A major shakeup is in the works for the fourth season of American Idol, this reporter has learned. A Setside Source close to people whose people know AI producer Simon Fuller’s people sat down for an exclusive interview over double-doubles protein-style at Hollywood’s trendy In-N-Out Burger on Sunset Boulevard.
“They spent a week watching tapes from the whole season,” A.S.S. revealed. “You know, reviewing what worked, what didn’t work. Basically, the only thing that worked in season three was Fantasia Barrino lying on the floor in front of the judges. The head honchos liked that so much they had her do it twice.”
A.S.S. said the new format will feature singers on the floor, in cages, and maybe even on leashes. However, the judges who have been stalwart staples since the show debuted two years ago are out and three new judges have been signed.
“Many viewers were repelled by Simon Cowell drooling over a 19-year-old single mother,” A.S.S. whispered knowingly. “Comments from the test audience include ‘too icky,’‘dirty old Brit,’ and ‘hasn't Fantasia suffered enough.’”
Slated to fill Simon Cowell’s leather chair is Howard Stern, who technically is Cowell’s elder. “But Howard did much better with the test audience,” said A.S.S. “He was rated ‘not as creepy’ and did especially well with males 18 to 35," a new demographic that the Idol crew is excited to draw.
Filling the Big Dawg collar of Randy Jackson is Snoop Dogg, who will bring his authentic brand of doggedness, as well as undeniable credibility with younger viewers that has been missing from the panel. According to A.S.S., Snoop is already putting his own stamp on the Idol formula. “Forget all those tired, old audition episodes,” cautioned A.S.S. “The first six weeks will feature Snoop and Howard doing Idol Girls Gone Wild.”
As has been rumored, the new minimum age for contestants will be 18, A.S.S. confirmed, but not for the obvious artistic reasons. “Jail bait,” A.S.S. said with a wink and a nod.
“Seacrest out” wasn’t just an annoying tag line; it was a harbinger of changes to come. To appeal to the teenage girls that the show cannot afford to lose, avuncular host Ryan Seacrest will be replaced by “that kid from Punk’d,” said A.S.S. Not Ashton Kutcher, but his underage sidekick from season one.
Filling the booster seat vacated by Paula Abdul is recently described suck-up Dorothy Lucey, seen weekdays on the nationally syndicated Good Day Live. This reporter found the notoriously nice Ms. Lucey with her son Nash at Chuck E. Cheese, where I shared my exclusive news. “You mean, I won’t be sitting next to my Simon?” she screeched. “I thought Paula was leaving because of the whole thumb nail thing.”
Howard Stern hailed the liberty judges enjoy to say and do as they please with no apparent consequences from the producers or the FCC. "American Idol is the last bastion of freedom on the airwaves in this era of repressive political correctness," said Robin Quivers, who confided that she is negotiating with Good Day Live to replace Cowell's girlfriend Terri Seymour as their feature reporter.
Simon Cowell issued a terse response. “The golden days of American Idol are over,” his spokesperson read from a press release. “When I left, Idol was merely a train wreck. Mark my words, this is going to be the Hindenburg.”