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'American Idol': Swan song still in doubt for iconic Fox show

Fox premieres the thirteenth season of 'American Idol' tonight at 8 p.m EST. A question that has been raised in recent years still lingers as the show begins again: Will this be its last year?

Jennifer Lopez' return was welcomed earlier in the show's off-season, while Randy Jackson was offered a fond farewell from the judge's table. That cool 'dog's' departure severs the last link to the original old guard which included Simon Cowell and Paula Abdul.

Lopez will team with the returning and well-liked Keith Urban, as well as former show mentor and the always-affable Harry Connick, Jr.

Cowell, who began his career in the mail room at EMI Music Publishing, employed his personal savvy to capture the nation's attention with curt quips from 2001-2010. While Cowell's rise to prominence is noteworthy, his father's position as a music industry executive should also be referenced for historical accuracy. However, no one should honestly deny the man his due as a talented one-man juggernaut.

Abdul's career resurrection happened because of her kind contestant assessments and her on-air debates with Cowell between every profitable commercial announcement.

Jackson's musical resume and sound critiques served to balance the engaging Cowell-Abdul sideshow. His new role as in-house mentor keeps his seasoned influence in place.

Master of ceremonies and Dick Clark's chosen heir to the digital throne, Ryan Seacrest, leads a revamped three-person team during this lucky season 13.

With ongoing opinions about an apparent hoped-for demise always on the airwaves, this still-useful singing competition turns the lights on one more time. Therefore, rumors of this reality show's demise can still be rightly classified as pure fiction.

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