Fox: 'American Idol' contestants need to improve

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How can Fox improve American Idol? According to the network’s top executive, it’s the contestants that could use some upgrading.

Fox Networks Group chairman Peter Rice told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour in Beverly Hills on Sunday that Idol is “aging gracefully,” and that increased competition from shows like NBC’s The Voice are a factor in the former ratings kingpin’s declining popularity. Yet the executive had one specific note for improving the show itself, which is carrying over last season’s judges panel of Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. into next year’s 14th season.

“It’s been a very competitive year for singing shows,” Rice said. “Idol has a very committed fan base. If I had a criticism of the show, it’s that we haven’t found a group kids the last two years who really captured the imagination of the public. We talked about it this year—how do we focus on that and not get wrapped up in this constant conversation about the judges and how good they are?”

One critic asked if Rice ever thinks that — given all the TV karaoke shows mining the talent pool in recent years — if maybe there aren’t any great singing kids left.

“They’re always making more,” the executive replied.


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