I’m still on a break this week so I’ll just pose a question that may in fact already be answered: who will be on the panel for season 12 of “Idol”? We know host Ryan Seacrest is back but nobody else.
[UPDATE, Sunday, July 15: I know I'm breaking the rules here since I'm on a break, but I wrote this before I left and there has been obvious breaking news this past week, with both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez leaving. Neither move was a particularly big surprise given their performances this past year. Mildly entertaining in spurts, especially when he was edited during auditions, Tyler ended up being more a limited, goofy cheerleader than a good judge. He has a perfectly fine career as lead singer of Aerosmith. Lopez has revived her career in music, endorsements and acting so she is not bad off at all moving on. As for Lopez's contribution as a judge, she was always more level headed than, say, Paula Adul, and brought emotion and grace to the position but as is often the case in this show, I eventually started tuning her out during the live shows. In fact, as the years go by, I find the judges less and less useful, especially in the later rounds. An L.A. Times story says even Nigel Lythgoe's position is in doubt. I actually enjoyed season 11 in terms of talent. As we have all discussed, the massive ratings decline was a combination of age and competition, not necessarily because the "Idol" formula is broken. I'm not sure how much "fixing" will do to stem any future reduction in viewership. And read this Hollywood Reporter piece about likely budget cuts for "Idol" now that its ratings are down so much, which also notes that the talent search so far this year hasn't been all that impressive.]
Will the original, Randy Jackson, be back? A lot of press stories imply he isn’t. I have an in person interview with him scheduled in Atlanta Monday, July 23, to talk about “Idol” and his Type II diabetes, which he was diagnosed nine years ago and is only talking about now. We may know by then whether he’s staying or going. My problem: I have jury duty that day. Hopefully, the county will not need me and I won’t have to show up at all, allowing me to have my first sit-down with the man ever. (I’ve done phone conference calls with him and met him briefly seasons two and three.) Assuming I talk to him, I’ll certainly ask him about his future with “Idol.” I can’t imagine he’d like to go anywhere. It’s his home.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk