American Idol: Can Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. to Save the Show?

Jennifer Lopez can save American Idol

Thank goodness: the cat-fighting drama between Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj of last year’s American Idol judges panel is history. Albeit talented, both Carey and Minaj added a level of immaturity and overall unprofessionalism taking attention away from the contestants made Fox’s American Idol seem anything but serious in a show focused on producing new talent at the microphone–especially when compared to the rising success of The Voice on NBC. Furthermore, the caddy drama may have also been impairing the shows ratings. The new judges of Idol, fortunately, have been announced with Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez joining Keith Urban, and we can expect this threesome will bring far more professionalism, and far less drama to the American Idol show in its 13th season, but can they save the show from its plummeting ratings?

Since a peak in 2006, the ratings of American Idol have been steadily decreasing, with almost half the viewers: 29.5 million down to 13 million viewers per show.

Urban, who often expressed his disdain and impatience for the on-going and childlike like drama between Minaj and Carey, seems enthusiastic about the new judging panel. “I think this season of `Idol’ is gonna be a blast. New team, new energy and a whole new field of artists to be discovered and given a chance!”

While Randy Jackson did officially leave the show last year at the same time as Carey and Minaj, he plans to return as a mentor to the contestants. And the addition of Minaj and Carey was said to have been merely attention-seeking stunts, the squabbling and fighting on Idol, which may be hurting its ratings, isn’t new–as original judges Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul openly teased and mocked and criticized each other endlessly. However it’s clear that Fox realizes, when compared to The Voice on NBC, it has some catching up to do in order to be seen as a professional and serious show focused on creating and promoting new talent.

Last year’s cast of Carey, Urban, Minaj, and Jackson was predicted to cost the show a total of $54 million. When Lopez was a judge on the show two years ago, it was reported that she demanded approximately $15 million, which helped land her on the Top 100 Celebrities of Forbes’ List for her income in 2011.

Forbes predicts that the paycheck for Urban and Connick will be much lower than Lopez’s, merely because Connick, for one, doesn’t have nearly the overall level of fame across the globe compared to Lopez. Urban, unfortunately, deserves a significant raise for merely keep last year’s show running–without Urban, the show would’ve consisted on Carey and Minaj’s inane behavior mixed with Jackson’s cliched and overused phrases like “in it to win it” which he repeated relentlessly to practically every contestant.

Seacrest, who was reported on Forbes’ List to have earned approximately $61 million last year, ranking him at #26 on the list of richest celebrities. As the only original “cast member” of the Idol show since it began over 10 years ago, there’s no doubt Seacrest will stick around for as long as the enormous paycheck is there.

Can Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez save the show? Critics appear doubtful because while both these stars are talented and respected, they’re not exactly the talk of the town or even particularly famous within the age-group that currently follows talent shows. The crowd of judges at The Voice have a youthful yet classy hipness to their collection, that may be exactly what American Idol is truly missing.

Written by Ginger Vieira

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