Pop Culture

Fans believe best days of 'Idol' may be over

A heavily revamped "American Idol" returns for a 10th season later this month, but only 47 percent of "Idol" viewers questioned in a new poll said they would definitely or probably watch it.

In fact, 67 percent of those taking part in the poll for The Hollywood Reporter magazine said they thought the best days of the TV singing competition were over, despite the addition of actress Jennifer Lopez and Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler to the judging panel.

"American Idol", which for more than eight years has been the most-watched TV show in the United States, returns to the Fox television network on January 19.

In a bid to reverse sliding audiences and slumping record sales for "Idol" champions, producers have shaken up the format, adding an "Idol" house where the top 12 contestants will live during the competition, lowering the singers' minimum age to 15, and bringing in top record producers to act as mentors to the would-be pop stars.

But according to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, plans for an "all-star" showdown, featuring champions like Kelly Clarkson or David Cook competing against popular "losers" like Adam Lambert or Jennifer Hudson, were ditched when few of the former "Idols" gave their consent.

Lopez and Tyler were brought in to replace departed British judge Simon Cowell, and judges Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres also exited. Only record producer Randy Jackson remains from the original 2001 line-up.

There was some good news in the poll for "Idol" producers and Fox. Of those people responding, six in 10 said they believed the shake-up was a positive change.

Some 48 percent said the addition of "Wedding Planner" actress and singer Lopez makes them more interested in watching, and 43 percent felt the same about Tyler.

"The new 'Idol' is cooler and less predictable," according to those surveyed, said pollster Jon Penn.

The Hollywood Reporter poll, which was conducted with Penn Schoen Berland, questioned 750 current and previous "Idol" viewers. It was released on Wednesday and can be found in the new edition of The Hollywood Reporter magazine, now on newsstands.

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