Fox TV's 'American Idol' returns with minor tweaks

Monday, October 28, 2002

DETROIT -- No need to worry.

All of the ingredients that made "American Idol" this summer's television sensation appear to be in place for next year's second installment.

Acid-tongued British record producer Simon Cowell is back as a judge, as are singer-dancer Paula Abdul and industry veteran Randy Jackson. Los Angeles-based radio disc jockey Ryan Seacrest will return as host.

However, a few tweaks became known Friday as the three judges and Seacrest took time out from judging talent in Detroit. Auditions started Monday. Detroit was the first of seven cities where auditions are being held.

Original co-host Brian Dunkleman won't be back, Seacrest said. And the show's producers have added a fourth judge, rapper and radio personality Angie Martinez.

Cowell didn't appear to have missed a step from the first season.

When Abdul said, "I fear Simon is rubbing off on me," Cowell cocked his head to the side, stared at her and asked, "You're becoming intelligent?"

Cowell also didn't mince words when asked about the auditions he'd seen in Detroit.

"Some of the stuff I heard out there simply can't be described as singing. I mean it was terrible," he said. "It never ceases to amaze me. It's like they're deaf, because what I'm hearing is something very different from what they're hearing."

Jackson also wasn't kind about Detroit's offerings.

"We're really just trying to see if there's any 'Mo' left in this town," Jackson said.

Texas cocktail waitress Kelly Clarkson was the survivor among 10,000 entrants who thought they had what it takes to be pop stars the first time around. Along the way, the Fox series became a summer hit, particularly among young viewers.

Clarkson earned a recording contract, and her first single, "A Moment Like This," went to the top of the charts.

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On the Net

American Idol Web site: idolonfox.msn.com/

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