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  • TV Review: AMERICAN IDOL Premiere

    January 20th, 2011

    That’s right, I’ll admit it. I watch American Idol. I have since season one and at one time, I was a total fanatic. To this day, I have a total Kelly Clarkson fetish. And Carrie Underwood too. But besides those two and perhaps Daughtry and Adam Lambert (both of whom didn’t win), what has American Idol done for music lately?  It took me a minute to remember who won last year, and we haven’t heard from Lee Dwyze since (which I’m okay with). So can they go back to finding true superstar talent now that Simon’s not there?

    I based my business model after Simon Cowell – naturally, I was a fan. And while on occasion he was too cruel, sometimes people need to hear it. And for me, along with some good singing, Simon was the reason to watch. I also really liked Kara (I think I was the only one though) – I thought she was blunt and cool and just a bit high strung and pretty hot and that’s how I like my judging. But with both of them gone (and thankfully Ellen too), the new panel of judges of Steven Tyler, J-Lo and the “Dawg” Randy Jackson are missing something – and I hope they find it before it’s too late.

    I realize it was only the first episode, so I’m not going to judge the whole season yet and I’m going to give them some time to adjust to their new jobs, but the judges were just SOOO nice. It was like watching Paula Abdul times 3, but with less medication.  And perhaps it is the cynical asshole in me, but while I don’t like watching 2 hours of the WORST singers ever, I do like watching people get told the truth. And last night, the judges sent 51 (!!) people thru to Hollywood in the first 2 days of audition. This is about DOUBLE the amount they usually send from each location. At this rate, they will have 500 people go to Hollywood instead of the 200ish they usually bring.

    I know part of this is due to editing, but it really seemed like EVERYONE got a golden ticket and that’s mostly because they were solely going on voice and didn’t know how to say NO. And American Idol isn’t just about voice – it’s about having IT, it’s about having the ability to be the “American Idol.”

    And that trashy Jersey Shore reject with stars on her tits and her Snooki-gut hanging out – wasn’t Idol material. But because she could put a few notes together, she got through. Same for a couple others like the off-the-wall chick that sang show-tunes and wants to be the next Liza. I liked her – I thought she was a friggin’ hoot and for some reason, I think the ‘white-trash sexy’ look is hot – but come on – she’s not the next American Idol so why put her through?

    Same with a bunch of other contestants who were OK singers but certainly don’t deserve to be on AI. For me, there were only a couple of standouts include Robbie Rosen from Long Island, who was wheelchair bound and now isn’t. He was probably the best of the bunch.

    The other thing that stood out this year is the number of 15 and 16 year olds was WAY higher than any year before. This is the first year 15 year olds have been allowed to compete, and there were a few good ones, but it makes me feel like a dirty old man because some of them were…well…really hot (like that girl whose dad had throat cancer).  Luckily Steven Tyler is there to hit on them for me.

    Unfortunately, I think MOST of the 15 year olds will flame out at Hollywood week. Yes, they can sing, but I’m guessing many don’t know how to arrange music and sing with a group and sing music that they haven’t been rehearsing for years.

    I’m still waiting to see what Jimmy Iovine brings to the show in the mentor capacity, but I’m happy that they have done away with bringing in a different star to mentor them every week – that was pointless and they often gave conflicted notes to the contestants. And thank God the theme weeks are gone too – no more disco! I respect exec producer Nigel Lythgoe a lot – he’s talented, he’s got personality, and I think he does an awesome job on So You Think You Can Dance. And he did a great job on the first 5 seasons or so of Idol, so I think he’s going to shake up the show well. But for now, he just needs to get his judges to have a stronger backbone.

    I think J-Lo brings a personality to the show and I don’t hate her, she just needs to toughen up. Everyone knows (or thinks) she’s a bitch, so I understand her wanting to go the total other way to improve her image and become profitable again (let’s face it, the girls’ movie and music career is pretty much over), but she has to lay the smack down every once in a while. Randy’s doing a better job as the heavy, but he still needs to stop reaching his neck out like a damn peacock and he needs to say more than 5 words if he’s going to be the Simon of the bunch.

    And Steven Tyler…what can I say? I love the guy. Aerosmith is in my top 5 favorite bands of all-time. But he reminds me a little bit of what would happen if Gary Busey was also a musical genius and could hit on 16 year olds girls without seeming like a total rapist.  But, I’ve got hope. And the chance to hear him sing on Idol is worth the wait.

    So, I’m going to give this season a shot. The first episode was…NICE. Not bad, not great…just NICE. Hopefully, the talent gets better than the first two days. And hopefully the judges get a bit tougher. And despite ratings being down another 10% from last year, that’s pretty good considering its shining Simon star is gone. I think people will stick around as long as Idol keeps hitting the right notes.

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