Get Ready for a TV Talent Show Smackdown in 2011

There's one thing we know for sure about TV in 2011: It's going to be a big year for talent competitions. Soldiering on without Simon Cowell next month, American Idol will try to hang onto its monster-hit ratings with new, superstar judges and a reconfigured format. Also kicking off in January is Paula Abdul's televised dance competition, Live to Dance. And later in the year, Cowell will launch the U.S. version of his British powerhouse of a singing competition, The X Factor.

Will that last show knock Idol out of the water? Will viewers tune into Live to Dance to see Abdul, or will dance fans stick with old standbys like Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance? Will American Idol be able to hold onto its status as an unstoppable cultural phenomenon, even as its ratings have already begun to drop (albeit just a little)?

Here's a cheat-sheet on what each show has in store:

American Idol, Fox 
Premieres
: Jan. 19
Latest promo
: The usual stuff. Horrendous wannabe singers failing to hit notes, and the pained reactions of grimacing judges.

Judges: Randy Jackson
, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler

What's different from past Idol seasons:
Well, obviously the two fresh judges! And producers are introducing some new, reality-TV-type elements, like a plan to film the contestants while living in a house together and on a road trip to Vegas.

Live to Dance, CBS 
Premieres
: Jan. 4
Latest promo
: An all glammed-up Abdul anchors the judging panel while dancers of all ages, both solo and in groups, perform in a competition that looks a lot like American Idol, the Dancing Version.

Judges
: Abdul; choreographer Travis Payne; and singer/dancer Kimberly Wyatt

What's different from Idol:
Perky Paula won't just judge, but will also mentor and guide contestants through the process. "[Contestants] can be anywhere from 6 to 106," Abdul told TV Guide"And I don't try to take them out of their element and do routines in a style they've never done before." Yeah, not like those mean Idol producers, who force contestants to stretch themselves! But seriously, Abdul's show will probably be more likely to rival Fox's So You Think You Can Dance -- and that show won't be on again until summer 2011. 

The X Factor, Fox 
Premieres
: Sept. 2011
Latest promo
: Oh, please, this isn't a real promo! No actual information is given about this show, which is the U.S. version of Cowell's hit singing competition in England. But this is, after all, the series that Cowell left Idol for. So maybe that's enough of a teaser.

Judges
: Cowell and…we're about to find out. Cowell says he'll announce the names of his co-judges next month. Some names that have been tossed around but not confirmed: The Pussycat Dolls' Nicole Scherzinger, British pop singer Cheryl Cole and even George Michael.

What's different from Idol
: There's hardly any age limit. The judges double as mentors, and they get judged, too. And there's some other aspects Cowell won't divulge. "I'm not going to tell people in advance what we're doing," Cowell told Deadline.com. "What I will say is that it will be like nothing else you've seen before on American TV, I guarantee you that." Wow. How could you not watch that? He's so crafty, that Simon.

Do you think viewers will get tired of all these talent competitions? Chime in below!

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