I know this will sound a little doomsday-ish of me, but lately it's hard to shake the feeling that each new season could potentially be American Idol's last. There's always some foreboding sign that the end is near: bad ratings buzz (though even when it's down, it's still been bigger than anything else on TV), rumors that Paula has totally lost her mind is leaving the show, the departure of executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, the simple fact that few shows ever go beyond eight seasons, etc.
So I'm greeting tonight's return of Idol with joy and relief. The Idol powers that be are always promising improvements, but this year a lot of things are being changed up, including a return to the wild card round, a longer Hollywood Week, and adding a new fourth judge. It seems to me that if these things don't make the this-could-be-the-end vibes go away, nothing will, so I'm curious to see how it turns out.
Are you ready for a new season of American Idol? Do you think a fourth judge will make a difference? What part of the show are you most looking forward to? I personally want to see if any of the San Francisco hopefuls I hung out with make it on the air!