Despite a red-hot Glee, Fox’s fall lineup is shakier than expected as the network’s new series largely underperformed. That’s why a strong American Idol is crucial for Fox’s hopes to claim another season ratings win. But the talent show juggernaut finished last season at a record low, and lost its signature star Simon Cowell, and then embarked on a judges search that became a public spectacle. But now I’m hearing that, two weeks into the audition process for Season 10, the situation on the show seems to be settling down with no major controversies on the immediate horizon.
There was a rumor of a “diva battle” between new judge Jennifer Lopez and host Ryan Seacrest, which the two took to the radio waves on Friday to dispel. Idol production insiders support that, noting that Seacrest and Lopez had been joking about the rumor on the set. The judges, rookies Lopez and Steven Tyler and veteran Randy Jackson, have all been very professional and always on time, something that couldn’t be said for Cowell, a production source tells me. Last season, Cowell’s lateness was among the many things that created tension between him and then-new judge Ellen DeGeneres. For now, there are no behind-the-scenes tensions visible on the Idol set, with the judges and Seacrest hanging together during breaks. “They all have great chemistry and finish each other’s sentences,” a source gushed. How is it different with two music stars on the panel this season? A very rowdy holding room with contestants screaming at the top of their lungs when the judges are introduced. And Tyler and Lopez having to keep a straight face while listening to someone butchering their songs. Tyler’s reaction when a contestant attempted his I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing? “I told him he didn’t nail it.” Cowell would’ve probably called it “ghastly.”