American Idol fans tuned in to the season 10 premiere last week to see how the new crop of contestants – and judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler – would fare in the first season without Simon Cowell.
While some critics have already accused the newbies of being too nice, there’s one insider who anticipates they’ll do just fine.
“They both have a lot of experience in the business, and I have a feeling they’re both going to be really straight ahead with people, which is always really helpful,” season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert tells PEOPLE of the latest additions to the panel.
Lambert, who skipped the premiere episode Wednesday night to attend an Elton John benefit concert for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, hasn’t met Lopez or Tyler yet but says he looks forward to watching them later this season – after he gets his TiVo set up in his new Los Angeles home.
“It’s gonna be exciting,” he says. “They’re both really interesting, dynamic people.”
The Idol alum has been performing most of his life and admits he prefers harsher criticism to pats on the back. “To have somebody tell me this is why I didn’t like it, I’ll take it,” he says. And Lambert has a few tips for the judges on how they can be most helpful to season 10’s contestants.
“Whatever critique they give, it needs to be for real,” he says. “It needs to be actually a constructive critique. I think that is the most helpful thing as a contestant.”
But Lambert countered that having support from the judges’ panel can often be just as valuable.
“It can become very taxing on your ego and your pride when you’re up there and they’re just tearing you down,” says the pop star. “So having a judge up there that will help build you up and give you positive reinforcement is almost just as powerful as the critiques.”
As for the new housing arrangement that will reportedly have Idol contestants living together in the same house, Lambert says he doesn’t envy that experience.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to do that,” Lambert tells reporters. “I think it will be entertaining, [but] it might be a bit distracting to the contestants because what we do is so grueling.”