Television

Inside Tonight's Huge 'Idol' Premiere

How do you spell ratings domination? Two words: "American Idol!"

The singers you love and the ones you love to hate are all back tonight, and "Extra" is taking you inside the premiere and blowing the lid off season seven's biggest secrets.

"There are a bunch of absolutely hopeless people in every city," Simon Cowell told "Extra. "I mean, it's just useless."

Of course, that's why some 40 million fans will watch tonight. And after taking heat last year for his over-the-top comments, look for an even sharper Simon this year - despite the fact that he's got family members watching his every move. Of course, Simon makes no apologies.

"I think nephews and nieces are saying, 'Thank you, Simon, for being honest,'" he shrugged.

Look for a new "Idol" look this year. Executive producer Nigel Lythgoe says there'll be even more noticeable changes.

"We're not going to have as many mentors this year," he told "Extra." "We are going to look back at the some of the Idols that have been and find out what they're doing now."

Fox is also planning to capitalize on its "Idol" juggernaut, with Ryan Seacrest as Superbowl pre-show host. Now buzz is building of a possible duet with Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul.

So would Simon cheer Paula on?

"No!" he said. "You mean going to the Superbowl and watching her? No. I'll watch on TV."

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