In years past I haven’t been able to sit through a complete episode of American Idol as they go through each city auditioning would be singers. I cringed, I closed my eyes, I prayed for it to be over soon and even hit the mute or worse (at least for the television execs. . . ) I turned the channel.
It was one thing to watch someone with less than stellar talent take to the stage and stare in disbelief as Simon told him/her they were crap. Or my favorite, a cabaret act on a cruise ship. . . The past two years I couldn’t even watch due to Paula, Randy, Kara and Ellen search for the words to gently let someone down. Paula would take ten minutes to tell someone that singing wasn’t their thing but your shoes are too cute! Really?
Maybe it is my penchant for British men or maybe it was just Simon Cowell, but I loved his feedback, honest, to the point and without the over the top, let’s have some emotions about that blade of grass growing blah, blah, blah that the other judges came up with to tell a contestant thanks but no thanks.
Last year I couldn’t even manage to watch one complete episode because it was so painful. I had given up any hopes of the show making it without Simon and then thought I would laugh myself into a stupor when they announced Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez as replacements.
I like the three judge format, it actually gives each judge a chance to talk, critique because let’s face it; they all have a different viewpoint. While I was certain that Tyler’s agreement to judge would call into question his rock star status (and apparently everyone sells out at some point, no need to get all anti-establishment on me) and JLo’s inability to relate to anyone that could not afford even a spec off of a Jimmy Choo would mean the death to Idol, I have been surprised.
Tyler has that dirty old man personality that I am drawn to (not physically, just to set the record straight) and even has someone like me (left of center and laid back) cringing, but he is taking the judging role seriously. JLo seems to be at odds with really critiquing the contestant with a fear that they might not like her after that and an apparent ability to show kindness to those that walk across the stage. Randy, well, I still get set on edge with his “yo, dawg” every other word but he seems to have found his place now that Cowell and company have parted the stage.
The contestants are still the same but with a beautiful twist, those “geeky, not the A crowd” kids are showing they have talent. Not everybody with talent has to be the captain of the cheerleading squad dating the star football player. I, myself, have quietly judge some of the “lessor” pretty people that came through only to be blown away by their chops, belief in themselves and the bravery it takes to really put yourself out there.
I want to punch the kid that kicked the kid out of the group when he feared said kid would drag the group down. The Jersey girl who had an okay voice with the stars on her ta tas? Oh yeah, she was the one that insured no one (except one not so bright but very kind girl from the Nashville auditions) wanted to work with her when it came to group night. The sad part about that is she is probably sitting at home swearing up and down that no one was good enough to work with her instead of realizing it could have been her attitude that killed it.
The real challenge will be when they cull the group down to 24 and start to really judge. Will the judges be able to direct the talent? Will they be able to see and hear what the American audience does? And will someone, for the love that is all holy, teach Ryan Seacrest how to talk without bopping his head when he accentuates his words? If not, those frosted locks of his might break off. . .