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Ratings king 'American Idol' ready for 11th season

January 18th, 2012 1:56 pm by CRISTINA SILVA Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- It's been a decade since Texas native Kelly Clarkson was plucked from obscurity and turned into the nation's first American Idol.

Now the TV show that has spawned dozens of other pop stars and talent competitions is opening its 11th season Wednesday under a cloud of uncertainty.

Is this Ryan Seacrest's last year hosting the nation's most popular TV show?

Will fans return after new judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler embraced flattery over tough criticism during their debut season last year?

Does America still want pop stars invented by a TV show audience?

Seacrest, Lopez, Tyler and lone original judge, Randy Jackson, are hoping fans will return despite these questions.

They are helping to usher in the new season with a press conference on the Las Vegas Strip.

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