“American Idol” is both new and improved this year. The ratings for this TV talent show remain buoyant and it is likely to rank as the No.1 show for the seventh consecutive year. And with producer Nigel Lythgoe implementing a series of successful changes in the wake of the departure of the curmudgeonly Simon Cowell, “American Idol” could finally win over Emmy voters.
Last fall, “Idol” was widely predicted to be the show that ended the seven-year winning streak of “The Amazing Race” at the Emmy Awards but it was “Top Chef” which prevailed as Best Reality Competition Series. “Idol” had submitted the two-hour finale to Emmy judges to showcase the competitive element of the series. Among its highlights, was a surprisingly touching tribute led by host Ryan Searest to Cowell, who was leaving the show to launch the U.S. version of his Brit hit, “The X Factor.”
Besides a strong talent pool, “American Idol” has two new judges — Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler — who have proven to be surprisingly successful with both critics and viewers. Both of them have award-winning pedigrees. As part of Aerosmith, Tyler has home four Grammys, all for Best Rock Performance (Duo or Group) — “Janie’s Got a Gun” (1990); “Livin’ on the Edge” (1993); “Crazy” (1994); “Pink” (1998). The group has contended for 17 Grammys in total. While Lopez lost both her Grammy races for Best Dance Recording and her two Latin Grammy bids, she has a pair of American Music Awards and two MTV VMAs to show for her song styling.