The new season of Fox cash cow American Idol premiered this week and much talk has been centered on the two new judges, J-Lo and Steven Tyler. Media writers have been unsure if the series would continue to flourish without the mean, blunt, but always-good-for-TV Simon Cowell.
The show debuted with 26.1 million viewers, increasing more than 2 million from the first hour to the second. While this is not impressive in comparison to last season’s premiere of 29.8 million, Idol still was the highest rated show of the week. The Hollywood Reporter reported that the show averaged 22.9 million viewers and a 7.8 rating in the crucial 18-49 demographic on the second night, which is more than double the ratings from the next highest rated show, NBC’s The Office. On the other hand, the combined two-night premiere-week average is down 12% vs. last year’s in viewers, and more in adults, says USA TODAY’s Gary Levin.
John Kubicek from BuddyTV.com speculates the high numbers may be due to curiosity of how the new judges will perform. He believes the numbers will drop since J-Lo is far too nice and Steven Tyler is a “trainwreck” who says stupid expressions in a poor attempt to be interesting. He went on to say that as the program progressed, he just got worse “when the contestants started singing because it seemed like Tyler started humming, tapping and singing along every time. The Idol auditions aren’t a jam session, so Tyler needs to learn to shut the hell up and listen to the singers.”
There still is hope for the show. MTV.com claims that “expert and audience reaction to the new judging panel has been mostly positive and bodes well for greater tune-in once the show goes live in the first week of March.”
At least with former judges Simon and Paula, contestants weren’t as nervous and star struck as they likely are with mega rock star Tyler and pop music/movie queen Lopez.
Before, judges could rely on Simon to tell it like it is, now they are trying to find a polite way to tell the less-than-talented that they suck miserably and should not be wasting their time with such infernal noises emanating from their mouth. Perhaps Lopez will unexpectedly snap and start being harsh and direct. If that’s the case, Idol’s ratings are sure to increase.