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A number of critics have panned the new season of American Idol, but did the audience also tune out?

Well, it seems at least some of them did. According to an AP report, the ratings for AI are down this season from the previous year. While the premiere episode was one of the most watched television shows of the year, averaging a total of 26.2 million viewers, it was still down 13% from the nearly 30 million who watched last season’s opener.

The decline continued onto the second episode of the season, averaging 22.6 million viewers.

Season 10 officially made it’s debut Wednesday, January 19 with a two-hour opener which was mostly dedicated to showcasing the new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, who joined the sole returning judge Randy Jackson.

And following two weeks of auditions, some are wondering if these new set of judges are simply not Simon Cowell too soft as a high number of contestants were reportedly let through to go to Hollywood.

“I’m beginning to see why the Hollywood Week group was so large this year (a reported 325),” Brian Mansfield of USA Today wrote. “This group of judges are a much softer touch than previous crews. They’re much more likely to put somebody through on the strength of their personalities. Simon would have shut 75 percent of those people down.”

Critic Emily Yahr of the Washington Post stated the “same dramatic music, same talk about making people’s dreams come true, same sob stories with predictable tickets to Hollywood. It’s comforting, or it’s a snoozefest — take your pick.” Interesting.

TELL US – WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW SEASON OF AI? ARE THE JUDGES TOO SOFT? DO YOU MISS SIMON?

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