American Idol Season 10 Premiere: What Did You Think?

It’s a beautiful daaaaaay! Those were the lyrics that closed out Lee DeWyze’s season 9 victory march on American Idol, but they’re also mighty applicable at this very moment, given that the nation’s most popular reality competition returned to the airwaves in fine form tonight after a seven-and-a-half month hiatus.

Admittedly, night one of Idol 10.0 wasn’t its most thrilling installment of all-time ever, but the show’s increased emphasis on truly talented singers — and its decision not to belabor audition packages from the talentless, the deluded, and the attention-craving — made for a zippy, feel-good 120 minutes. And while the season premiere lacked Simon Cowell’s addictively salty bitchery, it benefited greatly from Steven Tyler’s stream-of-righteous critiques. Yeah, sometimes it takes a beat to translate the hoots and howls and adjectives emanating from the Aerosmith frontman’s giant mouth, but he’s already exhibiting solid instincts when faced with young, unpolished talent. His “I wasn’t feelin’ the pizazz” feedback to big-voiced-but-soulless 15-year-old Kenize Palmer was spot on, even if he eventually caved and said “yes” to giving her a Golden Ticket.

And while I’m not certain we saw the eventual Season 10 Idol champ during tonight’s telecast, there were plenty of Top 10 (or perhaps Top 13) contenders in the mix. Among them: adorable Robbie Rosen (who infused “Yesterday” with youthful charm); polite Staten Island teenager Brielle von Hugel (who resisted the urge to vibrato “Endless Love” to death); and deeply annoying but undeniably talented Victoria Huggins. (Interestingly, Victoria embodied the evening’s two major Golden Ticket trends: The judges were kind to teenage vocalists, as well as singers who entered the room looking like punch line fodder but turned out to have serious vocal ability.)

There’s a lot more to discuss — Jennifer Lopez’s debut! Those new opening credits! The fact that one-time Idolatry guest Rachel Zevita is back in Idol business! –but it’s time I got started on my full Idol recap, which will post right here at in the wee small hours of the morning. Until that column goes live, you can head down to the comments section and share your thoughts and feelings about the Idol season premiere, and of course, sign up to follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. AJ says:

    Can we talk about how much glitter JLo was wearing both days? Even her fingernails sparkled.

    • Stacie says:

      Can we also talk about the fact that JLO blatently lied. Telling that girl that she remembers her? C’mon! No one remembers her, I barely remember who won the whole show that season let alone a random contestant 4 years ago, that barely made it then and got cut in Hollywod.

      What a strange way to kick off your Idol reign, lie to the first contestant we see. Odd.

      • Sabrina says:

        Gotta tell you, my daughter recognized that girl too. And she has not watched Idol much the last few years. But she recognized her before they showed her earlier audition. Some people just stick in your brain, well maybe not YOUR brain, but people’s brains.

      • J. May says:

        It’s at best a stretch to say that Lopez lied about remembering that girl’s audition. Perhaps her memory was jogged a little by the producers, but you can’t say that she lied. I mean, I remember her audition clearly so why can’t J. Lo?

      • AJ says:

        I remembered her! And I wasn’t the only one — Vote For the Worst did as well.

      • Serg says:

        I don’t remember what season she was on, but I remember her.

      • Summer says:

        I remembered her as well, actually.

      • Grace says:

        Yeah, not going to lie, I remembered her too. Though my first reaction to that was that if J.Lo actually remembered her it must be because she recently watched tapes of past seasons in preparation for judging. Which, if that’s true, way to go J.Lo!

        • Stacie says:

          You guys have great memories, but you guys actually think J.Lo remembered her and wasn’t prepped beforehand? I think she got a little card that says she was on a past season, maybe she even watched a clip of her before the audition knowing she was coming in and was stretching the truth out a little. I mean she never did say she remembers her 4 years ago she just said she remembered her. Meaning she could have rememebered her from the clip she saw 3 minutes earlier. We just don’t know.

          Of course I can’t say for 100% certainity that she lied, but it’s incredibly unlikely if you actually logically think that after 4 seasons and hundreds and hundreds of contestants and hundreds of shows that Jennifer Lopez actually watched the 1 episode that featured this girl, who was in the show for only the audition round and was cut in the first round of Hollywood week. It seems implausible.

          That is cool that you guys remember the girl, but I think alot of you remembered her from the little flashback they showed of her singing in the past audition round. If she came into a room(like she did with Jennifer Lopez) and said do you remember me without opening her mouth and said she was on Season 6 I sincerly doubt you’d recall much about her let alone recall her at all.

      • Mannie says:

        It’s appearing that while you didn’t remember her, many others did, and there’s little reason to think that JL has a more faulty memory than the people here. So maybe your assertion that JL is a blatent liar isn’t an overly supportable contention. Of course, now it’s gone from J-Lo is a blatent liar to, well, OK maybe she didn’t actually lie, to well, OK, I can’t actually know if she lied or not, to well, OK, maybe all the rest of you didn’t actually remember her either. Sometimes mistakes are made and sometimes it’s better just to own them and let it go.

      • B- says:

        J.Lo did remember her because when she put her through, she reminded her that she needed to bring it Hollywood week or she would be sent home again after the first round. I give her the benefit of the doubt. Especially since J.Lo was a guest mentor in Season 5 and she seems to be a huge fan of the show.

        • Stacie says:

          J.Lo had a little note down on her paper that said that this girl was cut in Hollywood week. There have been plenty of former contestants that audition for the second or third or fourth time. I can’t give her the benefit of the doubt here. But if you want to go ahead.

          I am not saying that people on here or anywhere don’t remember her after being reminded of her. I just would like to know if you were sitting in a room like the judges were, and this girl comes in and says I was on 4 years ago for less than 2 episodes at about 3 or 4 minutes a piece, doesn’t yet sing, you’re saying you’d remember her? Honestly? If so then this girl really made an impression for such a limited amount of screen time 4 years ago.

  2. CMJ says:

    West Coaster here, so it doesn’t start for another 20 minutes, but am bummed that my cyber partner for the show has opted out of watching this year. Glad I found Slezak.

    I do admit i enjoy seeing people realize their dreams are dead, and that their teacher/pastor/parent has been lying to them about thier talent (or more so lack thereof). I still want to see some of that!!

  3. agrimesy says:

    I was mostly amused by the Idol premiere this season. I squeeed a little bit when I saw Adam Lambert on the big panels behind the stage during the introduction! I really liked Steven Tyler as he truly appreciated(savored even) the decent singers and comically beared it out through the lemons. I saw a couple potential contenders, but I don’t even try to remember their names until the field narrows considerably. I will watch again tomorrow night. BTW, congrats on your new job, Slezak.

  4. Tejana says:

    I thought that the judges had good chemistry. Looking forward to tomorrow’s episode.

  5. Grant says:

    tonight was a breath of fresh air. not the best ever, but it was different and i enjoyed it

  6. Amber says:

    Very interesting evening. They are determined to get their young, young, young Idol, preferably a girl. No one remotely resembled a mature singer/songwriter so it will be a different type of show. Loved the new judges though. Much better show. Whew!

  7. Saracen Riggins says:

    I barely noticed Simon’s absence – contrary to my expectations. I thought the 3 judges really meshed well together. I’m hopeful! I kind of hate Victoria Huggins, though. Also, was Adam the only non-winner in the opening credits? It’s irritating regardless of whether or not he was joined by any others. But especially irritating if he was the only one.

  8. syb says:

    Good grief, Michael Slezak I almost panicked when I saw you erased from a certain other website. What would I do during Idol season with your almost always spot on snarkticles?

    • Lissa says:

      Agreed! Slezak, I had a heart attack when I saw you left the “other site.” I hope you are happy here and that it is what “you” wanted? Anyway, now that I know where you are I can breathe easier. I enjoyed the chemistry with the three judges tonight. It was refreshing and exactly what this tired old horse needed.

  9. Daniel says:

    “How many paint chips did you eat as a child?”

    I love Steven Tyler as a judge. He is what Ellen should have been: funny and honest. And he was coherent and generally spot on.

  10. Gen of Montreal says:

    I have to admit, I checked out of American Idol. I switched to Modern Family and Live to Dance. I’ll try going back when we hit the the top 12.

  11. Sara says:

    It was much better than I thought it would be. I really enjoyed Tyler. Jennifer was a bit annoying with not wanting to say no. I thought they let too many through in the beginning. I also do not like when they give the judges the back story ahead of time and then have them refer to it. It makes it seem less genuine when they get through.

  12. RP says:

    It was good. I really like JLo and Steven as judges, and Randy was far less annoying then he could have been.

    There were definitely a lot of young kids with sad stories, but it didn’t stop the Kosovo chick, Brielle, and the last guy and his twin from tugging at my heartstrings anyway!

  13. Francesca says:

    Loved it! Whole new energy. JLo and Steven Tyler were great. Pleasantly surprised.

  14. crazigrami says:

    I thought I’d miss Simon. I didn’t. Lots of talented young ones, but look at the youth market. They (or their parents) buy music. We only saw a few if the 51 they put through. One word of caution. Randy and Steven should watch the age of the contestants when they make their commments, Age appropriate guys. Don’t want to be called dirty old men. It will be interesting to see what they do when it isn’t good vs bad but who is good and who is better.

  15. Louanne says:

    Seems I’m in the minority. Backstories(who cares at this point), and nothing different except the average dropped by about a decade. Boring unless all you watch is the judges. Maybe that’s the point now. Not for me. I’m done.

  16. songkat says:

    Solid beginning, it felt like a breath of fresh air. Simon who?

  17. randomx6 says:

    Eh – Tyler looked good. But so did Ellen until they went live. Jlo might as well be a sign that says yes…Editing does wonders. Did not see much talent though. Way too many people got through…

  18. Paco says:

    I did not miss Simon AT ALL! I was ready to hate Jlo and Steven but I actually ended up loving them both as judges. Especially Steven, he was making me die laughing throughout the entire episode. When he said that paint chips comment to that guy, I thought i was gonna die of laughter. And Jlo wasnt bad, yeah the not being able to say no thing was annoying but I was expecting so much more… she was cool as a judge. better than Paula or Kara anyway, imo.

  19. ErixN says:

    I really enjoyed it. Loved J.Lo and Tyler as judges. Randy seems to be better without Simon being present.

  20. DJ says:

    I was pleasantly surprised. I expected the show to majorly suck, and I thought the Stephen Tyler/J-Lo/Randy combo sounded scary, but it worked. Not as well as Simon/Paula/Randy, but it worked. Stephen was funny in unexpected places, like when that girl went to get her cancer-survivor dad, and he sang out “Daddeeee!” opera-style. I also could tell that J-Lo would eventually let her inner bitch out for the world to see, despite all her protestations of “I can’t do this!” My favorite audition of the night was the Japanese MJ-wannabe who seemed too bored to be there but nonetheless errupted with a charming version of “Party in the USA,” complete with dance moves.

    I still think this is the last season, but I don’t think it will be quite as painful to watch as I feared.

  21. Tek says:

    Loved the new quirky vibe and the fact that Randy said no to more folks…imagine what would have made it through if not for the dawg. Too many not ready contestants put thru. Agree with earlier post that judges shouldn’t know the back stories. I’ll be watching, if for nothing other than seeing what will fly out of Tylers’ mouth…see what hatches indeed. Still laughing about that one. Ruff!

  22. Sue says:

    I was pleasantly surprised with the judges. I did not miss Simon at all. What shocked me is how much I like Steven Tyler as a judge. He was funny, critical and spot on with a lot of what he had to say. Also, seeing him sing along or bop along with the beat was nice to see.

  23. Raymar says:

    Slezak! I had to hunt u down! I wasn’t aware you moved to TVline but I found you, thank God! Idol wouldn’t be the same without ur epic recaps! After the Epic FAIL that was Season 9, I can say that I have fallen back in love with Idol. Two words: Steven Tyler. As far as contestants: loved Caleb and the Singing Waitress…and that’s about it. Anyways, can’t wait for the recap!

  24. Lundy says:

    Slezak baby! Please find a way to bring us somethin’ like your old Idolatry. I loved those. Thanks for listening. :)

  25. Lilylane7 says:

    Wow, I actually liked Steven & Jlo tonight. They were much more engaged in the show than I expected them to be. Nicer kinda respectful tone acknowledging that for the sincere this is about pursuing a dream. But still had enough edge to make it fun. And new judges came off as A talent not career resurgence desparate, maybe we will see benwfit of their years making hits? Fingers crossed, so far so much better than I expected!

  26. lovethemusic says:

    Randy was awake, Tyler pure entertainment, and what’s not to love about JLO. They may put the kids first instead of selling themselves. Hope they have a parent wing at the mansion and a large room for homework

  27. Lilylane7 says:

    Echo comment above, glad to have found you Mr.Slezak- congrats on the new gig! the only thing good about Idol last year were your recaps, here’s to a new & hopefully improved season but regardless one made better by your commentary.

  28. Street23 says:

    Perfectly fine start for the new judges, I thought. I’ll reserve final judgement until we get to see them make some tougher decisions and deal with a live audience, but so far, the chemistry and rapport seem to be there, and I can easily see myself giving Tyler and J. Lo a few hours of my life each week. And Randy seems to benefit from some new blood too — he still lapses into the usual trite dawg-isms every now and then, but it’s also nice to have a familiar face and some continuity on the panel.

  29. DF says:

    I have to concur with the majority that the judges meshed so much better than expected. Relieved from the responsibility of going first, the usually inarticulate RJ was much more incisive. No doubt that the MVP was Tyler, but all in all, a well-produced ep. Can’t wait for the full report, Michael.

  30. MichelleR says:

    First off, had a panic attack when Slezak was NOT where I’d left him. Secondly, I’m watching this year to see how much jailbait Tyler is gonna be mackin’ on — it’s creepy and compelling.

  31. slezak for prez says:

    i was not impressed, no one replaced simon, they just replaced two paulas. and slezak how could you miss the moment when steven tyler hit the desk ala kara!! my jaw actually dropped!! it was one of the first contestants! i was laughing so hard… t
    he show almost became AI sponsored by make-a-wish foundation,….not as bad as last year, but almost.
    Robbie rosen- token Jewish boy from Long Island! just big lolz,
    i think old idolatrii used to come out thursday-friday!!!!! im expecting it, fyi- if you started making us buy idolatry on itunes for .99, hell id even buy it for 1.29!!!

  32. heather mac says:

    Do you think playing Dream On during Steven Tyler’s intro video package was a jab at Gokey?

  33. KathyP says:

    LOVED it! Loved Steven & Jlo, and Randy didn’t even bother me tonight! This is gonna be a good season…I can just feel it!

  34. Cuca says:

    Señor Slezak, where can I go online to watch episode 1 at a place where I’m not going to end up with computer scabies? I am in a state of panic. Help! I’ve had an unfortunate electronic equipment meltdown on this full moon night and I need my idol fix!
    I’m so glad and relieved to see you here. I’m looking forward to a season of relishing and rollicking in all that is idol with you. Thanks for carrying the torch and congratulations on the new position.

  35. kristen w/o glasses says:

    I think randy some of the time was thinking WWSD- what would simon do. I think randy was wrong most of the time, last night, as usual but i think he’s doing better than last year or at least trying, or at the very least, maybe he is aware of where he is sitting at any/most given moments, as opposed to every other year when he all, for me for you for me for you for me for you blah bla bla….. basically what im saying is hes doing better, not much and better doesnt mean hes any good.

  36. jimmy says:

    I loved it! Simon who? did miss him at all.

  37. AM says:

    Steven Tyler was hilarious. His commentary was great and accurate, loved how he got into the music. Overall, he is the best judge Idol has had. Much better than Simon, with more personality. JLo was ok. Randy seemed much better/less annoying in the past. Maybe being out from under Simon’s shadow helped him. All in all, a good episode. And much, much better than the past few years.

  38. sara says:

    I was so expecting to loathe JLo tonight but I was shocked at how much I really liked her. Loved Steven “did you eat many paint chips as a child?” The chemistry is looking good, they just need to grow more of a spine and stop letting so many marginal talents through. And too many 16 year olds. And PLEASE no more letting obnoxious family members (i.e. the last guys mother) into the audition rooms. Great start to the season in terms of the judging, but still waiting for the talent.

  39. Ashtrash says:

    Oh Slezak…I about died when I realized there would be no EW recap on Idol from you. And then I remembered – the best things about EW (You and Ask Ausiello) are here!! Now. What can we do about getting you, Kristen Baldwin and Evil Kristen together for some Idolatry awesomeness???

  40. Butters says:

    So this is where Slezak is situated huh? Am I glad to have run into you again! :D

  41. Eleanor says:

    I’m sold! Love love love the new Idol. So far so good. I am totally in love with Steven Tyler…Simon who? And JLo and Randy, totally tolerable so far, well done.

  42. lynn says:

    loved it! so much better than last season. definitely looking forward to season 10! glad to find Slezak here!

  43. GeralynK says:

    I totally forgot about Simon being a judge. I really like these three Musketeers! Of course like all the other #IdolSaps I cried at Travis Rolando’s story. By most of all went through the roof at the very beginning opening when they showed that HUGE pic of Adam Lambert from his Mad World Finale performance AI8 & the Kradam moment AI8. The show has a diferent look, a different energy. I will be watching this year! I REALLY like Robbie Robsen from NJ.

  44. Tvfanatically says:

    This is defiantly not as bad as it could have been. Randy seemed more focus, probably because he has the most experience of the three. Steven Tyler was hilarious throughout the entire show, and he gave good criticism, but I saw him cave to the other judges a bit more than I liked and had some trouble with the final yes/no. I was disappointed in JLo – it seemed to me as if she wanted to let everybody through. Needs to grow more of a spine, I think. But I’m still reserving judgement until I see them all live! Didn’t agree with some of the people they let through, but saw some with some serious talent. Hopes are high!

  45. J. May says:

    Slezak, we gonna have a version of Idolatry here?

  46. Grace says:

    Wow, I just have to say I LOVE all the positivity here, such a pleasant departure from the usual… Hello new favorite post-Idol forum!

  47. Gabe Loves TV says:

    Why has Slezak left It’s not the same!! What will become of Idolatry?

  48. jeff says:

    For some reason sitting in Simon’s chair has slighty turned Randy into Mr. No. Randy is also making decent observations. J Lo and Steven Tyler seem like a good change of pace. I miss Simon, but this season might not suck.

  49. Tanya says:

    Im glad I follow you on twitter or I would’ve gone crazy without your blog! Very excited for the new season. Steven brought some comedy to the show unlike Ellen(whose show I love). Steven needs to becareful though w the young girls around. He seems to get alittle firtly w them! Ha

  50. ann says:

    Always said Slezak was the best thing about AI – the only time I went to the EW website was for him. So glad I found him. Hope he can do a version of Idolatry, and wish Kristen Baldwin would follow him here!
    Hope they’re treating you right, Slezak!