I must admit that my hubby and I have been fans of American Idol since it's 3rd season, and I went from "extremely dislike" of Simon Cowell, to "really love him". What I realized was that I just didn't enjoy all the non-talented people that they showcased in the beginning auditions, I would rather have seen just the ones that showed possiblilty. And Simon Cowell WAS being honest, to the point of painful to some of them I'm sure, he was saying what a great majority were thinking, and over the years, there was definitely a "softening" to his comments and he became much more constructive in his critique's. I liked Paula Abdul, but was glad when she left, although her replacement, Cara was much worse. We LOVED Ellen last year and are sorry she's not on again (maybe she will be later, I don't follow Hollywood news so I couldn't say).
We were afraid with Simon leaving the show, we wouldn't like it anymore so we watched the first episode this week with very little expectation and a lot of trepidation. But, we really like it! I absolutely LOVE Jennifer Lopez AND Steven Tyler, he is such a hoot and both of them give great advice. So for us, we will be watching the rest of the season, and really are enjoying more of the "good" talent being showcased.