The long awaited season premiere of American Idol has finally come, airing this past Wednesday, January 16th. There has been plenty of buzz in the media as headlines have focused much attention on the new judges for the 2013 season.
After two seasons of judging, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler have stepped down to make way for Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban. Randy Jackson, the only remaining judge since the start of American Idol in 2002, will also be judging, making this the third season to feature four judges. Ryan Seacrest, the only other member of the show who has been involved since the start, has announced that he would be hosting for at least two more seasons.
After reduced viewer ratings during the 11th season, Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly announced the need for Fox to do some “creative tweaking” in order to bring back the top ratings the show had for seven consecutive seasons. On January 9th, producer Nigel Lythgoe announced that the male and female contestants would perform on separate weeks, and that the separation would continue until the contestants were narrowed down to the top 10. Seeing as the past five season winners have been men, this could be an attempt to make sure the show remains balanced. He also indicated that they would possibly rank the singers by their total amount of votes, as well as showing voting results by geographical region.
Everyone remembers the feud between judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey when the video went viral last October. Since then, Nicki spoke about the situation on Ellen, saying Mariah didn’t want her to be a part of the show, and that made her “overcompensate by being crazier.” Whether these two “divas”, as Nicki puts it, have buried the hatchet or not, their salary seems enough to get them past there personal differences. PaySources say that Mariah Carey is estimated to be making 18 million this season and Nicki is rumoured to be making between 7 to 12 million. Another judge to join the panel is Keith Urban who is estimated to be making anywhere between 3 to 5 million for this season.
We are all use to seeing Simon and Paula at each others throats, but this year it seems to be a constant occurrence between judges Mariah and Nicki, leaving Keith Urban conveniently placed in between both female judges as to be the peace keeper. Instead he seems to have been rather annoyed during the two first episodes.
The judges also seem to be more cut throat in the new season. This could possibly be due to shows such as The Voice having such a large impact, forcing them to look for contestants who are not only talented singers, but who show all the star qualities. Nicki took this task upon herself, as not one contestant went by without her giving them her most honest feedback.
Will these changes be enough to help bring back what was once the most watched television series? Tune in next week and see for yourself!