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'American Idol' poll: Did you like the new 'Idol'?

american-idol-njImage Credit: Michael Becker/FoxWe knew the faces were going to be different and the show would have a different vibe, but there was no way of knowing whether the changes worked until the lights came on for last night’s American Idol. Could Steven and J.Lo fill the void left by Simon’s departure? Does J.Lo have the mean-girl capacity to crush a contestant’s dreams? Can Steven be succinct or will his ramblings require subtitles? And will the inclusion of 15-year-olds turn Idol into glorified tryouts for Glee? So much to take in, but let’s bottom-line it: Did it work? Vote below.

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This Week's Cover: An exclusive 'American Idol' roundtable with Randy, Steven, Jennifer, and Ryan

With Simon Cowell’s ballyhooed exit (to bring his British talent show The X Factor Stateside this fall), Ellen DeGeneres departing after just one season, and Kara DioGuardi’s contract left in the dustbin, American Idol is suddenly in its most uncertain condition since its June 2002 debut. But in EW’s exclusive roundtable interview with host Ryan Seacrest, returning judge Randy Jackson, and new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, Idol‘s new team doesn’t appear to be sweating Life After Simon.

“It’s aged the show down a bit,” deadpans Seacrest of Cowell’s absence, while Jackson laughs. “There are less clouds of smoke. We start earlier. There’s less — what is that English dish he always ordered for lunch? Shepherd’s pie? He loves shephrerd’s pie.”

“No, it’s the blood pudding,” jokes Jackson, before he turns serious. READ FULL STORY

Barbara Walters' most fascinating person is... wait, what?

barbara-walters-betty-whiteImage Credit: Donna Svennevik/ABCBarbara Walters’ 10 Most Fascinating People special aired last night, and 2010’s MFP was actually surprising. Gaga? Obama? Nicki Minaj? Jon Stewart? Nope on all counts. Babs’ pick: General David Petraeus. Really!

We knew eight of the other people on the list as of last week, and the other big reveal last night was Mark Zuckerberg, which is a solid choice, and I’m not just saying that because I guessed he’d be on the list. (But I did. So, you guys owe me a Coke.) The full list:

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'American Idol': Would you be happy with fewer 'train-wreck' auditions?

My least favorite part of American Idol — aside from the wonky song lists, the aggressive product placement, and the judges’ bouts of blatant favoritism, of course — are the “bad auditions.” Seriously, after nine years of watching the sad, the deluded, and the emotionally damaged have the tar taken out of ‘em by Simon Cowell (while Randy Jackson & Co. hide behind their hands and snicker with laughter), I can’t say I’d be unhappy if the show took a less point-and-laugh approach to the opening rounds for the show’s upcoming tenth season. And a couple of new Idol promos (embedded after the jump) that focus on big, booming voices and the smiling reactions of Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson indicate that the show may indeed be accentuating the positive when it returns to the airwaves in 2011.

My only caveat about a “kinder, gentler Idol“? READ FULL STORY

Jennifer Lopez producing a dramedy about Latina nannies

Jennifer-Lopez-Image Credit: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.comNew American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez is heaping more on her plate: The actress/singer is set to produce a new hour-long dramedy for ABC that will “center on three branches of an extended Los Angeles family — as told through the eyes of their three Latina nannies,” according to Variety. Lopez and her producing partner Simon Fields are joining with Friends and Big Love writer Alexa Junge for the still-untitled project.

ABC’s pretty full of family-centric shows these days: Modern Family, No Ordinary Family, Brothers & Sisters, The Middle, Better With You, maybe even Cougar Town. Lopez’s producing record isn’t hugely encouraging — Dancelife, South Beach — and this isn’t the first time she and Junge have worked on a Latina nannie-based project: In 2007, Ayuda stalled out at Showtime. Still, it’d be nice to see other kinds of stories told on television. You know, ones about people who aren’t rich and white.

What do you think, PopWatchers?

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‘American Idol': Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler take their seats at the judges’ table

'American Idol': Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler take their seats at the judges' table

american-idolNewly minted American Idol judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler took their seats at the judges’ table on Tuesday, joining longtime judge Randy Jackson on the Idol audition set in New Jersey. It looks like Jackson is being rewarded for his nine seasons of Idol duty, nabbing the coveted seat of ex-judge Simon Cowell. Lopez will sit in between Tyler and Jackson, keeping the what’s-a-girl-to-do-when-surrounded-by-a-bunch-of-crazy-boys? vibe going. (10 seasons and counting!)

Tell me Idoloonies: Does this new feng shui work? Or are you crying at the sight of a Kara-, Ellen-, and Simon-less judges’ table? [MTV via dizzyfeet]

Read more:
‘American Idol’ announcement: On the scene with Steve Tyler, Randy Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez’s sparkly jumpsuit
Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson on ‘American Idol’ season 10

Jennifer Lopez on 'American Idol': Why she needs to be the new Simon Cowell

Simon-Cowell-Jennifer-LopezImage Credit: Michael Tran/FilmMagic.com; Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.com“Concentrate on the moment and just live,” declared Jennifer Lopez, looking out on a crowd of American Idol wannabes, moments after Ryan Seacrest announced the “Get Right” singer would be part of the show’s season 10 judging panel at a press conference in Los Angeles earlier today. To which I say, “Oh. No.”

Yeah, I realize you can’t judge a judge on a seven-word sound bite, but J.Lo’s new-agey, everyone-gets-a-gold-star first impression left me wondering if she understands the role she should be playing as Fox’s venerable-but-vulnerable ratings powerhouse enters the post-Simon Cowell era. (“I believe in tough love, but I don’t think I can ever be cruel to another artist. There are definitely better ways to say things,” Lopez later told reporters; read my colleague Lynette Rice’s rundown of the proceedings here.)

As we learned from Ellen DeGeneres’ disastrous stint on Idol last season, it can be tough for a well-established, well-liked celebrity (especially one with an active career) to sit down at the judges’ table and give negative feedback to contestants. “It was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings,” Ellen said when announcing her exit from the show in late July. Perhaps even harder, though, was the idea that viewers might not absolve her of the “sin” of crushing the dreams of so many wannabe music stars in front of 20 million viewers.

But in the words of Kara DioGuardi, “Here’s the thing”: In the Idolverse, it’s not only okay to be unflinchingly tough and brutally honest, it’s absolutely necessary. READ FULL STORY

Jennifer Lopez's 'American Idol' deal valued at $12 million: Reports

Jennifer-Lopez-Image Credit: Jamie McCarthy/WireImage.comGet ready to call her Jenny from the Fox (Broadcasting Company). Or maybe the $12 Million Woman. Jennifer Lopez will be joining the judges’ panel for the 10th season of the network’s ratings giant, American Idol, in a deal worth $12 million, according to an anonymous source who spoke to People.com. (The contract was first reported yesterday by Deadline.com.)

Lopez has been the subject of intense media scrutiny with regard to a coveted spot on a rebooted Idol panel. Her name first surfaced for the gig in late July, before a number of media outlets counted her out of the running due to alleged “diva” demands. As first reported by EW.com on Aug. 12, however, a source close to the show set the record straight that “no deals have fallen apart due to unreasonable demands” and that “This may simply be a case of one diva’s rep slinging mud to make another potential candidate look like a diva.” Soon after, Lopez’s name was back in the mix — along with Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and original panelist Randy Jackson — as a front-runner for one of the three most coveted chairs in the reality TV universe. The J.Lo.-Tyler-Jackson rumors got a further shot of adrenaline when Fox announced — the Friday night before Labor Day — that judge Kara DioGuardi would not be returning to the show for its 10th season.

Spokespersons from Fox, Fremantle, and 19 Entertainment declined comment for this story; a rep for Lopez did not return calls from EW. According to Deadline, Lopez had sought an overall deal with Fox that would have included guaranteed movie and TV pilot deals, but that portion of the contract did not come to fruition.

Developing…

'American Idol' exclusive: 'No deals have fallen through due to unreasonable demands,' says well-placed source

american-idol-tableImage Credit: F Micelotta/Getty ImagesTake this week’s round of rumors about American Idol‘s potential lineup of season 10 judges with a grain of salt. A source close to the negotiations tells EW.com exclusively that “no deals have fallen apart due to unreasonable demands.” The Idol insider staunchly refused to name names, but said that even the most A-list of potential replacements for Simon Cowell’s job have been “really gracious. This is an extremely high-profile gig, and you’d better believe no one — male or female — has been unreasonable at the negotiating table.”

Going into this week, a number of media sources speculated that Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson were the front-runners for seats on Idol‘s season 10 judging panel, but on Monday, several Web sites reported that Lopez’s deal had fallen apart at the eleventh hour. “Don’t believe everything you read,” cautioned the Idol insider. “This may simply be a case of one diva’s rep slinging mud to make another potential candidate look like a diva. There are a million agendas swirling out there, and a lot of camps aren’t above using rumor and speculation to advance their causes.” Indeed, with reps from Fox, Idol, and Fremantle all declining official comment on potential replacements for the exiting Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres, the landscape is ripe for wannabe judges’ confidantes to plant poisonous seeds in the media with regard to their competition. READ FULL STORY

Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, or Kara DioGuardi: Who should win 'American Idol' musical chairs?

mariah-jennifer-karaImage Credit: Todd Williamson/FilmMagic, George Napolitano/FilmMagic, Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty ImagesAnother week, another round of American Idol judges’ table rumors. People.com reported yesterday that (le gasp!) Jennifer Lopez’s much-buzzed-about deal with the show might’ve fallen through. Kara DioGuardi’s dad told Capitol Tonight (file this news using the oh-no-they-did-NOT tab!) that his daughter heard her neck was on the chopping block via media reports only. And Nick Cannon got a little loose-lipped with the Hollywood Reporter and declared that his wife Mariah Carey “would love to” be the next Simon Cowell. (Reps for Fox and FremantleMedia declined to comment on these stories; reps for Lopez, DioGuardi, and Carey did not respond to EW’s interview requests.) But an Idol insider tells me the only thing certain is that Fox is loving the 24/7 cycle of media speculation about a show that’ll enter its tenth season in January 2011. “It’s the perfect position to be in,” says my source, who wouldn’t be surprised if Fox waits till the end of the month to make an announcement about which celebs will play the roles of Randy-Paula-Simon for a new generation of Idoloonies. READ FULL STORY

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