Lauren Alaina Is Grateful to 'American Idol' for Jumpstarting Her Career, But …

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And Kelly Ripa's daytime show also was a "very desirable booking", notes one Fox source. In addition to the aforementioned "wig" discussion (one that continues after the contestant auditions), the episode finds Perry slow-dancing with one contestant, while giving another his first kiss.

AMERICAN IDOL 8 p.m. on ABC.

Frot-Coutaz adds that Idol on ABC is not more costly than other broad competition shows, and sources say it's not setting ABC back any more than a typical hourlong drama (those come in between $3.5 million and $4.5 million these days).

"There's still talent out there to be discovered", said Perry.

DEGGANS: That's Carrie Underwood, one of the most successful "Idol" alums.

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"I watched American Idol in Venezuela", she says, "and one of the reasons I wanted to come to the United States was to be on the show".

But in its final years, as viewers drifted away to others shows such as former "Idol" judge Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" or NBC's "The Voice", the "Idol" franchise looked done.

I was initially concerned that the show was again going in the celebrity judge direction, and especially after her hosting of the MTV Video Music Awards, Katy Perry's expensive casting did not give me hope.

The 68-year-old singer told People in a group interview that though he is ready to take on his fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, he hasn't needed to get too passionate yet. It's about watching the star be born right there in front of your eyes.

Is Ryan Seacrest going to be there?

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SEACREST: Welcome back home to the place where superstars are born. There are not many bad auditions in the first episode, but even the worst ones don't necessarily qualify as awful. "I was in their shoes ten years ago". His brand has been tarnished recently by allegations of sexual harassment that he denies. "I mean, I have a guy and this bass lake and his job is to grow the bass to the biggest bass in the world", Bryan admitted to laughter among the audience. It has a huge heart. "I'm a super-realist and we only want stars".

We're certain some of these hopefuls will be talented and some will be. not so talented.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And my dad was murdered when I was 5.

DEGGANS: This is a show that often goes down like comfort food, full of sentimentality and positive emotion.

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER #3: (Singing) Nobody likes me. The show hasn't indulged in Simon Cowell-level viciousness in ages, and won't likely go back anytime soon, but there's plenty of room for the clinical vivisections perfected by Harry Connick Jr. or even the freakish rantings of Steven Tyler. Call it American Idol Disney, or The Voice: Wish Upon a Star Edition, or, if you want to keep things musical, just sing its title to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club theme: A-M-E R-I-C A-N-I-D-O-L!

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