American Idol

Michael Becker / FOX

Everybody loves a success story, right? Right?

Well, that doesn't seem to be the case with American Idol these days, as media critics and former contestants alike seem to be jumping on the backlash bandwagon and trying to convince us all that the biggest show on television is...brace yourselves...doomed! [Cue scary music...then laugh track.]

Today, Chris Daughtry told Rolling Stone that AI is "lacking some credibility" and "probably isn't gonna last too much longer," while Newsday insists the sixth season "stunk" and bitter bloggers like this one on are going as far as to say that Idol is "the worst show on television." (Apparently he hasn't seen Crowned.)

And I'm sorry, but I just find the whole thing laughable.

'Cause if ever there were a time for Idol to blast onto the airwaves to record numbers and kick ass in every way, it is now.

See, there's this little thing called the writers' strike, which has rendered all our scripted favorites out of production, and right about now the public at large is clamoring for something, anything, to watch. And American Idol, which launches its seventh season tomorrow night, is hardly anything.

Not only is it arguably the best-produced reality series ever to hit the air (topped only by perhaps The Amazing Race in my book), an average of 30 million people watched American Idol last season. (And just to give you a point of reference, that number is 50 percent higher than the next highest watched series, Dancing with the Stars.) Idol isn't a TV show. It's a force of nature.

Say what you will about about Idol, but there's something about it that is so darn watchable and entertaining, and that's why it remains the number one source of convo, debate and, yes, critique at the office watercooler, grocery-store line or wherever you may be. And in a time where we have so little small-screen goodness to discuss, I'm sorry, but I just find the unifying prospect of Idol's new season a bit...comforting.


AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

Granted, who ultimately wins might not matter as much as we once thought it did (winners Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard were dropped by their labels, while "losers" Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson have done very well), and the concept isn't as shiny and new as it once was, but in my opinion, American Idol is still a very good time.

That may be why yesterday, while shooting a quasi-Golden Globes show here on E!, I found myself itching to talk about something that is real and whole and untouched by the strike, and as coinkidink would have it, Ryan Seacrest was on hand to discuss Idol's new season.

He told me the audition episodes are "better than ever this year" and that he's honestly excited to get back to doing the show. And if a guy as crazy-busy as Seacrest is looking forward to it, then I think it's okay for us fans to feel the fever, too.

So, now I'm curious...Will you be watching? Or do you think Idol is...dun, dun, dunnn..."doomed"? Sound off in the Comments section below!

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