The incredible journey of American Idol kicks off again on January 17, and contestant should be warned: there will be no more Mr. Nice Judges.
"It was hard for me in the beginning to say 'no' at all," Jennifer Lopez tells TV Guide Magazine. "[This year] we're just as honest and just as compassionate, but maybe a tiny bit more blunt about it... it has to be tough love. Maybe we're a little tougher on the tough-love part."
What about the presence of The X Factor and The Voice? Is the team worried about singing competition overkill?
"There's only one Coca-Cola," Randy Jackson said in response. "There may be many different variations made, but this is the original one. That's why I still call this the greatest talent show of its kind."
Jackson adds that there's a big difference between Idol and Simon Cowell's British important: the former is a "more intimate show," he says, elaborating:
"I think that's what really helps these kids. It's focused on us, yes, but not so much that you lose focus on the kids' talent. We never want to overshadow that."