American Idol: Simon Cowell Leaving, Can the Show Survive Without Him?

Simon CowellFOX’s ratings juggernaut, American Idol, is heading into its ninth season. Almost from the beginning, people have been trying to figure out what makes the show so popular. Many believe that a key element is the judges with their very different personalities.

When Paula Abdul announced that she was leaving last year, some believed that her absence would cause viewership to tumble. Most don’t think it will have much of an impact — especially with popular Ellen DeGeneres set to take her place.

Most agree that Simon Cowell would be a much bigger loss and would potentially be a showkiller. We’ll get to see if that theory holds up because FOX and Cowell have now announced that this will be his last season on the show.

The cranky judge will be leaving Idol to launch an American version of his popular UK talent series, The X Factor. The British version is similar to Idol except that participants can be 14 years and up. Finalists are split into groups and mentored by one of the judges.

How much will Cowell's departure hurt Idol?

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The two series will both be on FOX and will air at different times of the year so they won’t be in direct competition. X Factor is expected to start next fall and Idol will stay in its traditional mid-season spot. (So You Think You Can Dance will return to the summer schedule after an unimpressive trial run last fall.)

Cowell said that FOX execs tried to find a way so that he could do both Idol and X Factor but, because he’s also committed to the UK’s X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, it just wasn’t possible.

It’s possible that Cowell’s fellow judges from the British X Factor, Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole, may be invited to join him in the states. There’s also a strong possibility that Abdul may join the team as well.

Of Abdul, Cowell said, “I adore Paula, and whatever happens, I will be working with her in some capacity because I miss her.” Abdul twittered a message that seemed to indicate that talks were going on behind the scenes. She wrote, “Hey Guys! I’m not ignoring all of your tweets regarding me, X Factor and Simon leaving AI. I look forward to being able to answer all your questions very soon!’

Idol host Ryan Seacrest and judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi were publicly supportive of Cowell’s move. DeGeneres joked, “He announced he’s leaving on my first day. I’m trying not to take it personally. He wanted a change and I wish him all the luck in the world hosting The Tonight Show.

All joking aside, the question remains how much of an impact will Cowell’s departure have on Idol? While the reality show is still very popular, the ratings have dropped over the past couple years. Will this latest shakeup cause the audience to erode further and faster?

What do you think? Will Cowell leaving hurt or even kill American Idol? Will X Factor succeed? Can they both succeed or will it be too much?

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13 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. kp says

    I thought about leaving this year which is the worst idol year ever(see idol rewind to remember how it once was).The show JUMPED THE SHARK by adding ellen who i liked on her sitcoms and daytime show but not idol.I give it 2 more seasons unless they hire someone interesting.we all knew kara was gonna be paula’s replacement so we can deal with her but ellen is not even funny on this show.debbie gibson tiffany jessica simpson ashanti vitamin c toni braxton natalie imbrulia or merchant cyndi lauper gloria estafan jewel brandy or monica would have been on my speed dial if i were an idol executive.

  2. tay says

    Fox Network and Idol should not have never agreed to give Paula job to ellen she is a comedian, actress, talk show host she has no type of back ground what so ever in music they didn’t even try to work with Paula on a pay rise but yet they can give a nobody like Ryan Seacrest a top dollar raise all he does is read of a promptor with a few words being of his own that right there was and is a slap in the face to Paula, she was well deserving of a top dollar raise more than Seacrest she has the back ground in music because she is a singer and choregrapher and actress what can Seacrest and Ellen do on that back ground Paula has. since this new season started with Ellen you can clearly see she is so out of place she has no chemstry with no one she does and always seem lost for words she even seems to be not happy on the panel. they really should have replace Paula with a another african American female judge and not with a white clueless person like Ellen indeed this will be it for Idol once Simion leaves it already going down hill now with the absence of Paula. they need to take this show off the air after this season ends because once X Factor begins as far as I and others see it Idol will be over with sense that show has no age limit and you will be able to do anything on that show so just let Idol end maybe put it back on air in five years just give it a rest for now.

  3. James Mobile says

    I will miss Simon he was the one judge that knew that this was show of elimination unlike Paula (who will not be missed).

  4. Al Pryor says

    I enjoyed Simon on the show but I will no longer watch anyway with DeGeneres on it. Of course what happened to her last night?

  5. Annette says

    I think Simon leaving will be very detrimental to the show. I also think Kara needs to be gone! I can’t stand to watch it because of her. She brings down the show….go Kara, stay Simon!

  6. Sean says

    Quite frankly, I think that when Simon leaves this show will go under. Honestly, I think this show has barely been treading water for the past few seasons. It’s not that interesting anymore, and we never see much out of the “Idol” winners. It’s starting to become the same exact thing every season and I think that it’s about time they call it quits.

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