'American Idol' returns with feuds, fame, fortune

Updated: 2013-01-17 10:42


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In a tense media appearance last week, the two divas claimed they had put their feud behind them, attributing the fight to passionate differences of opinion about the contestants auditioning for a chance to make it through to later rounds.

Newman said it would be a shame if the fight overshadows the show's original mission of finding new talent, an achievement that could prove the biggest boost to "Idol" ratings.

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"All these shows have become more about the contestants than the judges. It would be nice if 'American Idol,' as the one that started it all, got the focus back on the contestants.

"Ten years ago, people were really excited when they were voting for ('Idol' winners) Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood. There needs to be a powerhouse group of contestants who really capture people's interest, and who you want to root for," Newman said.

The new judges say that's what they want too.

"When I watch these shows and someone says yes to a person who clearly doesn't deserve it, it bothers me," Minaj told TV reporters last week. "And I want to jump through the TV because I feel like, for the people who are talented, it kind of minimizes how talented they really are. So when I came on, I didn't really have a problem with saying no, because I kind of felt like we're looking for the best of the best."

Aspiring rappers - never a group that has been embraced by "Idol" producers or fans - will get short shrift.

"I definitely don't think a rapper should be in this competition ... When I got involved in the competition, I specifically said, I hope they didn't try to do that because I was on the show, because I think America loves that it's an honest singing competition," Minaj said.

Related: Struggling Fox hopes for better new year

"American Idol" kicks off on Wednesday on Fox with a two-hour premiere, followed by a one-hour show on Thursday. Fox is a unit of News Corp.

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