When "American Idol" premiered, nobody knew who Simon Cowell or Randy Jackson were and Paula Abdul was a washed-up pop star. My how things changed. In the past two years, the proliferation of singing competition shows have forced producers to constantly raise the ante on the stature of stars sitting on the judging panel. Coupled with constantly soaring salaries for the public faces of these shows, that has made what once was unthinkable into a regular occurrence. "Idol" went to Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. "The Voice" countered with Christina Aguilera, CeeLo, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton. After skipping starpower in its first season, "X Factor" had to counter with Britney Spears and Demi Lovato. "American Idol" had to respond with Mariah Carey, Keith Urban and Nicki Minaj. "The Voice" is going to return in the spring with Shakira and Usher. Remember when Simon Cowell left "Idol" and he and FOX insisted that the show was about the contestants, not about any one judge? That sounds mighty quaint, doesn't it?