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"American Idol" (FOX, January 7)
So the conventional wisdom was that "American Idol" at least got the judges right last year, an occasionally smart, frequently topical, periodically substantive trio of Harry, Keith and J-Lo. However, those judges (and the "Idol" producers) didn't do such a great job of selecting contestants. Caleb Johnson won "American Idol" last year and I fear that, like Candice Glover before him, he's going to have a shelf-life befitting a "Voice" winner, not an "Idol" champ. Last year's "Idol" finalist were musically respectable, but low in personality, so just because Caleb could do epic rock karaoke, Jena could wail and Alex could Starbucks-ify any song didn't mean they were stars. Of course, overcompensating to recruit "personalities" hasn't really helped "Idol" in the past. Maybe the departure of Randy Jackson and the arrival of Scott Borchetta as mentor will help? Certainly Borchetta's arrival suggests another country winner wouldn't be the worst thing for "Idol," even if last year's country candidates were particularly starpower-weak. And we'll just have to see whether "Idol" sticks to its new one-night-a-week plan and if that somewhat stems the negative ratings tide.