When American Idol ended last year and when Simon Cowell, Ellen Degeneres, and even Kara Dioguardi said their farewells at Idol, I didn’t think I would watch it any more. I even made it a point to stop watching when my Season 9 bet, Siobhan Magnus, was cut out of the competition. I thought that she was great–and I still think that.
As much as I told myself I wouldn’t watch this year’s AI, I found myself sitting in front of the television screen at six in the evening (that’s GMT+8 time) and watching the damn show.
Tonight’s “pilot episode” started off with a little flashback on when AI’s new judges were still a mystery. It recounted (albeit briefly) the different news, rumors, and guesses as to who would take up where Simon, Ellen, and Kara had left of and culminated to the announcement of the two new judges that would be helping Randy “the Dawg” Jackson–Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. It also unveiled the new opening sequence for the show.
When the news broke out that they would be the new judges, I wasn’t ecstatic about it. I didn’t see J.Lo as the sort of judge that could fill Simon or Ellen or Kara’s shoes. I wasn’t even a fan of Aerosmith or Steven Tyler. But when the contestants came in and I saw how they plan to do the judging–entertaining, comical, and very, very different from the past seasons–I began to enjoy watching the show again. Granted, they could only be acting like that now since this is still the auditions, who knows how they would do when the live shows come?
Anyways, it was pretty entertaining. Steven’s quite a joker (who would have thought) and he and J.Lo did a pretty neat job…although some of their calls were pretty questionable. Today’s audition show featured New Jersey where 50 aspiring Idols got the coveted Golden Ticket to Hollywood.
Tomorrow’s episode would center around the audition that took place in New Orleans. I’m not sure but I would probably watch until the top 12 boys and girls are chosen and if I find myself a favorite among those contestants, I may watch it from time to time (I’m not going to be as faithful to the show as I was seasons ago). But for tonight, I’d give the show a good enough grade: an 8 out of 10. Why? Because it’s missing Simon Cowell.
Anyways, here’s a little bit of a recap on some of the contestants that were shown on the show:
– Rachel, 22, from NY, auditioned in Season 6 but didn’t make it past Hollywood. She sings “Hallelujah,” which just doesn’t need to ever be sung again. She’s a little shaky in the key department, but she has a gorgeous, warm voice. She’s going to Hollywood!
— Caleb Hawley of NY has one of those bluesy, throwback voices that suits him well, and sounds great with Tyler singing along. Steven needs to sing with everyone.
— Kenzie Palmer, one of those newly-sanctioned 15-year-olds we’ve been hearing about, is sort of boring, possibly because her naturally pretty voice hasn’t matured yet. Steven and JLo agree that she is missing some zing, but she gets through anyway.
— Lovely Achille, from the Ivory Coast, sings like Iman gargling with the blood of a contestant from Bravo’s “The Fashion Show” that she killed simply with the power of her contempt. She blames the carnage on her accent, but JLo is having none of it – “It’s more about the singing,” she says. Huzzah!
— Tiffany of Morris Plains, N.J. is a tragic Jersey Shore cliche with the voice of a goddess trapped inside by the hairspray fumes. She shows up with giant stars on her boobs, but has such a great voice she blows everyone’s mind. After all, most people resort to cheapness and buffoonery because they have nothing else. The judges love her, but warn that she’d better cut the shtick and just be good. This Kid Rock CD says she’s gonna freeze and blow it.
— Robby Rosen looks like a young Horshack but sings like a “Glee” wannabe. Sort of standard, but nice.
— Chris the Eagle Scout is the first of the season’s special snowflakes, a kid whose parents ought to be shaken because in their coddling and protectiveness, they failed to tell him that he can’t sing. While he’s inside futzing around, the whole family is out there with Seacrest honestly wondering if he’s gonna be good. Here’s a clue – he’s not. And you should know this, Family. You set that boy up. Scout’s honor. Michael Perotto, who goofs his way through “Proud Mary,” is another one – “People would tell me if I sucked,” he insists. Apparently not. Giant fail, America.
— Ashley Sullivan of Springfield, Mass. is my kind of crazy – super sincere, very funny, and looking like the love child of Winona Ryder and Illeana Douglas. Her Broadway voice gets the “Meh” face initially, but after she begs and insists that America and Idol “needs to get with Liza,” everyone seems alternately charmed and exhausted, and Steven and JLo let her through. Steven declares her to be his personal project. Dream on, man.
— Victoria Huggins is a southern slice of adorable, and she’s so sweet that my teeth all detached themselves from my gums and jumped into a vat of Sensodyne. Not excited about her. Sorry.
— Melinda Adem, the refugee from Kosovo, is good, but her voice will be even better when she’s 20. Devyn the singing waitress is phenomenal. Genice, the “I’m A Believer” girl. isn’t as bad as everyone thinks, but the judges seemed to have so much fun singing over her that they missed that. Yikes.
— Can we all agree that Yoji Pop, the Japanese Michael Jackson imitator who refused to sing Michael Jackson, is the most awesome resident of the Clown Town portion of these auditions that we’ve ever seen? He’s so campy and weird (“I have one song, but I hate it”) but still fascinating. And he managed to make a Miley Cyrus song kinda dirty. Bravura, young man.
— Brielle with the cancer-surviving doo wop dad has a great story, but it’s stronger than her voice. Sorry. The judges agree she’s got some work to do, but they sort of had to let her through.
— The last kid, Travis from the Bronx, also has a sob story, but a better voice. He and his family have been homeless, and see Travis’ gift as a saving grace. He delivers a jazz “Eleanor Rigby” that’s punchy and fun. I hope he gets far. And I hope even more than his family is OK.