“Idol” losing its luster

We knew at the end of “American Idol” last season that a change was coming.  We just didn’t know how big it was going to be.

Last season, Simon Cowell, America’s favorite truth-speaking Brit, announced that he would be leaving the show he had been a part of since 2002.  After his announcement, two other judges, Kara Dioguardi and Ellen Degeneres, also left “Idol.”

For some time now, people have wondered who would join Randy Jackson at the judges’ table this upcoming season.  Last Thursday, we had our answer.

Gone are the snarky Cowell, joke-cracking Degeneres, and the critical-yet-kind Dioguardi.  Instead, we have Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez.

Finally, actual singers back on the panel!  I never did understand how Degeneres was picked to judge a singing competition.

While it’s almost a relief that contestants will be critiqued by people who know what it’s like to be behind the microphone, the dynamic that “Idol” was known for is quickly slipping away.

It started when the ditzy and sweet Paula Abdul left the show in 2009.  With her on the panel, there was always fun and sarcastic banter between her and Cowell, with Jackson acting as the mediator of the group.  Dioguardi tried to keep up the wise-cracking persona that Abdul had perfected, but it fell flat.  The only thing left to remind viewers of the good old days were Cowell’s biting remarks.

And now, even those are gone.

It’s hard to predict what this new season of “Idol” will look like.  Will Lopez take on the role of wise music virtuoso, or will she become more of a sweet, complimentary friend than a judge?  She has the ability to be a success in front of the stage.  She can sing, she knows that image is important and she’s been on the scene for quite some time.  As long as she embraces her knowledge and experience, Lopez can without a doubt help find the next “American Idol.”  Tyler, on the other hand, will either create a whole new style of judging or become the next Abdul.  I know Tyler is a musical success, but he doesn’t strike me as the mentoring and star-building type.  But who knows?  He has the potential to surprise us.

And then there’s Jackson,  sweet, loveable Jackson, with his “yo, dawg” and a hearty laugh.  It’s up to him to keep the show afloat now. He’s the only one — other than Ryan Seacrest, the show’s host — who has been there since the beginning.  If he leaves, it will no longer be “American Idol.”

With this new panel of judges, the show will either sink or float.  With declining ratings in recent years, a change was definitely needed.  But is this enough change?  Is the removal of Simon going to be the thing that keeps the show alive?  Or do they need to do something even bigger?

I used to be an “Idol” fanatic.  In the past few years, however, I’ve just found the show to be boring and every season too similar to the last.  The one thing that kept me watching was Cowell’s amazing ability to make so many people cry.

What am I going to do now?