So, American Idol is off and running again, a couple of weeks in with the first auditions.
In some ways, these early shows are the best because you see some of the worst, most
mind-bendingly AWFUL performers screeching and squawking their way through pop,
rock and country songs. It's funny of course, but also sad because it's SO obvious that
these poor people sing terribly but NOBODY (not a trusted friend or family member)
tells them and they are left to humiliate themselves on national television.
Having said that, of course the big AI news this year is the change in judges. Gone are
Ellen Degeneres (who was awful, always liked everybody and never said anything to help
anyone move forward), Kara Dioguardi (kind of a hot mess, she had the music biz experience
but kept insisting that singers actually EXPERIENCED what they were singing about - stupid),
and Simon Cowell, who was the co-creator of the show and left to crank out his own Idol-type show.
While he could be heartless, he was always the most helpful and sincere of the lot.
Returning is Randy "Dawg" Jackson, who so far seems to be struggling to fill the large shoes
left by Cowell. He can't decide if he still wants to just be cool and recite his rhetoric
("i just wasn't feeling that, man, you know dog, a little pitchy") or try and become more
of a meanie. Right now he vacillates between the two. Jennifer Lopez's addition to the crew
did not excite me at all, and so far she has been pretty non-decisive, and almost Ellen-ish
in her insistence not to be bluntly honest about someone's talent, or lack thereof. But, I do think
she'll come around and be a good judge overall, even though she probably has more flops than
hits on her resume - I know I would steer clear of any advice she doles out but that's just me.
And that leaves Steven Tyler of Aerosmith fame - at first I thought his inclusion was going to
prove to be the last dying gasp of an old, burned-out rocker, but man was I ever wrong.
He's funny, human, honest, and sincerely helpful even to the WORST of the early auditioners.
He's having a good time and helps to loosen up the singers as well as Randy and J-Lo.
I offer this one example from the Nashville auditions: the performance that got the most
press was Chris Medina and his fiancee who was injured and paralyzed in a car accident.
When they wheeled her in after Chris' successful "You're Going To Hollywood" moment,
Randy's response was to walk over and say "hello, how are you" as if she was going to say
how great her life was. J-Lo approached her expecting her to be so excited to be meeting
Jennifer Lopez that she would miraculously LEAP out of her chair and hug her.
J-Lo was visibly uncomfortable. But Tyler, he went right to her, embraced her, and said
that her man sounded great because he was singing to her! It was heartfelt and honest and
if you didn't get a tear from that well you should check and see if the ducts are working properly.
So anyway, there were some truly great performances and I'm sure we'll be seeing some of
these folks for awhile. Some squeaked through on their looks and lots of 15-year-olds (they've
lowered the age this year) will not have the maturity and experience to make it too far.
But it is AI, it doesn't always proceed logically. We'll see what happens this week and
I'll start throwing in some predictions about who I think will make the cuts>.
Bob in SC