Okay. It’s official. This is Simon Cowell’s final season on AMERICAN IDOL. He signed a document right in front of the nations’ TV critics on Monday. No one bothered to check whether the document was real though. For all we know, he could have in fact signed a “Save BETTER OFF TED” petition but that’s besides the point. After nine years Simon is moving on to produce and star as a judge in his own show THE X-FACTOR next season. What are the chances Paula Abdul is throwing herself in front of his car at this very moment?
But the big question is – Can AMERICAN IDOL survive without Simon?
My answer is a resounding YES.
No less than F.X. Sillerman himself, the Chief Executive of the parent company that owns AI said, “Simon Cowell is a spectacular talent. Having said that, AMERICAN IDOL is much bigger than any one individual.” (This is in marked contrast to the statement given when Paula left. “You left some tap shoes in your dressing room. Could you have someone come pick them up?”)
Mr. Sillerman is right. The Chicago Bulls survived just fine when Michael Jordan retired. The PGA Tour will hardly even miss Tiger Woods. And Carly Simon now looks enough like Mick Jagger that she could easily replace him in the Rolling Stones and no one would notice.
So what should AMERICAN IDOL do? Yes, some changes will have to be made but they must be the right ones. This is no time for mis-steps. So these are my suggestions:
Change the title to AfterAMERICAN IDOL.
For Simon’s replacement, there is a way to save two networks at once – hire Conan O’Brien. (This is why I should be running a network and not Jeff Zucker.)
For celebrity mentors, instead of deadbeats like Paul Anka, rotate Jamie Farr, Harry Morgan, Rosalind Chao, and William Christopher. Hey, they’ll give better advice than Mariah Carey and know where they are.
Combine the results show with HOUSE.
And finally, don’t let the kids rehearse. You wanna take advantage of live TV? Give them the songs five minutes before airtime. Now you’ve got some suspense, America!
Implement these suggestions and AfterAMERICAN IDOL should run at least one year more.
I will be reviewing AMERICAN IDOL again this year. First recap late Tuesday night.