'American Idol' is set to return to the US for its 11th series tonight (18.01.12) amid talk of a supposed rivalry with similar shows.

Judge Randy Jackson - the only original panellist remaining on the programme - has claimed similar series to the reality show are just "copying" it.

Randy - who is set to be joined on the panel by existing judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez - told reporters: "We kind of invented this whole game that everybody is now copying."

He also managed a sly dig at Simon Cowell's rival programme US 'x factor', saying it probably did not deliver on "the expectations he wanted."

But when Simon was asked about 'American Idol' he opted for a more gentle approach comparing it TV show 'The Waltons', while he said 'X Factor' was more like 'Dallas', a soap featuring badly-behaved Texas barons.

He explained: "To me, they're like 'The Waltons': popular, harmless, a lot of people like it. And maybe we're like 'Dallas'."