Fox's American Idol Season 12 debuted Wednesday night with Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban as the new judges. And though Carey, "the most qualified Idol judge ever," Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban provided star power while also connecting with the contestants, People magazine thinks they should "try harder."
During auditions in New York City, they mostly sat there glassy-eyed. They seemed uncomfortable with each other and uncommunicative. They could have been poll watchers, pencils in hand, waiting at their cardboard tables by the voting booths.
Ouch! Let's not forget that, according to Forbes, Fox paid $54 million for the show's new lineup (including host Ryan Seacrest).
Perhaps the problem is not the judges, but the format. Reality television has been around since approximately 2000 — that's over a decade; and in all this time the genre has kept pretty much the same formulas (drama-inducing antagonisms, clashes of egos, mean judging etc.) that made it a novelty then, but might make them predictable and repetitive today.
Is it time for reality television shows like American Idol to try new formats?