Jennifer Lopez touts most talented Idols yet

2011-02-03 07:26

American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez says that despite this season’s focus on the emotional stories of contestants, the competition is still all about the singing.

“This will be the standout season for talent,” Lopez said yesterday.

Lopez, who brings her signature superstar glamour to the newly made-over judging panel, said she’s had to fight back the tears when meeting contestants like Chris Medina, whose fiancee suffered traumatic brain injury in a car accident just months before they were to walk down the aisle.

“It’s tough. It’s emotional. But this is the thing about American Idol that I love.

It’s about people and their dreams and their struggles, and that’s what I think everybody loves about it.

You see yourself in these people,” she said.

This season is the first without Simon Cowell, one of the show’s British creators and a judge who was known for his rolling eyes, one-liners or antagonistic adjectives.

Other heart-wrenching moments include twin Travis Orlando, who took Idol cameras on a tour of the Bronx shelter he once called home, and Nashville’s Lauren Alaina, who sang I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing with judge Steven Tyler, after recounting her cousin’s battle with a brain tumour.

Lopez insisted the personal stories weren’t crowding out the singing.

“I think America – because they’re the ones who vote at the end of the day – you know they go for the talent,” Lopez said.

“And if it happens to have a story attached to it, it like takes it over the top.”

After the season premiere, ratings for the Fox singing competition were down 13% from last year’s debut.

But Nielsen Co. said that a drop off in audience from the first to second week was the show’s smallest in five years.

Medina, Orlando and Alaina will be competing for a spot among the 20 semifinalists during Hollywood week, airing later this month.

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