American Idol Season 11 Promo: Will You Take the 'Journey' Again in January?

At first glance, it might look like Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Seacrest, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson have been cast in an I’m Not There-style retelling of the Pied Piper story.

But nope, in much the same way your local Hallmark shop’s Christmas decorations seem to spring up earlier and earlier every year, so too is Fox trying to get visions of American Idol‘s 11th season dancing in your head well before Halloween.

Idol‘s new promo features Ryan, Randy, J.Lo, and Steven wandering  the city “streets” collecting aspiring singers to a tune that sounds like it might have been a rejected Season 5 victory anthem: “Together we can fly/ It’s to an endless sky/ Where anything is possible / We can, we can/ Take a chance, take a chance together/ We can, we can/ Always be better.” As the show’s judges and host arrive at a theater, the main message of the advertisement appears on the screen: “The incredible journey begins… January 22.” Let’s just hope the fact that J.Lo and Steven respectively encounter musical trios in the spot doesn’t mean Idol is taking a page from The X Factor and opening its doors to the ill-advised “groups” category. (Shudder.)

I can’t say this is the most effective spot I’ve ever seen for the show — why not stitch together the original auditions from Kelly, Carrie, ‘Tasia, Cookie, and other show success stories to remind audiences that there really is something at stake in the Idol process? — but I’ve marked my calendar nevertheless.

What about you? Will you take the “journey” with Idol come Jan. 22, 2012? Watch the preview below, then sound off in the comments! And for all my reality TV news and recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Tina says:

    I don’t know Mike, I was really disappointed in the last season of Idol and after seeing who’s going through to the live shows on X Factor, I think i’m done with these two shows. I may DVR X factor and just FFWD through or just read your recaps. Too much manipulation and tired of seeing more talented singers go to early on both shows. I think I’m done for now. But I will be looking for your Idoloonies!

    • Tarc says:

      I though the last season of Idol was quite memorable – more than most of the others. It was great that voices other than Simon’s handpicked (desperately out of style) Whitney Houston clones, or Kara’s singer-songwriters, were allowed to shine. Jazz and blues *finally* got some airtime without instantly being crushed. I’ll take that anytime.

    • djm says:

      I’m with Tina – I am not watching Idol next year (and I have completely avoided X-Factor – sorry Simon, I refuse to watch anything with Paula in it) but I will tune in to Idoloonies to see what you are up to and to watch you geek out on whomever your favorite contestant is :-)

      • ReMMeZ says:

        After last year.. No thank you sir.. I will check in with idoloonies.. because i love your recaps.. but another season of idol [after the emptyheaded and annoying x-facor and the superiour Platinum HIT] .. i am not sure.. But then again, i’ve been saying that ever since Adam lost to.. I can’t even remember.. [Kris allen]

  2. Michael says:

    I’ll start with the top 24 since I can’t bear the audition and Hollywood rounds. If a sufficient number of voices catch my attention, I’ll give it a chance(I’ll have to tivo it so that I can fast-forward through all judges comments). If not, I’ll just stick with the Voice. The saturation of music comps is too much. I’ve avoided X-Factor completely and, although I love the Sing-off, NBC may have ruined the show. They should have left it as end-of-year filler that managed to entertain people busy with Christmas shopping and bored with reruns.

  3. fullyCOOKed (formerly COOKaineAddict) says:

    I have no intention of missing one minute of my all time favorite cheese fest or one word of your insanely accurate and hilarious commentary. I, for one, cannot wait till January. Remember, this is the show that gave us David Cook. How cute is it that you to refer to him as Cookie. Bromance?

  4. KH says:

    January 22 is a Sunday. Is AI really premiering on a Sunday? Anyone know why?

  5. Michael says:

    That promo is like JLo’s Papi music video.

  6. Shannon says:

    Honestly, Michael, as long as you’re in then I’m in as well. I live for your recaps and Idolatry!

  7. JeriC says:

    I don’t think so… This worn out shoe is finally getting tossed in the trash. And the over-sized egos of the judges(and with Jennifer Lopez getting millions to wear bad fashion on tv)just drive me bonkers. There hasn’t been one ounce of concrete criticism given between them. I’ll pass, unless I hear there is someone worth watching.

  8. Leon says:

    I’m not a fan of Idol after season 8… X Factor is my thing now and tomorrow night when it goes live should be great! but i do wish the best for idol season 11

  9. Mellie says:

    Eh, I’ll probably start once they get to the main/live shows, the audition processes of these really annoy me. I will, however, read your recaps so long as you post them – plus I look forward to new Idoloonies!

  10. Annie says:

    To KH, Fox is airing the first episode of Idol after the NFC Championship game. It’s a good way to try and bring in new or lapsed viewers.

  11. aunt_deen says:

    I think I’m done with Idol. I can’t stand another season of those judges.

  12. Bob says:

    I’ll be watching. Even though I’m getting tired of the year round talent competitions, AI still has some life left in it. And I’m not really tired of talent competitions in theory. I’m tired of poorly edited, overly padded, manipulative episodes that are best recorded and fast forwarded through. Most episodes if not all of AGT and X-Factor are like that. AI does it too but not quite so badly. When J-Lo and Steven are being honest and not being scripted, they are better judges than Paula, Kara or even Simon in his last season.

  13. Rebecca says:

    I love the bad auditions, but I can’t stand the cheerleaders (nominally “judges”). I almost didn’t make it through last season because of them, and this was after not missing an episode of AI in six years. So I might watch the auditions at most and then bail.

  14. brandy says:

    Wow, this commercial was beautiful. It gave me goosies. It was in it to win it. (I CAN’T WAIT!)

  15. allie8 says:

    I stopped watching about 3/4 of the way through last season and don’t plan on watching this year. I was a big fan since the very first episode but the last two seasons have been really below par. I enjoyed the Voice – seems more geared to adults. I didn’t miss it after I stopped watching but I still check out your recaps b/c you are the best “part” of the show. :)

  16. Magpie says:

    I was sucked in last season, having quit AI after Carrie won, when I happened to catch Haley singing “Bennie and the Jets” one night when the ‘rents were watching. However, the “judging” has put me off, and I won’t be watching this season. I’ll be checking your recaps just in case there are clips worth watching on YouTube, though!

  17. cayko says:

    nope, done with that blandness. X-factor is a better show with better judges.

  18. Jake says:

    There’s no way I will ever watch this show again after that abysmal Scotty McCreery won.

  19. blingedup.susan says:

    Will I take the Idol journey next season? *sigh* I’m unable to stop myself. Of course I’ll be on the next Idol journey.

  20. Brian says:

    Last season left me so frustrated and cold that I’ve given up on AI altogether. I think avoiding watching JLo only give harsh critiques to pretty women will not only help my blood pressure, but free up precious time to watch shows I actually enjoy.

    • Stupid says:

      You are an idiot. Which women did she ever give harsh critiques to? If you are thinking of when she told Pia to “keep studying” then that is hardly harsh at all. She told Scotty worst when she said “We expected more from Scotty.” And before you say Haley, Randy was harder on Haley than JLo ever was. It was Kara and Paula who are jealous of the pretty girls. Remember how bitchy Paula could be towards Kristy Lee, Carrie, and Syesha?

  21. maggie says:

    Last season the judging was so awful that I’m done with the show. If I have to hear “that was beautiful” and “you made it your own” one more time my ears will bleed. So I’m done.
    Can’t say I like all the filler and manipulation on X-Factor, but at least the judges have more to say. I think with some cutting back on the excess, X-Factor would be better than AI.
    AI is over. Except for Carrie and Kelly, their winners haven’t become huge stars.

  22. Brigette says:

    Did anyone else feel like that was a Coca-Cola commercial? I’ll be watching, but I doubt I will love the contestants as much as I loved the season 10 kids (I miss them. Is that sad?) Let’s just hope the judges actually judge this year.

  23. blingedup.susan says:

    So here’s the thing, sweetie, (shout-out) AI was my first love, but with the exception of Nicole, I am liking the X-Factor judges so. much. more! Sooooo….if I could have the AI format, but the X-Factor judges, but AI would adopt X-Factor’s no upper age limit, and then swap Nicole out for….oh nevermind. I’ll be watching.

  24. darcy's evil twin says:

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. So yes, I’ll be watching. ;-) Wouldn’t miss “Idoloonies” for anything!

  25. ErixN says:

    I’m sticking with it even though I was disappointed with how it played out in the end.

  26. L says:

    I gave up on this show last year, but still watched your Idoloonies and read your recaps. I think you are more entertaining than the show itself. It was hopeless last year and I’m not going to waste any more time on it.

  27. TinCan says:

    Yeah, I want to see Jennifer ride up to the auditions in her Fiat 500, rather than a stretch limo… LOL

  28. ohreli says:

    Steven Tyler is BACK???!! NO! NO! PLEASE SAY IT ISN’T SO!!!!

  29. Joe says:

    I’m done with Idol. X Factor & The Voice & The Sing Off are enough for me. Last season of Idol was horrendous. The Sing Off is the best of the bunch as the judges are honest, unscripted and they always seem to send the right group home i.e. the worst one. Idol rewards failure and mediocrity. It’s not about singing. It’s about electing a student class President. I have no desire to even watch the auditions process on Idol again as I don’t think there’s a more tedious form of television than that. X Factor was refreshing because of the Over 30 & Groups. The Voice had the best most concise audition process. Idol will get it’s ratings and create a new star, but at the end of day all the people who get so passionate about the stupid contestants look foolish when they disappear within a month or two of the show concluding it’s season. Remember how angry people would get over James, Casey & Thia? Now you’d be lucky to run into either of them in the food court at the mall.

    • Well says:

      Scotty’s record should be gold by thanksgiving…so people haven’t forgotten about him. I don’t think he will be at the food court anytime soon. Stop acting bitter.

  30. Name That Tune says:

    AI ended in May. Since then we’ve had taste of The Voice & The X Factor. We’ve seen that judges who can think & articulate their opinions matter. We’ve seen that there are talented singers over the age of 17 who can sing a song & have enough real-life experience to know what they are sinnging about. Heck, there’s a good chance that nonthreatening WGWG won’t win X-Factor.

    Haven’t missed Idol at all. If TPTB in TV Land keep delivering good alternatives to AI, I don’t see a reason at all to pick that habit up again. Count me as out.

  31. Jan says:

    I think I’m done with AI. I loved seasons 7 and 8, but seasons 9 and 10 did not grab me. Hated the judging and disappointed with many of the contestants. It takes up an awful lot of time for so little satisfaction in return. I’m not watching the X Factor, and will probably not tune it to The Voice again, either.

  32. Justin says:

    Trying to hard to be epic…let it be what it is…filler material.

  33. Jane says:

    I’m waiting for the announcement to changes made in the voting before I decide. Also, please A.I. cut the results show back to 30 minutes. I’m still for having Jimmy becoming a 4th judge. He basically was last year and go back to actually showing more of the “mentors” if they have to have them. He could be the new bad guy (Simon) and Randy could give up trying to be, like last year and sounding even for like a tool. I hate JLO and was hoping she wasn’t coming back. She doesn’t like female contestants that are better looking than her. That was one cool thing about the voice, it really was all about the singing the first round.

    • Stupid says:

      Okay, seriously, where do you get the evidence that JLo hated the female contestants? Tell me, I’m curious. Just because she told Pia to “Keep studying?” That is stupid. She said worst to Scotty. Does that mean she hates boys too?

  34. JoBean says:

    Can’t wait! Anything without Simon is good.

  35. Saracen Riggins says:

    If only for Idoloonies, I’ll be watching AI.

  36. karenb says:

    Slezak-you are by far the best thing that Idol has to offer! They should put you on the payroll! So, yeah-I’ll be watching. I wouldn’t want you to suffer alone!

  37. Teresa says:

    Last year I was going to start watching with the Top 24, because I can’t stand the bad auditions and Hollywood week either. They are so played out. But then they brought in Steven Tyler, and I’m sorry, I will watch him do ANYTHING. So as long as they’ve got him, I’m still in it no matter what I have to endure to get to the actual singing. He may be basically just a gimmick for the show, but they totally hooked me with it. He’s been my celebrity “boyfriend” since 1978!

  38. ladyhelix says:

    No. Last year started SO strong – with great talent, balanced audition show (spared the drama and didn’t over-hype). I loved how Steven and JLo interacted with the contestants, Ryan wasn’t awkward or uncomfortable, and Randy was coherent.

    Then the Televised shows began – the “script” kicked in, Steven got quiet, Randy returned to his offensive self, and JLo was either mean or ridiculous. Frankly it insulted my intelligence.

    I heard Lauren sing the other day and was blown away – and that MAY be what the judges heard “in that first audition” that we kept hearing about over and over again all season. But THAT Lauren never showed up on the AI10 stage, and I don’t like being lied to and manipulated.

  39. Rita says:

    I am hoping we have some real constructive criticizm this year as that ended up being the problem last year,imo of course.

  40. RTW says:

    I can think of a few reasons to return and a few reasons not to:
    YES: Just to see how early on I can predict the winner. Just look for the WGWG. Or maybe AI’s desperate for a female winner this year?
    YES: I need Haley to perform her album’s single back on the AI stage and give the finger to the judges.
    YES: The talent. Casey made me interested in the show early on with Georgia on my Mind, but Haley got me hooked to the end. Hopefully there’ll be another diamond in the rough.
    MAYBE: Changes to the show? Maybe there will be voting changes to mirror SYTYCD. Maybe they listened to Michael and hired a team to get approval for new music and themes.
    MAYBE: Steven Tyler. He had one season to get the AI vibe. Maybe he’ll be more bit verbose.
    NO: RANDY JACKSON. Don’t even want to get into this discussion…
    NO: J-LO. See “RANDY JACKSON” above.
    NO: Show manipulation. The last thing I want to feel when I go to bed is anger and belittlement.

  41. Ellen from Sacramento says:

    Nope, I am DONE with Idol. Could not stand how J Lo put Haley down. Really felt manipulated last season. I might read your articles from time to time, but hope you end up covering something else I like instead. Slezak rocks, but not Idol anymore.

  42. LauraHolt says:

    I’ll watch it like I always do but it won’t be as it airs. it’s intolerable enough without adding commercial break to the mix.

    So yeah, I ‘ll watch it and like nearly every year I’ve watched I’ll only enjoy about 5% of the entire season.

    I’m in the process of making some custom DVDS so that when i feel nostalgic and want to marathon AI I can do so without having to employ the use of my fast foward button

  43. Lorraine says:

    After the travesty that was last season, I’m done. Country karaoke winning over true talent/originality left a sour taste in my mouth. I’ve watched every year and while I didn’t always agree with the winner, I don’t think I was ever as appalled as I was last season. It’s no longer a talent competition, it’s a teeny bopper popularity contest.