A battle-scarred 'American Idol' tries for second act

News. Disney/ABC, which purchased the rights to American Idol in 2016, is rebooting the series after its Fox finale two years ago, with Seacrest returning to hosting duties. Zyrtec also is a sponsor on Seacrest's other show, Kelly and Ryan.

The judges are #Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan. Sensibility-wise, though, ABC's Idol is different. Yes, that means no Simon Cowell (or wannabe) on the judging panel.

Fun fact: Three people involved in "The One" - judge Kara DioGuardi and singers Syesha Mercado and Jackie Mendez - wound up on later seasons of "American Idol". And after watching that first episode, we can tell you that it's a solid return, and definitely stronger than its last few seasons.

The show sometimes strikes the right balance between "viral" and "inspirational" (a contestant who had a "Fergie moment" as a child seeks redemption on "Idol") but largely skews in favor of the former. On the other side of that, though, we would've be shocked to see the series bringing in around a 1.5 and needed some of these DVR ratings in order to bring the show back to a 1.8.

But that doesn't fit with Seacrest's American Idol image, and, as Sonia Saraiya writes in a must-read column about the immunity he's been given, "it is convenient for many wealthy and powerful entities in the industry to believe him - and correspondingly inconvenient to believe her". And they're too young to even be in this spot, but they're so talented. Which is amusing, because I'm betting at least some of those people learned that style from watching the original American Idol.

So, yeah, what would American Idol be without inspiring tales and aspirations, all packaged in backstory videos, nervous entreaties and elaborate vocal runs? That choice seems to be a subtly calculated way to make sure that viewers up and down the demographic and political spectrum feel welcome to watch. The worst thing you can do is take something that needs a certain amount of budget investment and try to do it at half the price. Then he and Perry modify that: "Congo Ron!"

If Lauren Alaina hadn't competed on American Idol, the 23-year-old country singer hopes that she would still be doing what she's doing now - but coming in second place (to Scotty McCreery) during the 2011 season of the televised singing competition certainly helped jump-start her career.

ABC isn't just defending Ryan Seacrest, they are standing firmly behind him, reports the Hollywood Reporter. Find out why ABC's version may have more heart this time around.

Is it actually representing all the diverse voices in these United States? "It felt like "Idol" wasn't getting the attention it needed to thrive, and that's what we'll do here".

  • Zachary Reyes