PRAISE the lord, we finally have a reason to watch American Idol again. No wait, make that two reasons.

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, where have you been all these years while we suffered through boring seasons of the once hugely popular and successful talent show?

We all know that American Idol definitely had its ups and downs throughout the nine seasons so far, although things really went downhill from the sixth season onward.

The show’s popularity and ratings dwindled at a staggering pace, causing its producers to scratch their heads wondering where it all went wrong. Duh, it got boring.

It only got worse and in 2009, they added Kara DioGuardi to the already established panel of judges – Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson – hoping that it was the solution to their problem.

Nah, it wasn’t. In fact, the few things the move proved was how annoying Kara is, how Paula needs to stay on her medications, how mean Simon can get and how Randy needs to expand his vocabulary from more than just “Yo!” and “Dawg”.

Paula left the show after the eighth season and the producers thought that it was only befitting to invite popular talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to take her place.

Unfortunately, the comedienne couldn’t save the show and American Idol became just what Ellen creates best – a joke.

Then late last year, Ellen quit, Simon resigned and Kara got fired from the show.

Just when die-hard fans thought that the end was nigh for their favourite singing competition that produced superstar singers such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry and inexplicably propelled William Hung into stardom, there was a ray of hope.

There were talks of Nigel Lythgoe – the man behind Pop Idol, which spawned American Idol – returning as an executive producer and there were also rumours that he’s all set to revamp the show. The newly re-instated executive producer roped in Jennifer and Steven.

The new Idol judges with host Ryan Seacrest

The new Idol judges with host Ryan Seacrest

Who knew that a diva past her prime years and an aging rockstar was exactly what the talent show needed?

Well, Randy is still on the show but with the same vocabulary he’s had in the past few years, he’s easy to ignore.

Jennifer and Steven seem perfectly at home judging these aspiring singers and have seriously given the show the breath of fresh air it desperately needed.

Okay fine, we have only seen four episodes so far but it is quite obvious that the two new judges are not the trainwreck critics feared they would be.

Steven is a sweetheart, albeit a naughty one that flirts with contestants, but the 62-year-old rocker definitely is a welcome change.

Hands up those who teared up watching him whisper those beautiful words into the ears of Juliana Ramos, the fiance of Chris Medina, who is wheelchair-bound due to an accident.

The Aerosmith rocker is also game for impromptu duet sessions; like when 15-year-old Lauren Alaina cued him in for his hit song I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing, he just jumped right in without the slightest hesitation.

Having said all that, Steven is not perfect. He does say random, and sometimes inappropriate, things to the contestants but somehow gets away with it, with all the laughter in the background.

(Yeah, who knew that the crew members participated in the audition. All these years their reactions have been muted, giving the impression that only the judges and contestant were in the room.)

Jennifer, who for most of her career, had been labelled as a unreasonable diva (even Oprah Winfrey’s staff members claimed that she had outrageous demands when she appeared on the show) seems nice and considerate on Idol. Maybe motherhood did do her right.

She chooses her words carefully when giving criticism and praises the singers when they hit the high/low notes that none of us have ever heard her attempt.

Oh, it also doesn’t hurt that her make-up is awesome and the clothes she wears are to die for.

It’s awesome to see the judges work together and chemistry between them is simply fantastic. This might seem a little far-fetched but it’s like the new batch of judges work better than Simon, Paula and Randy ever did.

Oh, fine. Randy has to be given credit where due. It cannot be denied that even the most senior Idol judge has shown a lot of improvement in his critiques and finally makes sense when he talks. He is more firm in his rejection and it is not so annoying after all.

But there have been mixed reviews with the new judges line up. Some love it and some want Paula and Simon back.

But seriously, how did American Idol exist all these years without Steven Tyler?

Sharm says: They say you don’t know what you got until it’s gone but you also don’t know what you’ve been missing until it arrives. Welcome home, Steven and Jennifer.

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