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New 'American Idol' commercials: Fewer freaks, more inspirational: Why?

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Have you noticed something about the new batch of American Idol commercials?

Whereas in the past, the ads have emphasized what a bunch of no-talent freaks the poor, beleaguered, lavishly-paid judges have to contend with (all those rolled eyes from Simon and Randy, all that crumpled-face empathy from — sob! — the departed Paula), now the theme is, roughly:

Wow, what a huge amount of talent we have in this great land of ours (note subtle use of American flag), and we’re gonna make someone’s dream come true!:

See what I mean? Simon actually saying, “I like you as a person”??? Compare it to a 2008 ad:

I ascribe this change in attitude to, of course, Susan Boyle. She single-handedly made it un-cool to ridicule TV talent-show contestants. Post-Boyle, even a cynic like Sharon Osborne was squirting out tears of awed appreciation for anyone who hit the right notes or twirled a baton on America’s Got Talent

I wonder about American Idol, though. Do you think the show is really changing its attitude, and we’ll have a kinder, gentler Simon? Or are these spots being edited to play up the nice-factor before Mr. X Factor pulls out his claws and starts mauling contestants again?

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