Tonight’s premiere of ‘American Idol’ season 10 felt like many seasons before, showing the good, the bad, and the downright funny auditions. But the bright spot was the rapport the three judges had with one another, and the development of their ability to say “no” to the more outrageous of the contestants.
Newcomer judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined veteran Randy Jackson for the season 10 opener, which started with New Jersey auditions.
The opening segment caught my eye right away, in that the “winners montage” now includes headshots of both Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson – non-winners, but successful former contestants that deserve recognition.
Ryan Seacrest announced that 125,000 hopefuls tried out, and at the end of the opening episode, 51 contestants from NJ had been the first to pass through to Hollywood.
But it wasn’t a cakewalk getting there. Lopez, as expected, is a nurturer and started out as the “softie”; much like Paula Abdul before her, Lopez tended to tread lightly when trying to tell a contestant they just weren’t the right fit. Tyler, for his part, also struggled initially with confronting the auditioners head-on.
After they turned away the first few unqualified candidates, the “no’s” came easier for both of them. Tyler seemed to be much more direct than Lopez, looking the contestants right in the eye and delivering the news with little cushion.
How did the judges do overall? Not bad. All three of the judges have distinct personalities that meshed well, and it falls to Jackson to be the heavy. Without Simon Cowell to make snide remarks and insult the contestants, Jackson usually tries to give it to them straight. Though I think he is most effective when he is in complete disbelief at what he’s heard, and says something along the lines of, “Really? No, really?”
And what of the contestants from the Garden State? No one really set the room on fire, though the singing waitress was quite good, as was the sweet 16 gal in the floral skirt, and Kensey Palmer, the third person shown in tonight’s show. There were the usual amount of dull thuds, including a woman from the Ivory Coast that absolutely butchered Madonna’s “Dress You Up.”
All in all, nothing earthshattering. Maybe that’s for the best. ‘American Idol’ is familiar and comfortable. Returning to the three-judge format makes the auditions go more quickly. The kids are varying degrees of talented to flat-out awful.
But it’s only the first episode of many. What did you think?
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