In an announcement filled with as many surprises as its most recent season (which is to say, not any), American Idol confirmed the long-standing rumor that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler will be joining Randy Jackson at the judges’ table this season. This morning, at the Los Angeles Forum, erstwhile Idol host Ryan Seacrest introduced highlight reels of the judges’ music and other entertainment succeses before bringing them out individually. These introductions were simulcast over the internet, but in what may turn out to be an ironic harbinger of what is to come from the new season of Idol, the live video feed had no audio until the last thirty seconds. (It was as if God Himself didn’t want to hear from these people over the next few months.) Anyway, the audio came back just in time to hear J. Lo falling right into her assigned “Paula” role, saying that contestants just need to “concentrate on the monet, and live!”
One under-reported fact that was also announced today was that Jimmy Iovine, the Chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, will act as a season-long mentor for the Idol finalists. This is actually a pretty big deal. One of the biggest problems many Idol contestants have is that they don’t know how to define themselves as potential artists. This lack of focus often causes poor choices on everything from songs sung to costumes worn. With a real record head guiding them and acting as a resource for these potential stars, a true evolution into a polished artist becomes a real possibility for the contestants. True, Simon may have served a similar function during his tenure, but as a judge, he would have been kept from aiding the contestants too much for fear of rigging allegations (which still occurred. See: Abdul, Paula & Clark, Corey). A dedicated mentor is a much better solution.
So, what do you think about the official announcement of the Season 10 judges? Do Lopez and Tyler make you more or less likely to watch American Idol this upcoming season? Do you wish Randy was jettisoned as well? Who would you have preferred sipping from the Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul Memorial Coca-Cola Cups? (I pretend Kara DioGuardi was a figment of my “package artist”-riddled mind.) How do you feel about Iovine’s role on the show? How else would you improve Idol? Drop your comments below.
American Idol returns on Fox in January.