Season 10 of “American Idol” will go down as the year when no one missed Simon Cowell on the show.

There is a clever promo spot running in the region and which talks about the new judges and ends with the line, “Who misses Simon Says?” and which ends with three X-Factor crosses symbolising that no one does.

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If one goes back and thinks about Season 9, it was a hatchet job. Somehow, despite him saying that it was to be his last season on the show that made him known as “Mr Nasty” in the States, he was kept on, he made it his own “season of the bitch”, the judging panel came undone, Ellen came and went and the Finale was some mawkish tribute to a bloody JUDGE on a television singing show. It was like the Benediction of Pope Simon The First. Truly horrible, cringe-worthy  stuff.

When “My Way” came on and visually littered with Cowell’s “golden moments”, then the maudlin speech from Paula Abdul and a gawd-awful “tribute” song by the show’s previous winners, the Spew Meter hit an all-time high. Or low.

It looked as if Simon Cowell had hijacked the show and was paving the way for his “X Factor” to continue where he had left off on “Idol”. But, we all know what they say about the best-laid plans: They come undone, they get way-laid and they become irrelevant.

What happened was Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler were brought in as new judges on “Idol” and, despite, “disturbances” as to who will be the new judge/judges when his  “X Factor” hit the States, no one seemed to care.

The pledge by Simon Cowell of US$5m to the winner, came and went and, today, we are, apparently, back to the same “old firm” of “Mr Nasty” and “Miss Flaky”- Paul Abdul- despite all the early hype and “disruptions”.

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In the mean time, there has been “The Voice” though it’s quite a muted one whereas the “idol” juggernaut carries on regardless with ratings high, an average of 60 MILLION votes a show and re-establishing the careers of Lopez and Tyler.

Never EVER have these two performers been more popular. Would this have happened with being weekly judges on “American Idol”? Never.

At 64, Steven Tyler has the Best Selling Book in the States, he has a hit single and Jennifer Lopez has had a Number One in the UK and the US- AND been named “The Most Beautiful Woman In The World”.

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And what has Simon Cowell done between the end of Season Nine of “Idol” and now? Not much except huff and puff, but he never brought down “The House Of Idol”. It was all false bravado and empty air.

“Idol” was also smart enough to move from working with the pretty “tame” Sony Music, the home of “Idolers” of the past, teamed up with Universal Music and brought in Jimmy Iovine and his production posse.

Simon Fuller, the creator of the “Idol” franchise is no fool and Season 10, to me at least, is still a “work in progress”.

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It was getting the show back on track, ensuring it moved forward without “the ghost of Simon Cowell” hovering over it and, as he did by flirting with the online “reality” show that was “If I Can  Dream”, I can see Season 11 of “Idol” showing viewers- and, perhaps, visitors to a new site- a look into the entire MUSIC making and RECORDING process- and which will lead to something NEW. To me, “If I Can Dream” was a “side project” to see how something bigger might work.

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I have no idea what this “new” will look like or what shape it will take- and, perhaps, no one knows as yet- but anything new and about the MUSIC will have a VERY LOUD VOICE.

So, right now, though I have no idea if Hayley, Scotty and Lauren will win- I guess it will be Lauren- as I have been saying,  the final 12 are all winners and the REAL “winner” will be determined when the “Idol Tour” begins. The audiences will decide who they like the best. We are talking about different audiences to the ones who vote.

However, the REAL real winner of “American Idol” is the show. It has to be.

Now ten years old, the show is young again, it has slowly shifted gears, it has introduced what I call “ammunition for the future” and if judges come and go, it doesn’t REALLY matter as the viewership is there and whatever judges are there, the show will go on.

If, next season, it’s still Lopez, Tyler and “The Dawg” or Lopez, Tyler and will.i.am or whoever, it won’t matter.

What WILL matter will be the changes “Idol” might just make on the MUSIC being cranked out today and how, through the show’s “new tentacles”, it will take people like Jimmy Iovine and his various production crews into the online and mobile worlds- perhaps with will.i.am- and create an almost “ANTI-Idol” franchise which will bring in a completely new audience and totally different type of contestants- musicians and songwriters. And gawd knows, we need them. Especially a new breed of songwriters.

At least, that’s what I think and hope will happen.                

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