American Idol: Season 10

Jan. 19, 2011
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The tenth season of American Idol premiered on January 19, 2011 and concluded on May 25, 2011, on the Fox television network. The show underwent a number of changes from the ninth season, including the return of Nigel Lythgoe as executive producer, and the addition of American singers Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez to the judging panel, replacing Simon Cowell, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kara DioGuardi.

Interscope Records, which is part of Universal Music Group, replaced Sony Music Entertainment as Idol’s official partner record label. Interscope’s Chairman Jimmy Iovine, a songwriter and producer, was named as the in-house mentor to work with the contestants on a weekly basis. He was supported by associated producers Rodney Jerkins, Alex da Kid, Tricky Stewart, Don Was,, and Timbaland, who all helped the contestants tailor their song choices to their chosen genre of performance, while also producing arrangements for the contestants and offering original material to be performed. Ray Chew replaced Rickey Minor as the show’s musical director and leader of Idol’s live band.

Programming changes affecting viewership included a revision in the days of broadcast from Tuesdays and Wednesdays to Wednesdays and Thursdays. The show also opened up an option for viewers to cast their votes online through Facebook, allowing 50 votes per account. Specific changes in the competition itself included extending extra rounds and a final solo round, while also returning the judges’ wild card choice. The show additionally lowered the age of eligibility to 15 years. More contestants made it to Hollywood in season 10 than in previous seasons.

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