lozano
Pepe Lozano

Chicagoan Pepe Lozano was a staff writer with the People's World through 2014. He comes from an activist family and has lived on the city's southwest side in a predominantly Mexican-American community his whole life. Lozano now works as a union organizer.