The first promo for the 14th season of Fox’s “American Idol” premiered during Game 1 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals.
While they battle it out for baseball supremacy, thousands of hopefuls are returning to the one American singing competition stage that has actually made superstars.
With “The X Factor” gone, “Idol” doesn’t have to compete with its own network for attention, but NBC continues double-pumping “The Voice,” with two cycles per season. Like that show, Fox has learned the importance of a winning panel — anyone want to talk about Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj? For the first time in a while, the entire judging panel is returning for back-to-back seasons, which can only improve their chemistry.
Already, Harry Connick Jr., Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez look like their having fun in the clips shown from the audition rounds. Connick Jr. is back with plenty of bad jokes and puns, while Lopez is able to bask in the adoration of her fans, one of whom walks in singing one of her classic songs. Meanwhile, Urban is just as calm and cool as ever.
It’s a bit early to tell if the new crop of singers is going to be any good as the show doesn’t premiere until 2015, so the promo barely spotlights any of them. With “The Voice” in full swing and emphasizing the dynamics between its own superstar coaches Pharrell Williams, Gwen Stefani, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton, Fox smartly put the focus on the industry luminaries who will steer their ship in 2015.
Once again “American Idol” will have to compete against “The Voice” for attention, with neither show having much success in recent years at hitching their wagon to a bona fide musical sensation. And “Idol” is a long way from the lofty heights of the 2000s when it reigned supreme as the number 1 show on television.
With its 13th season, fans embraced the delightful charm of this trio of judges, but the show itself slipped precariously. Once a staple at the top of the ratings chart, “American Idol” fell from the top 10 for the first time since its debut season, when it ran as a summer series and introduced us to Kelly Clarkson.
Ryan Seacrest hosts “American Idol XIV,” premiering on Fox Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015.