New "Idol' judges" veto divides fans
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A rule change giving "American Idol" judges the power of veto for the first time in the talent show's seven-year history divided fans and TV critics on Thursday, with some calling it "un-American".
The "Judges' Save", announced Wednesday night, gives the four-person panel on U.S. television's most-watched show the power to save one contestant from elimination by the public just once during a season.
The judges must be unanimous and the new rule only applies until the contest narrows to the final five singers.
For a show whose appeal rests largely on its viewer-driven voting format, the change was seen as radical and unexpected.
Raising a "Bravo" for the producers, MSNBC.com entertainment producer Gael Fashingbauer Cooper felt that taking a little power away from viewers was "a good thing."
"I trust (the judges') experienced musical judgment a little bit more than I trust the texting power of the audience," Cooper wrote in a comment column.
But Time.com's James Poniewozik called it bad TV, said it spoiled the elimination outrage fun, and dubbed it "un-American (Idol)".
"To the extent that 'Idol' sells itself as an exercise in democracy, in which you choose your next pop star, it needs to be pure," Poniewozik wrote in a blog on Thursday. Continued...