Its been on the air for almost a decade and the franchise is showing no signs of deadening. Season after season, industry watchers have predicted its demise only to find themselves silenced by record breaking ratings year after year. Tonight, American Idol enters its tenth season and I cannot help reminiscing. Every time a contestant gets booted out of the competition, they send him or her off with a heartwarming video chronicling the artists journey through the contest. A similar montage of images and memories flows through my head as I think about American Idols journey through the last decade.
Season 10 of American Idol looks vastly different from its pilot season. A variance you are bound to pick up on is the absence of Simon Cowell. Simon graced the sets of American Idol with his customarily scowl, cocky smile and devastating comments. The audience had a love-hate relationship with the man. His blatantly British insolence offended the mild-mannered sensitivities of the American public but they put up with him because he said what was on everyones mind. In a way, he did the dirty work for the general populace, merely articulating what we all thought but never dared say out loud.
Im a little anxious to find out how the shows current judges will make up for the unique dynamic Simon Cowell brought to the show. Im sure, however, that the producers of a show that has lasted ten years in roughly the same format have a few tricks up their sleeves. The bottom line is that although the show will go on it will be vastly different without Simon. American Idols success was not based solely on Simon Cowell alone but his idiosyncrasies, his unrelenting individuality and his commitment to honesty will certainly be missed. I will watch tonights season premiere with a little bit of a heavy heart.