'American Idol' Season 10: Did you end up missing Simon Cowell?

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When Simon Cowell left "American Idol" after nine seasons, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe said the show would be taking the nice guy approach: "If you like people being mean to people, you'll miss it."

So, did you miss it, "Idol" fans? The "it" being Cowell, of course.

When Cowell announced he was leaving the FOX reality show, fans and critics were concerned "Idol" couldn't survive without him. In a poll, 55% of Zap2it readers voted that the show would be "terrible" without the British judge and said the show needed him.

One year later, "Idol" proved that it can do just fine without Cowell, thank you very much. In fact, Season 10's finale ratings improved on Season 9's finale, which also acted as Cowell's swan song.

But the question still remains: Does the show need Cowell?

During the auditions, the new judging panel flourished. Every line out of Steven Tyler's mouth was pure comedy gold and Jennifer Lopez's concern and interest in the contestants was obvious. Returning judge Randy Jackson was the table's anchor, providing viewers with just the right amount of the past so the changes weren't so overwhelming.

Then the Top 13 happened.

Sure, Season 10's batch of contestants may have been one of the show's strongest ever, but criticism was still necessary. It never came. It seemed as if Tyler and Lopez were afraid to say anything negative, especially after early frontrunner Pia Toscano was eliminated the night after Lopez gave her some constructive remarks.

The judges didn't need to go Simon Cowell on the contestants (Could you imagine his response to Naima Adedapo's dancing?), but they did need to point out areas where the singers could improve. Yes, it's nice to compliment their choice of attire for the night, but a critique of their vocals would be even nicer.

Jackson and Lopez took a little heat later in the season for their criticism of contestant Haley Reinhart. During Top 5 and Top 4 Week, Reinhart was criticized for her song choices, but not her vocals. She sang an unreleased Lady Gaga song, which Jackson didn't think was a smart move as no one knew it. When James Durbin performed 30 Seconds to Mars, Jackson said it was brave to take on a song not a lot of people would know. Hypocritical much?

During the Top 13, we often found ourselves wishing Cowell had a Twitter account or a blog where he voiced his opinion on all of the contestant's performances. We found ourselves missing the way a contestant's breath would hitch just a tiny bit when it was time for Cowell to critique their performance.

Now, it's your turn. Did you miss Simon Cowell during Season 10? Vote in our poll and then hit the comments to tell us why you miss him or why you think "Idol" is better off without him.

Photo/Video credit: FOX