Returning on Jan. 19, the now Simon-less series looks to make some waves this year – here's a few we can only hope to see
“American Idol” is back!
Wednesday, after a lackluster last season, the reality show ratings behemoth returns for a 10th season to create another singing sensation … or, if recent winners like Lee DeWyze are any indication, not.
Host Ryan Seacrest and judge Randy Jackson are still there, but there’s been a lot of changes. There was the departure of Simon Cowell and the return of Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe from “So You Think You Can Dance." Then there was the introduction of online auditions and the painfully teased announcement of new judges of Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.
Now change can be good but to reclaim its former success, “Idol” needs more … and here it comes.
1. Lowering the age requirement to 15 backfires when David Archuleta’s little brother Timmy Archuleta launches into “Satisfaction” after winking at Steven Tyler and saying, “This one’s for you, Mick.”
2. Paula-replacement J.Lo mistakenly believes she’s been hired to replace Randy and shows up draped in medallions and sherbet-hued T-shirts, addressing each contestant as "Carbon."
3. During the series’ very first “Original Song” week, contestant Alexa Dobbs is disqualified for passing off Taylor Swift’s “Fifteen” as her own. This despite the fact that neither the judges nor the audience recognize it, as she actually sings in tune.
4. Though theme nights have been eliminated this season, producers finally give in to J. Lo’s demands for “Marc Anthony Night.” When it turns out they can’t find enough songs to fill the evening, they add in Ricky Martin’s “La Vida Loca.”
5. Mourning Simon’s departure, Seacrest awkwardly jabs Randy with jokes about Botox, man boobs and tight T-shirts. This results in Randy growing dangerously waiflike before leaving the show due to “exhaustion.”
6. The second disqualification of the season comes when it turns out Shannon Michaels is actually another one of Steven Tyler's secret love children.
7. Hoping to bring a more contemporary feel to the show, permanent mentor Jimmy Iovine, with the help of Britney Spears, trains the Idols in the use of AutoTune.
8. Ryan Seacrest threatens to walk unless producers name next season’s show: “Ryan Seacrest’s American Idol.” Mid-season replacement host Brian Dunkleman provides a ratings boost.
9. Joe Perry and the rest of Aerosmith announce that they will replace Tyler as their lead singer with this season’s runner-up. Suddenly Chris Daughtry from Season Five sues Fox to be allowed back on the show. In typical Aerosmith fashion, Tyler and the band sue Daughtry, Fox, each other and some guy they met last time they were in rehab.
10. Simon Cowell leaks that he would have stayed on the show if producers had not just offered him an annual pay of $130 million, as revealed in Richard Rushfield’s recently released “American Idol: The Untold Story,” but also a chance to belt out some ABBA once a season. “X-Factor” viewers, consider yourselves warned.
Lew Harris and Dominic Patten contributed to this article