Speculation just what will happen when American Idol 2013 premieres tonight at p.m. EST is all over the place from fans and haters alike. Some are predicting the show’s final collapse, while others remain staunchly in its corner. American Idol producers love to focus on the idea they are the only ones to produce ‘real’ stars.

This season’s slogan screams superiority over all other talent reality shows: “Others dream, Idol delivers.” But will this season succeed in actually launching another future music icon like Kelly Clarkson or Jennifer Hudson? Or will American Idol season 12 end up producing yet another flash-in-the-pan winner whose name we can’t remember next year?

Much ado has been made about the new American Idol 2013 judges, and whether the show has put too much attention on them as opposed to the actual competition. During a recent media call, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said the pre-season drama was not something he welcomed. Whether that’s true or not, the spotlight is on them, their massive paychecks, their crazy fashions, and their feuding onscreen and off.

Publications like the Huffington Post are asking, along with the show’s fans — will this be a multi-million dollar mistake, like putting Britney Spears at the judges table on X Factor? As HuffPo’s Lynn Elber said, the show “needs every edge as its audience erodes and other contests emerge as challengers.”

FOX President of Alternative Programming Mike Darnell, who seems to have been on a whirlwind media blitz defending Idol against its detractors, begs to differ with this theory. As he said, American Idol continues to be “the king of shows. This is the one and the only one that makes stars, period. And I think people will keep coming back to it for that reason.”
 
Mike said of the American Idol 2013 judges via USA Today, “It is a lively, entertaining, passionate, argumentative, incredible panel ...They’re more active than the judges were last year. There’s more arguments, more disagreements, just a lot more debate.”
 
This could go over very well with the viewers, as the online buzz last year showed viewers felt the judges were far too agreeable, which made their commentary a bit of a snooze. While American Idol did see an initial bump in the ratings with Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, it subsequently dropped 28% among young adults in their second season, and their lack of controversy could have been part of the downward trend.  

The one judge who really stood out during the show’s 45-minute online (and in-theater) preview was Nicki Minaj. But not everyone thinks this is a good thing. As Atlanta Journal-Constitution blogger Rodney Ho said, Nicki “kind of sucked the oxygen out of the room, for better or for worse.”

What is your prediction? Will the show remain the ratings juggernaut that it’s been, or will it finally “jump the shark”?

Sources: Huffington Post, USA Today