Why Idol Is So Much Better Without Paula

OK, we admit: We're not entirely convinced American Idol is soooo much better without Paula Abdul. The woman, after all, does make unscripted TV soooo deliciously unscripted.
But by all accounts, Abdul is moving on, Fox is moving on—and it's time we move on. To do that, we convince ourselves that this unwanted divorce will propel TV's No. 1 show to new heights. Here goes:
1. Say goodbye to TiVo trouble! Without Abdul around to ramble assess the contestants, live-show nights will adhere to their previously programmed time slots.
2. With the show running like clockwork, the four-judge panel format will work. Finally!
3. With the four-judge panel format working—finally!—we will no longer chew our lips in agitation during Kara DioGuardi's air time.
4. Simon Cowell and Abdul won't have to get married! And if you watch enough TV, you know very well what we're talking about, and you know very well where the Cowell-Abdul storyline was headed: Maybe one more year of flirtation, then, by season 10—bam!—they're hitched, with a baby. And you know what you've got then? Five judges on the panel.
5. No matter the overriding philosophy of the late, great Jump the Shark, change is good! Says TV historian Tim Brooks: "There are many shows that have been renewed and revived when one of the core castmembers leaves."
6. Kirstie Alley saves! Sure, Alley was only goofing last week when she tweeted that she was replacing Abdul, but according to Brooks, Idol should only be so lucky. Brooks cites Cheers' Alley hire as one of the all-time great prime-time substitutions.
The key, says Brooks, is to go for "a very different kind of replacement," i.e., Alley's by-the-book, corporate bar owner for Shelley Long's flighty, eggheady barmaid, and not a fake Darren, à la Bewitched.
7. Say hello to more tension! As long as Idol doesn't go the fake Abdul route, then the already-stressed contestants won't have a safe harbor on the judges' panel. Posh Spice, for one, is far more likely to blow up somebody's head with her laser-beam glare than to dispense even a smidgen of unconditional Paula love.
8. Change isn't just good, it's necessary! Admit it: You're an Idol fan who got a teensy bit bored with the show this past season, but now can't wait for the competition to return in January.
Mostly to see if Abdul isn't really coming back.



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