11 Things to Expect on ‘American Idol’ Season 12

American Idol Season 12: Randy Jackson, Mariah Carey, Ryan Seacrest, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Cast photo New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Nicki Minaj New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Keith Urban New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Mariah Carey New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Ryan Seacrest New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Randy Jackson

American Idol is ready to kick off a new season with new judges, new contestants, and new rules.

Host Ryan Seacrest was joined by veteran judge, Randy Jackson, and the three most recent additions to the Idol family, new judges Keith Urban, Mariah Carey, and Nicki Minaj, for a screening of the Season 12 premiere episode and a fan Q&A on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

It seems FOX may have struck an unlikely high note by placing a country crooner, a bona fide diva, and a larger-than-life rapper at the judges’ table. Aside from the new faces, there’s a new dynamic on the judging panel. Four votes instead of three will make tie breaking tricky, and two divas in one studio has proven to be, shall we say, a delicate situation.

With all the changes happening on the Idol front, some things, like an instigating Seacrest, remain the same.

Here are 11 things you can expect to see when Idol returns next Wednesday.

1. Randy is the new Simon. The veteran judge isn’t pulling any punches. He’ll say what he feels, even if it isn’t nice. “I feel like I’m at a bad auction and Kevin just tried to sell me a bad lawnmower I don’t want,” he said of a less than stellar contestant from Iowa.

2. Nicki is a friendly flirt. Who knew Miss Minaj was such a flirt? Expect to see her getting hot and bothered at the sight of the handsome, hunky male contestants. She’ll also show a softer side when it comes to rejection time, often going out of her way to console weepy rejects before sending them home. She told one especially bad contestant, ”You’re so special. Just not for this competition,” before kissing him on the cheek and making his day.

3. Mariah lives up to her diva rep. Expect to see Mimi a little perturbed when things don’t run smoothly. She admits the journey has been a learning experience and that she has always “worked for herself.” In other words, she doesn’t always play so well with others. But, she’s trying.

4. Inspirational contestants. Ashley Feliciano won the panel over with her story as much as her voice. The 20-year-old from Connecticut auditioned with the support of her heroic family, who adopts special needs children from foster care. Her rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” had the judges seeing stars. Her story almost moved Nicki to tears, prompting her comment, “I’m so inspired by you and so many girls will be too.”

5. Tear-jerking moments. There are always a few sob stories on the Idol stage. But this year, Lazarus Arbos takes the cake. The 21-year-old Cuban immigrant from Naples, Fla. struggles to speak through a serious stutter, but finds his voice while singing. His turn at Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” blew the judges away and will likely melt hearts across the country.

6. William Hung, reloaded. Of course, not all auditions lead to Hollywood, but they’re so fun to watch! This year’s standout will certainly be 15-year-old James Bae of Long Island, N.Y. His try at Justin Bieber’s “One Less Lonely Girl” was equal parts horrific and hilarious. Still, the judges let him down easy with Mariah asking, “Have you considered being a deejay.” After being rejected, he asked Nicki if they could “collide” (instead of “collaborate”).

7. The claws come out. While you may have expected as much after rumblings of an on-going Nicki/Mariah feud permeated the news surrounding this season, the two will definitely have some heated moments on-camera. They bump heads more than once during auditions and still have a long way to go. With Mariah’s notorious diva-like sensibilities, and Nicki’s no-holds-barred approach to… everything… sparks will certainly fly this season.

8. Crazy auditions. From Nicki wannabes to all-out weirdos, this season is sure to deliver some crazy auditions. One standout is Iowa native Kevin Nabiti, who tried to impress the judges with his [dancing?] and quick tongue. He puzzled the panel with his turn at Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week,” we think.

9. Fiery frontrunners. While some came to play, others came to win. Case in point, 28-year-old Tenna Torres, who wowed the judges with Carole King’s classic, “You’ve Got a Friend.” The Queens, N.Y. native attended Camp Mariah at age 13 and even sang for her as a child. She brought photos of her time there to show her idol and Mariah decided to keep them.

10. Hunky heartthrobs. With two female judges calling the shots, you’re likely to see a few questionable cuties make it through to the Hollywood round. Twenty-two-year-old Griffin Peterson had both ladies swooning after his rendition of “Wash By The Water.” They made sure to overrule Randy’s objections and send the sexy singer through to Hollywood.

11. Keith as a referee. The country crooner will serve double duty as judge and referee between Nicki and Mariah. During the divas’ disagreements, Keith is left in the middle to settle the score more times than not. His weapon of choice? Humor. Minaj revealed that Urban is actually hilarious and that his quick-witted, dry humor has been a welcomed relief from some tense moments on-set.

American Idol returns next Wednesday at 8PM on FOX.

– Cortney Wills

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

‘American Idol’ Judges Explain What They’re Looking For

American Idol Season 12 Ryan Seacrest and Judges Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Cast photo New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Nicki Minaj New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Keith Urban New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Mariah Carey New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Ryan Seacrest New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Randy Jackson

FOX’s upcoming twelfth season of American Idol is sure to draw some curiosity with three new superstar judges whose backgrounds couldn’t be more different.

“It will be quite fun as you watch their different styles of judging and what they’re looking for,” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, 63, told the audience during Wednesday’s premiere screening event in Los Angeles.

Mariah [Carey], I think, is looking for that singer/songwriter, that’s a true star, Nicki Minaj is looking for somebody that isn’t just there for their voice, but there for their performance, their charisma and everything else. Keith Urban is looking for an authentic singer, someone who is credible. Randy Jackson, I’d say, is looking for someone who sings on pitch,” he continued.

Their backgrounds couldn’t be more diverse. Jackson, 56, the veteran Idol judge has been with the show since its debut season more than a decade ago. Carey is a power vocalist and arguably one of the most celebrated voices of our time. Thirty-year-old Minaj is a relatively new celebrity (compared to Carey). She’s a rapper and pop princess who likes to employ several personalities, sometimes simultaneously. And Urban is an Australian country singer. Each has different styles, different perspectives, and different ideas on what they’re looking for from this year’s hopefuls.

Jackson seems pretty confident about his formula for finding the right contestants. “There are three things that are really big characteristics for me,” the musician said. “They are uniqueness, unbelievable talent, and star power. Those are the three things a great artist needs and will give you a shot at a great career.”

On the other hand, Urban is a bit more emotional about what he’s looking for in contestants. “The reality is that we all react differently to different things and so I think for me, at the end of the day, it has to speak to me,” he said.

“If a person is creating art and saying something in a way that I’m captivated by that person and I can’t take my eyes off that person, that’s it for me.”

Minaj confirmed Lythgoe’s assertion that she’s looking for an all-around entertainer more than a standout vocalist saying, “I think that it’s something where you’ll know it when you’re in the same room with it.

“If you named the 10 biggest stars out right now, who would you say has a Whitney Houston voice? That’s just not where we are right now,” the hip-hop artist elaborated. “So, I think that because of this day and time, I’m looking for an overall entertainer. [I’m looking for] someone who is going to captivate people with or without music.”

Carey, 42, says she’s still learning what she wants in a contestant. And so far, her choices have spanned from favoring street performers to strong vocalists.

“To me it doesn’t matter, “ she said. “They can be unique in some way, different in another way. It’s a learning experience for me and what I’ve seen is that diversity plays into it in a deep way.”

American Idol returns to FOX on Wednesday at 8PM.

– Cortney Wills

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Britney Spears Avoiding the Axe? Singer Quits ‘X Factor’ (EXCLUSIVE DETAILS)

The X Factor The X Factor The X Factor The X Factor The X Factor The X Factor The X Factor

Britney Spears may be going on the offensive in response to the news that FOX’s The X Factor producers are preparing to let her go.

Despite FOX boss Kevin Reilly’s recent comment that Spears is welcome to return to the show, industry sources tell Celebuzz exclusively that planning meetings for Season 3 have been underway and that her participation going forward isn’t on the docket.

But, according to TMZ’s sources, Spears is resigning from the singing competition to focus on her music, even though “she loves the show.”

“Britney loves Simon, she likes Demi Lovatobut her thing is music,” says one source.

Viewers are probably not surprised that the Princess of Pop won’t be continuing on with the show. She was the subject of harsh criticism among the media and viewers.

Spears completed her first season on The X Factor on Dec. 27. And about a week later, reports spread that the show’s producers had decided to fire the singer. Despite hopes her tenure would be a long one, sources said producers felt “it isn’t working.”

Hired (along with Lovato) to fill one of the empty seats vacated by fired Season 1 judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger, Spears created a lot of buzz, but the show’s ratings still failed to improve upon last year’s numbers.

Viewership reached a season high of 9.6 million viewers during its finale. The bad news is that the viewership for the live finale results show still represented a drop from the 12.6 million viewers who watched the grand finale last season.

Spears is currently recording her eighth album with producer and “Scream And Shout” duet partner Will.I.Am and producer Hit-Boy. On top of that, she’s considering a tour after completing the album.

A tour could be a way to recoup the $15 million paycheck she’s giving up. The 31-year-old’s last world tour, which ended in August 2011, made $37.1 million and sold out 14 of the 39 shows according to Billboard.

Combined with L.A. Reid’s resignation from the show, Spears’ exit opens the door for two new judges on Season 3.

Spears’ rep and the show’s spokespersons didn’t immediately respond to Celebuzz’s request for comment.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Nicki Minaj Believes Rappers Don’t Belong on ‘American Idol’

Nicki Minaj

There’s an ongoing debate among viewers as to whether there’s a place for rappers on TV talent competitions — especially as they’re showing up on recent seasons of NBC’s The Voice and FOX’s The X Factor.

But, new American Idol judge Nicki Minaj doesn’t think there’s a place for them on her show.

“I definitely don’t think a rapper should be in this competition,” Minaj said at Tuesday’s Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.

The platinum album-selling Minaj says it all comes down to authenticity for hip hop artists. “The hip hop community wants you to be credible,” she explained.

“They want to know that you really went through a certain thing in your life. This is different,” the 30-year-old rapper continued. “With singing, people really don’t care what you’ve necessarily gone through… But with rap, it’s different. So I would never go on a show like this as a rapper, and I wouldn’t encourage anyone else to come on as a rapper.”

For what it’s worth, Minaj’s fellow judge and sometime combatant, Mariah Carey, also says, “I personally would never have wanted to do this type of show.” But for the superstar diva, whose first album was released back in 1990, that decision would have been based on how ill-prepared she was for stardom as a young girl.

“I think I was a little bit shy and unpolished in the beginning in order to be on one of these shows, which, at that time, you would have had to be a little bit more showy and have your whole thing together,” Carey, 42, explains.

“Whereas, I just wanted people to hear me for my voice and for my songs that I was writing, and I didn’t have very many clothes or outfits or things,” she continued. “So that part of the competition would have been out the window. I had my one black dress, my one pink dress. That was it.”

American Idol returns to FOX on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8PM.

Do you think Minaj is right in saying rappers don’t belong on Idol? Sound off in the comments below.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Keith Urban Says ‘American Idol’ Didn’t Steal Him From ‘The Voice Australia’

Keith Urban Winter 2013 TCA Audi Arrivals At The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals Audi Arrivals At The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals Audi Arrivals At The 64th Primetime Emmy Awards 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Arrivals

A longtime fan of TV talent shows, Keith Urban jumped at the chance to be a judge on The Voice Australia when offered the job early last year. So, it came as a surprise to producers when the country music star announced he would not be returning for a second season.

“I couldn’t do that show again, because I was making the record, I’m literally making it right now, will be for the next couple of months,” he told reporters earlier this week about recording in the U.S., which kept him from returning to Australia. “Then Idol came along and it was perfect timing.”

A longtime Idol follower, he recalled watching the 2008 season finale with wife, Nicole Kidman when David Cook and David Archuletawere competing for top honors. Late for a dinner appointment, the celebrity couple decided to record the show and watch it afterward.

“I kid you not, the show must have run like 30 seconds over or something, and the TiVo cut out,” Urban recalled with dismay. “Ryan [Seacrest] is saying, ‘And the winner is, David…’ and it stopped. And we just sat there, gobsmacked going ‘Who won?’”

As for joining Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Randy Jackson on the Idol panel, Urban has few reservations about leveling harsh criticism at undeserving contestants.

“I’ve probably benefitted more from naysayers in my life,” he confessed. “It’s more so been the people who’ve said, ‘Terrible, you’ll never do any good at this. This is not your thing.’ Those people have actually been more beneficial to me than the people who’ve believed in me in the long run because I think they just gave fuel to my fire.”

But don’t expect to see him running roughshod over contestants on the show. Urban knows that most people realize when they’ve delivered a lackluster performance and while it’s important to be honest with them, there’s no need for piling on.

Although he claims to have learned the most from negative criticism, he confessed it still hurts when it’s leveled at him. “I don’t mind that it hurts me when people are negative or critical,” he revealed. “I’d like to think that my spirit is still pretty close to the surface. I wouldn’t like to think it’s so buried I can’t find it under my thick skin. Being immune to it, that starts to get into a dangerous place for any of us.”

Despite the well-publicized feud between judges Minaj and Carey, Urban enjoys the spirit of shows like The Voice and Idol.

“I’ve watched Idol for years, so it’s a bit surreal to move from the couch to the desk,” he marveled, joking, “Next up, X Factor! TV talent show whore, yes!”

American Idol premieres Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8 PM on FOX.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Mariah Carey: How My Children Influenced My Decision to Join ‘American Idol’

mariah carey nick cannon dem babies family kids mariah carey nick cannon dem babies family kids mariah carey nick cannon dem babies family kids mariah carey nick cannon dem babies family kids mariah carey nick cannon dem babies family kids mariah carey nick cannon dem babies family kids mariah carey nick cannon dem babies family kids

Music fans got a jolt last July when Mariah Carey signed on to become a judge on FOX’s American Idol. But after giving birth to twins in 2011, the pop diva felt like she needed to stop touring and settle down with husband, actor and America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon, and babies Moroccan and Monroe.

“I don’t know that I felt like this would ever be necessarily the right fit for me, but then it turned out really working well after I had the babies and everything,” Carey told reporters at the Television Critics Association Press Tour on Tuesday.

“You can kind of stay in one place and let them feel grounded and have fun and go to children’s museums and all that kind of stuff,” she continued.

With more than 200 million record sales, Carey is one of the biggest-selling artists in music history. So what does she sing to her babies to put them to sleep?

“We found this thing called Babies Love MC,” she said about a collection of songs on iTunes that carried lullaby versions of her songs, which were not approved by the Carey camp and later pulled down.

“They’ve even got the song ‘Obsessed’ on there,” she said about her tune featuring lyrics that read, “Why you so obsessed with me? Boy, I want to know, lyin’ that you’re sexin’ me.”

“I’m like, ‘You really want babies listening to ‘Obsessed’? But there’s no lyrics, they’re just hearing the melodies,” she assured reporters. “So I’ll go in there and sing along with them, into the nursery. Sometimes I’ll sing ‘Hero,’ it could be ‘We Belong Together,’ they even have ‘Shake It Off.’ So it’s great to sing to them, even just to sing one note and hear them be on pitch, that’s major.”

And what did Carey’s mom sing to her when she was a baby? When the New York native first heard Harry Nilsson’ssong, ‘Without You,’ playing as muzak in an Italian restaurant in Florida, she turned to her dining partner and said, “I think I should remake this.” She did, and the single became a huge hit. Little did Carey know her own mother used to sing her the very same song when she was just a baby.

“I don’t remember that happening but she said that and I believe her,” she confided about her first exposure to pop music.

“I grew up with a mom who was an opera singer in a family that’s biracial with a lot of R&B music playing, soul music,” she recalled. “I’ve had this sort of love of music that’s carried me through my life and gotten me through the deepest darkest times in my life.”

Carey’s white mother, Patricia Hickey, was ostracized from her family for eloping with Carey’s father, Alfred Roy, an African-American and Venezuelan. The strain was too much for their relationship and when Carey was three, her parents were divorced.

As a person of mixed race, she felt ostracized in the neighborhood where she grew up and took refuge in music, an experience that helped shape her career behind the mic as well as her new position as a judge on Idol.

“When I look at a lot of these contestants, I can kind of see something in some of them if they have that hurt, if they have that extra feeling,” she said. “If I have to say no, that means it’s going to be a better life experience for them. It happened to me. I was told no a lot of times. You just need that extra bit of time.”

American Idol returns Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8PM on FOX.

What do you think of Mariah’s musical secret weapon in the nursery?

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Katharine McPhee Says Her ‘American Idol’ Stint ‘Did Exactly What It’s Supposed to Do’

katharine mcphee TCA Winter 2013 Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes

American Idol fans got a chuckle out of last year’s promos for the first season of NBC’s Smash, which featured the line, “Introducing Katharine McPhee.”

Of course, she wasn’t new to them. McPhee was the runner-up on the fifth season of Idol and went on to make three modestly selling albums. But, a recording career wasn’t really her aim.

“I just kind of wanted to be an actress,” McPhee admitted this week at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.

“And I thought like, ‘Oh, OK, I need a better agent. So, I’m going to go on American Idol and see if I can get some good exposure,” she continued. “I had no idea I would do as well as I did. But with that came huge record contracts and all that stuff. I didn’t realize that I was going to suddenly have to have an identity as a musician, and I wasn’t ready for that.”

So, what’s McPhee’s advice for new Idol contenders? “You really should know who you are as a musician, because what was sort of a big challenge for me coming off of the show,” she advised.

Singing, of course, is still central to her role on NBC’s musical drama. She plays Karen Cartwright, a small town singer and actress who moves to New York City trying to become a Broadway musical star. So, while McPhee may not have wanted to be a musician, she told reporters that she would never tell an Idol contender not to take the competition seriously. “It’s something that could really change your life,” she said.

“[I’m] grateful that it’s done what it was supposed to do, which was get you that platform and get you to that next thing,” the 28-year-old said. “So, I’m very grateful for it, but it’s not something that I feel like I have a life identity where I wake up every morning and say, ‘I was on ‘American Idol.’”

That doesn’t mean McPhee isn’t keeping up on the show. She is up on the news of the new judges, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. But, not only does the actress believe she “was a different person” back then, but so was the FOX talent competition.

“For me, it’s such a different show now than when I was on the show,” she said. “I mean, they get so many more things than we ever just in terms of earpieces and things like that, the rehearsal time that they get that we didn’t have when we on the show. It’s just a very different show.”

Smash returns to NBC on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 9PM. And American Idol is back on FOX on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8PM.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Katharine McPhee Says Her ‘American Idol’ Stint ‘Did Exactly What It’s Supposed to Do’

katharine mcphee TCA Winter 2013 Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes Katharine McPhee at 2012 Golden Globes

American Idol fans got a chuckle out of last year’s promos for the first season of NBC’s Smash, which featured the line, “Introducing Katharine McPhee.”

Of course, she wasn’t new to them. McPhee was the runner-up on the fifth season of Idol and went on to make three modestly selling albums. But, a recording career wasn’t really her aim.

“I just kind of wanted to be an actress,” McPhee admitted this week at the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.

“And I thought like, ‘Oh, OK, I need a better agent. So, I’m going to go on American Idol and see if I can get some good exposure,” she continued. “I had no idea I would do as well as I did. But with that came huge record contracts and all that stuff. I didn’t realize that I was going to suddenly have to have an identity as a musician, and I wasn’t ready for that.”

So, what’s McPhee’s advice for new Idol contenders? “You really should know who you are as a musician, because what was sort of a big challenge for me coming off of the show,” she advised.

Singing, of course, is still central to her role on NBC’s musical drama. She plays Karen Cartwright, a small town singer and actress who moves to New York City trying to become a Broadway musical star. So, while McPhee may not have wanted to be a musician, she told reporters that she would never tell an Idol contender not to take the competition seriously. “It’s something that could really change your life,” she said.

“[I’m] grateful that it’s done what it was supposed to do, which was get you that platform and get you to that next thing,” the 28-year-old said. “So, I’m very grateful for it, but it’s not something that I feel like I have a life identity where I wake up every morning and say, ‘I was on ‘American Idol.’”

That doesn’t mean McPhee isn’t keeping up on the show. She is up on the news of the new judges, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban. But, not only does the actress believe she “was a different person” back then, but so was the FOX talent competition.

“For me, it’s such a different show now than when I was on the show,” she said. “I mean, they get so many more things than we ever just in terms of earpieces and things like that, the rehearsal time that they get that we didn’t have when we on the show. It’s just a very different show.”

Smash returns to NBC on Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 9PM. And American Idol is back on FOX on Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 8PM.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Mariah Carey: Nicki Minaj Feud Was ‘One-Sided’

American Idol Mariah Carey Keith Urban Nicki Minaj New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Cast photo New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Nicki Minaj New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Keith Urban New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Mariah Carey New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Ryan Seacrest New 'American Idol' Judges Shoot New York Auditions: Randy Jackson

Reporters got a little taste of what it’s like to see a disagreement between American Idol judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj go down.

FOX gathered the reality competition’s judges and producers in Pasadena for the Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Tuesday. And, naturally, questions arose about the much-reported feud between Carey and Minaj, which reached a fever pitch when the two sparred in a leaked video during auditions.

“The whole thing was convoluted,” Carey, 42, said. “You know what it is? It’s a distraction from the show and it’s a distraction from the contestants. And I think it’s unfair to them, really. It shouldn’t be about any of us sitting up here, it should be about the contestants.”

But, of course, the public still wants to know. The entire panel seemed to have their talking points on the feud: That sometimes things get heated when the judges disagree and that they actually want them to be passionate about the contestants.

But, there was a moment when Carey may have gone rogue. A reporter asked how the two of them got past that very angry fight caught on tape.

Carey replied, “I did nothing and here we are.” Then, she added, “It was all one-sided.”

To which Minaj scowled, “No, it wasn’t.”

American Idol returns Jan. 16 at 8 PM on FOX.

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

Midseason TV Preview: Standouts From 21 New Shows in 2013 (PHOTOS)

It’s a new year and that means the networks are rolling the dice on series to fill the time slots vacated by their fall fails and while their hits shoot more episodes.

There are some definite trends in the midseason offerings like suburban housewives who find their world evolving (ABC’s Red Widow, NBC’s Save Me).

And grown children returning to the nest (ABC’s How to Live With Your Parents and Family Tools, FOX’s The Goodwin Games).

How about a return to the 80s (The CW’s Carrie Diaries, FX’s The Americans)?

Or, manly men who are having their beliefs challenged (FOX’s The Following, NBC’s Do No Harm, The CW’s Cult)?

In the above gallery, I’ve compiled a list of 21 new shows premiering during the midseason. And, below I’ve listed some new offerings that pique my interest the most from the batch.

Dramas:

  • As a Sex and the City fan, I’m really looking forward to The CW’s Carrie Diaries, which follows the development of the future sex columnist as a 16-year-old in 1984.
  • There’s so much to love about what FX’s The Americans has to offer. Felicity fans get Keri Russell, Brothers & Sisters fans get Matthew Rhys. There’s spy intrigue set in the Cold War era. Can. Not. Wait.
  • Speaking of historical dramas, I’m definitely curious about History Channel’s first scripted series The Vikings. Not only because I love the blend of history and fantasy (Starz’s Spartacus!), but Elizabeth, The Tudors and Camelot’s Michael Hirst is behind this project.
  • Grappling for my attention are FOX’s The Following and The CW’s Cult. Both explore extreme fanaticism and star two actors I appreciate: Kevin Bacon (in his TV series premiere) and Matt Davis (formerly of The Vampire Diaries).

Comedies:

  • NBC has already previewed 1600 Penn for audiences in December, but I promise it doesn’t lose the pilot’s hilarity (and further builds on defining its characters really well) as the season continues. As my TV reporter colleagues have pointed out, Josh Gad is a lot. But, there’s some great stuff coming for the other actors.
  • The Goodwin Games doesn’t have a premiere date yet, but it’s definitely a competitive entry into the midseason comedy ring. Not only does Ugly Betty star Becki Newton get another chance at a series (I did enjoy Love Bites, judge me), but Scott Foley gets to flex his comic muscles again too (see his stints on Cougar Town and Scrubs).

Reality:

  • Premiering New Year’s Day Tuesday at 8 PM, TLC follows 90s girl group TLC member Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins as she moves to L.A. to jumpstart her music career again. She was always the most interesting member of TLC for me, so I’m interested to see how her unique gravelly vocals work as a soloist and years later.
  • Bravo goes deeper into the professional life of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills castmember Lisa Vanderpump with her spinoff Vanderpump Rules, which previews as a backdoor pilot as part of a two-hour RHOBH on Monday at 9 PM. Again, Lisa has been one of the most colorful additions to the franchise for me, so I’m way more interested in seeing her manage the staff than the drama between them. That could change as I get to know the cast, though.
  • I’m certain Foodies will find something to love about the new reality competition from ABC, The Taste, which combines elements of Top Chef with the winners judged in blind taste tests (a la The Voice’s blind auditions). Its judging panel should be entertaining with Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain on tap.
  • Speaking of The Voice, executive producer Mark Burnett once again throws some power the contestants’ way with CBS’ The Job, in which contenders vie for their dream gig while also considering offers from other companies. That’s a good twist on The Apprentice formula.

Click through the gallery above for a quick look at 21 new shows in 2013.

Which new midseason series excite you and which ones won’t make your DVR playlist?

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player

‘X Factor’ Firing Britney Spears? 5 Reasons to Keep the Princess of Pop

Are you ready for another round of who isn’t returning to FOX’s The X Factor? Of course, it’s only been a week or so since Season 2 ended and already we have a report that Britney Spears is about to get a pink slip – we’re not talking wardrobe here.

According to US Weekly’s “insider” source, “Britney will get the boot, [though] producers wanted her for the long haul, but it isn’t working.”

In response, a show rep tells Celebuzz, “No one has discussed next year’s judging panel yet – any reports otherwise are complete speculation.”

What isn’t speculative is that judge and executive producer Simon Cowell hired the pop icon to create buzz and that it did. Plenty of people tuned into (or at least talked and tweeted about) the talent competition to see which version of the singer turned up: The vibrant performer from the 90s or the mess who was peeped barefoot at a gas station in 2008.

What showed up was neither. The Spears that appeared for work was clearly more reserved, somewhat scared of the press, newly made over but still rough around the edges. Many fans grew tired of her terse answers, but some were thrilled when she did pop off with a punchy one-liner. We were also excited to see her range of over-the-top facial expressions.

Of course, Spears and young Disney Channel alum Demi Lovato were still unable to attract more viewers to the show. The X Factor ratings trended lower than Season 1′s numbers and its finale — the highest viewed of the season — was still about 3 million viewers shy of last year’s crowing episode. But, does that mean Britney should be fired?

As I stated before in my article on how to fix the show for Season 3, The X Factor should keep the pop star. Here are five reasons why:

1. The show really needs some stability. Viewers like to form a relationship with talent show judges. Let’s face it, contestants come and go – few really become names afterward – so viewers want to know there’s some constant when it comes to the judging panel. After Season 1’s bloodbath and the recent announcement that L.A. Reid had resigned his post, the FOX show needs to earn its viewers’ loyalty. That doesn’t happen with constant shifts in its superstar judges.

2. Britney could surprise us next season. In the last few years, Spears hasn’t had the best relationship with the press. Clearly, she’s still working through that. I say this as a reporter who spoke with the show’s contestants and judges after every episode this season (and Season 1, by the way). We were lucky if Spears spoke with us for more than a minute – combined, the entire season. Possibly, Spears can return next year with a much higher comfort level with the press and promotion. Or, the FOX show’s producers can, hmm, work with her…

3. Crouching Britney, hidden pop star. More often than not, Britney has spent the season seemingly more introverted than anyone expected. But, let’s face it: Some of the best moments of the season included her off-the-wall reactions in the moment and her unexpected jabs at both the contestants and the judges. There’s something exciting there and I can only expect those moments to occur more frequently on Season 2.

4. Britney’s mentorship got results. Carly Rose Sonenclar may not have won, but she came pretty damn close. Actually, the “Oops… I Did It Again” singer didn’t do too badly in the mentoring role. Not only did her singer come in second this season, but when the Top 10 rankings were announced Britney had the most singers in the running than any other judge with Sonenclar, Diamond White, Beatrice Miller and Arin Ray still in the mix.

5. The show’s failures can’t be totally blamed on Britney. Clearly, Spears isn’t responsible for the fact that the tone of the show from the “reality-style” auditions to the over-the-top productions felt disjointed. Or that viewers didn’t buy for a moment that the “judges’ homes” rounds actually took place at the mentors’ real dwellings. And even that the selection process, at times, felt like it favored drama over actual talent. The show still needs to establish its musical credibility. And, shouldn’t Cowell stand behind his own recent claim that they expected the ratings to be lower this season, because there are too many talent shows on TV? So, where does the buck stop?

Paula Abdul, Nicole Scherzinger, Steve Jones and L.A. Reid… Should Britney be another X Factor casualty?

Celebuzz Single Player No Autoplay (CORE)
No changes are to be made to this player