Randy Jackson is Now Simon on American Idol
The new season of Idol, which kicks off Jan. 19, sparkles with a number of changes show producers hope will engage loyal Idol disciples and bring in a new generation of fans. Idol contestants will be living together, as they did in earlier seasons, the contestants will be mentored by influential music exec Jimmy Iovine and the age limit was dropped to 15. The show will also feature sudden death elimination rounds and there will no longer be gender separation throughout the competition, which means the most promising talent will move through each round regardless of gender.
Show producers have also traded the condescending snipes and silver-tongued swipes of Simon Cowell and the dazed and confused fancy of Paula Abdul for triple-threat diva Jennifer Lopez and rock icon Steven Tyler. Jackson gushes that the chemistry was automatic: We got along like a house on fire. I admired both of them for a long time, and they all come from the same side of the music that Ryan [Seacrest] and I come from. It's been amazing. They've become great judges. What surprised me a little bit is that they actually really care about these kids. They actually really want them to do well." more on this story