I'll admit it: I watch American Idol. In fact, I DVR Idol. Like, who doesn't, right? But can a brand that grew up with such strong personalities as Simon and Paula survive a(nother) changing of the guard?
From the sublime to the ridiculous. Last week NASCAR. This week American Idol. I'm a man of refined tastes.
I'll admit it: I watch American Idol. In fact, I DVR Idol. Like, who doesn't, right? Even though they (you!) have picked the wrong winner the last two years, I'm still holding true. I have faith. Despite the lack of Simon. And Paula. And my high school homegirl Kara. (Okay, so Kara only grew up in the town I happened to go to high school in. But, still, call me, k?) Regardless, I have faith.
But now Jennifer Lopez? Steven Tyler? Really? Throw Ryan in there and it's tough to pull the boys from the girls on the billboards around LA. This brand built on personalities is in a tail spin. It just won't work.
But. Hold on. It does work. Really. For three reasons.*
 Jennifer Lopez. J.Lo or whatever.Lo. She works. Boy, does she works. And nothing to do with her J.Looks. Some may argue otherwise, but she's a relevant** artist with a sensitive — non-sobby (mostly) — non-snobby — point of view. Straight up, forget that blabbering mess of a spazmodic dancer we had up until a few seasons ago. Jenny plain old classes up the block.
 Steven Tyler. Watch him. Watch him like he watches anything with legs. Seriously, actually watch this freak go about his business and you'll see that he's the most engaged judge ever. Ever. Checking his notes. Putting on his glasses. In some ways, I'll admit, though, I do wonder when he'll grow bored with the whole thing and just check out. But, for now, he's not just an addition to the show. He's a multiplication. And his interaction with J.Lo is great. So refreshing to see two musicians appreciating and enjoying — and sometimes performing along with — the contestants. Sometimes plain old enthusiasm is refreshing.
 Whether J.Lo and the Demon of Screamin' will be sitting in the judges' chairs next year or not, they're the future of the American Idol brand. Maybe not them specifically. But the realization that the individual personalities sitting at the judges' table just aren't the American Idol brand. Simon and Paula who? You've been long-forgotten. And, all of a sudden, Randy — Dog, oh Dog — I hate to say it, but you're fast becoming the irrelevant one. A few smart decisions from season to season and this brand will, um, have legs for years to come.
*There were four reasons, but the Harvard girl was cut his week so I'm back to three. Call me, k?
*Okay there are still four reasons. The talent seems to be better and deeper than ever.
**Remember, I'm forty-something so "relevant" is a relative word. Axl Rose is still relevant to me.