American Idol Season 12 Premiere Recap: Prepare for Shock and Claw Tactics [Updated]

ashlee felicianoWhen Nicki Minaj’s eyebrow speaks, you’d better pay attention.

Sometimes it raises itself up — like a King Cobra — threatening to strike out at those who dare to disagree with its master. Other times it furrows comically, framing a sarcastic side-eye directed at the stream of divaness emanating from She Who Has Sold As Many Albums as Everyone Who’s Ever Come Off of Idol Combined*. (*At least that’s what Ryan Seacrest tells us.)

Occasionally, it softens, because it understands that just because a 15-year-old boy with no singing talent has the nerve to be Asian and wear thick-framed glasses on national television doesn’t mean he should be pilloried in the public square while the town bullies administer a wedgie of cataclysmic proportions. (In fact, sometimes, all this kind of kid really needs is a hug.)

Once in a while, it spazzes out — because it’s not getting enough attention underneath the cotton-candy wigs and band-leader hats and 20-ply false eyelashes, and it really, really, really likes getting attention.

Still, after watching American Idol‘s very promising Season 12 premiere, I’m pretty certain of one thing: No matter how Nicki Minaj and her expressive eyebrow perform over the next several months, she’s not going to “save” the show from its annual ratings slippage — oh how 99 percent of programs wish they had those kinds of problems! — nor will she “destroy” The House That Kelly Clarkson Built. Ditto for The Lady Carey, she of the gigantic voice, fragile ego, keen ear and penchant for delicious bitchery. Or the other new judge, Keith Urban, who’s got great hair and a sweet, thoughtful demeanor. (Randy Jackson, well, he always has the potential to ruin everything.)

My point here is — and every die-hard Idoloonie knows this — Fox’s ubiquitous singing competition will always live or die based on its contestants, not on its all-star panel.

This message was reinforced, in a maniacal stroke of genius, in the opening seconds of Season 12, with a quiet shot of a lonely stool in the center of a concert hall. Cut to an acoustic guitar. An amp. An old-fashioned mic. And Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips, singing “Home,” the monster hit with the “ooooh ooooh-ooooh ooh-ooh-ooh” chorus you’ve had stuck in your head since McKayla Maroney landed that spectacular vault during the 2012 Summer Olympics. And then, finally, the voice of Ryan Seacrest, booming the reminder: “Last summer, you turned a pawn-shop worker into a mega-star!” Yes indeedy! (Quick poll: How many times have you played “Home” on iTunes? My playcount stands at 53.)

Okay, so maybe Seacrest’s declaration that “together, we’ll take the journey that defines a nation” stepped over the border of hyperbole and into the land of utter absurdity, but by his own admission, the host with the most has been “tired for 10 years,” so let’s cut him a little bit of slack (something Emmy voters never seem to do).

But back to the contestants…since that’s what it’s really all about. The Season 12 premiere gave us extended footage of eight promising Golden Ticket recipients — including a few voices with possible superstar potential. Better still, for the first time in Idol history, we saw multiple examples of the judges voting “no” to moderately talented auditioners with super-compelling backstories. Jessica Rose Kartalis, the girl who got her audition invite from Carson Daly in a Kia from Randy in Staten Island struck out by performing a banal original track (I flinched when the opening line had her staring at the object of her affection from a park bench). And as for handsome Evan Ruggiero, whose leg was amputated in an effort to save him from bone cancer, he’d have easily gone to Hollywood if J.Lo and Steven Tyler had encountered him in Seasons 10 or 11, but ultimately, the judges realized the kid needed more seasoning. His “I’m Yours” was too crisp for a song that’s 50 percent groove, while “Wanted Dead or Alive” needed 3/4 of a cup of ugly to transcend the sterile manner in which it was delivered. And who can argue with a more selective Hollywood Week crop?

Sure, there was the annual Let’s Make Fun of a Guy With a Foreign Accent interlude, but there was also an end-of-episode tryout involving a radiant young woman and her medically complex foster siblings that had my eyes spilling over with tears (and I don’t think it’s merely because my hubby and I have been fostering kids ourselves for the last couple of years).

Anyhow, let’s dive in to a quick rundown of the non-jokey/non-humiliation-centric Season 12 auditions from New York’s Lincoln Center.

Going to Hollywood
* Tenna Torres, 28, attended Camp Mariah as a girl, and as we learned from Chicago (the musical, obvs), “when you’re good to mama, mama’s good to you.” In other words, as Tenna launched into a bell-clear if slightly overwrought rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend,” her former camp counselor looked on lovingly, her eyes welling up with tears of pride. (Burning question: Does Camp Mariah still exist? And does it make me a bad recapper that I’m just too lazy to Google it?) Whatever the case, Tenna is the kind of potential Idol winner to whom Mariah could point with pride, especially if her Season 12 set list includes “Hero,” “My All,” and “One Sweet Day.”

* Next up we saw a montage of two guys and one gal scoring Golden Tickets to Hollywood — but Uncle Nigel didn’t even bother to put their names on the screen. Which probably means two of ’em will be cut on Day 1 of Hollywood, while the show’s producers will spend the next four months relentlessly hyping the third.

* Love her or hate her, you’ve got to respect Nicki for refusing to pretend that she doesn’t have an 11-page dossier on every single person whom the producers plan to release into the audition room. As Christina “Isabelle” took her mark in front of the judges’ table, Nicki said she was surprised to have read that the “amazing, beautiful and confident” woman in front of her had ever struggled with weight and body-image issues. But Christina’s talents ran far deeper than merely looking good and feeling gorgeous: Her rendition of Gershwin’s “Summertime” was rich and complex, showcasing a dreamy tone and a willingness to play around with the melody (as she did with a sweet and high ad-lib on the phrase “your daddy’s rich”). Christina told the panel that she’d modeled herself after Mariah and Celine tradition, but as Keith astutely noted, you could hear the humanity pouring out of Christina in a way many strictly technical balladeers fail to accomplish. And that quality could help carry her a long way in the Season 12.

* Shira Gavrielov had a No. 1 hit in Israel as a teenager, but her slurry imitation of Amy Winehouse on “Valerie” ranked no better than eighth (out of eight) for me among the premiere episode’s Golden Ticket recipients. I may be wrong, but I suspect a scientific study might reveal some correlation between the inadequacy of Shira’s tiny white booty shorts and the way her voice worked the corner at the intersection of Strained and Fatigued. Put on some pants the next time you’re planning to be on television, girl!

* Frankie Ford is used to singing for change on the New York City subway, so he was well prepared to be heard above the din of Mariah and Nicki squawking insults at each other (as well as the sound of Randy Jackson asking himself questions about where he stood on various contestants going to Hollywood, since no one else really cares about the Dawg’s opinion). And after a false start in which the likable kid got choked up from the emotions he felt at the opportunity before him, he rallied and delivered a rendition of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” that was unexpectedly daring in terms of pitch and melody. Nicki was right that he doesn’t have the best voice of Season 12 — Frankie’s tone veered toward a whine at the high end of his register — but the fact that he’s already striving for more than karaoke and his intention of “outworking everyone here” make me curious to see how he’ll fare in Hollywood.

* If Sarah Restuccio‘s audition package gave you a sense of deja vu, perhaps it’s because all those images of the 17-year-old riding her four-wheeler and shooting her bow and arrow and declaring her love of mud were all Single White Femaled from Season 11’s Skylar Laine. (Warning to Sarah: Go anywhere near “Stay With Me” or “Gunpowder and Lead,” and we’re going to be talking restraining order.) The blueberry farmer’s version of “Mama’s Song” probably would’ve gotten her a Golden Ticket despite not all the big notes standing up 100 percent straight (hey, she’s gorgeous, and that still counts in Nigel’s world), but it was her followup take on Nicki’s “Super Bass” that will make this an audition to remember. Randy, of course, responded to the shift from country to rap by waving his hand and shouting “Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I’m confused,” but Nicki wasn’t having his small-mindedness. Farmgirls don’t have to confine themselves to a single genre, she argued, and Sarah’s willingness to show such opposing sides of her musical personality will only make young female viewers identify with her, Nicki noted. Pastel-er heads prevailed — and Sarah’s goin’ to Hollywood!

* I liked the matter-of-factness Angela Miller used to convey her partial hearing loss to the judges: No tears, no sweeping strings, no questions about her general self-worth were required to give the panel a heads up about the challenges she’ll face in the competition. But while the judges went totally wild for Angela’s cover of Jessie J’s “Mama Knows Best,” I’d have preferred the 18-year-old to show a little more finesse with the tune, maybe not feel like she needed to be cranked up to 10 from start to finish. Keith made a good point, however, that Angela engaged the judges by slinking toward them and not standing frozen stiff on the stage, and when you add that to the fact that she didn’t hit a single bad note, it probably means that I’ve reached the nitpicky portion of this recap.

* Speaking of which, did Randy really need to let out a loud, doltish “wowwww!” as Sikh contestant Gurpreet Sing Sarin entered the audition room. Yo, yo, yo, dude, what was the “wow” about? “Wow, you’re wearing a turban”? “Wow, you’re of South Asian descent but there’s nothing in my notes to indicate I’m supposed to giggle through my fingers at your beard and funny voice”? “Wow, I still have a job after 11 prior seasons of incompetence”? Sometimes, Idol really is the worst — and I haven’t even mentioned Randy demanding the guy break out some traditional Indian-style music (because that skill’s really gonna draw in voters later this season) or the producers superimposing glowing red eyes over Gurpreet and labeling him “The Turbanator.” Um, yeah, the brown-skinned guy with the beard and turban really needed to be portrayed as a soulless killing machine in front of 20 million viewers. Mariah and Nicki, to their credit, got excited about Gurpreet’s penchant for matching his turbans to his outfits, with the former panelist sounding like a Project Runway guest and hailing Gurpreet’s “lavender moment” before he launched into Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning.” I liked how Gurpreet infused his audition with finger-snapping rhythm, and how his jazzy inflections added some sensuality to the lyric. And while Keith was right that the guy’s voice was “light” compared to some of the other New York auditioners, it was nice to see Mariah stand up for a different kind of tone and convert Randy and Nicki to the cause.

* I could write a whole paragraph praising Ashlee Feliciano and her family for their work with medically challenging foster kids, but in this instance, I think it’s more important to credit her for breathing fresh life into “Put Your Records On,” a track that’s been covered 10 too many times on reality singing competitions. Ashlee showed off terrific textures to her instrument as she groweled her way through the verse, then reversed course and hit a series of hypnotic high notes on the chorus. Ashlee’s upper register has the delicate beauty of a hummingbird gathering pollen from a spring blossom. Oh, and I just realized my metaphor took a turn for the ghastly in that prior sentence.

With that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the American Idol Season 12 premiere? What did you think of the new judges’ panel? And who was your favorite Golden Ticket recipient? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, 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. Delon says:

    Nicki Minaj should calm down. Like seriously calm the f*ck down. She is hijacking the show. I cannot believe how she treats Mariah. She is clearly a bully. So unnecessarily over the top aggressive. She should roll those eyes at herself not Mariah. I think Mariah is such a polite person. I would’ve put that disrespectful rude brat in her place like she’s never been put before. I swear i wouldn’t put up with that , not even for $18 million.

    • Mary says:

      I guess we didn’t watch the same show. Mariah started right off about Nicki hat, and she did try to edge her on some. I know some is the editing, but lets be real Mariah does not want her there.
      I am by no means a Nicki fan, but some of Mariah remarks were not call for and I do not blame Nicki for sticking up for herself. The both need to play well together.

    • Vetle says:

      I think Nicki was nice, it wasn’t all about her. While Mariah said “Oh, I’ve been singing that song since I was a baby btw lol” – Nicki was like “A dream is not over until you decide it’s over”, she gave hugs, she didn’t crush anyone’s spirits. But this is only one episode. I don’t really care for the judges. I care about the contestants.

  2. Teeny Bikini says:

    I loved Keith Urban. He gave great notes, didn’t pander to the contestants, had a few funny moments, wasn’t a self-promoting-egotistical lunatic and was “real” as far as celebrities go. Can’t say that for Nikki or Mariah who I found grating as hell. It’s bad when I am looking forward to Randy saying something, anything – to interject a bit of normalcy. I will give it 1 more ep before I delete it from the DVR. The talent has been meh so far. Maybe they are saving the best for last….

    • Mary says:

      It is only the first show, they have a few weeks of audition and I think the talent will be there but unfortunately they drag it out a little. I know we all complain but these auditions and Hollywood weeks are when we get to know the contestants, I think that is why I enjoy AI more. The auditions could be less but we get to see and know some of the contestants, not all if the producers don’t feel they are worthy, but we start to form an attachment.

      • Teeny Bikini says:

        I agree, Mary. The lack of time to form an attachment is one of the major drawbacks of The Voice. Not that I’m comparing them… I hope Mariah and Nikki grow on me. I *do* want to like them – at least more than Randy. :)

  3. Teeny Bikini says:

    PS – My favorite part of Idol is Slezak and Dolittle talking about music… Can’t wait.

  4. Gale says:

    Overall I was underwhelmed by the contestants. There was no one that really grabbed me.
    Keith Urban adds some badly needed class and credibility to the proceedings. Mariah too has more credibility as a singer than J Lo or Paula did, so I am hopeful that her critiques will be substantive. And I wasn’t as annoyed with Nicki as I thought I’d be. The “Turbanator” segment was very offensive. It reminded me of the awful mass shooting at the Sikh temple in WI, where the shooter may have targeted the victims in part because of their turbans.

    • soundscene says:

      He called himself “The Turbanator,” so the name I didn’t find offensive. I think making him have glowing red eyes was in poor taste. Not even The Terminator had glowing red eyes during most of the film. So Idol just associated “evil red-eyed monster” with a guy wearing a turban. Not good.

      • Timmah says:

        He hasn’t got a chance anyway, if he makes it to the live shows. Can you imagine small-minded middle America voting for a guy with a turban?

        • Mary says:

          Do you think that maybe people would vote because they don’t like him. I personally didn’t think he was that good to go through. Yes he was entertaining, but I thought a couple of contestants who didn’t get through sang better than him. I think Keith was right, his voice was to thin.

  5. Delon says:

    I didn’t like seeing Mariah being abused and bullied like that by someone so minor.

    • Mary says:

      She gave as good as she got. She wasn’t bullied or abused people just think because it is Mariah she can do no wrong. I am not a fan of Nicki but believe you me some of Mariah’s remarks were not call for and she just stood up for herself. Randy might have to eat crow from her due to being her Manager but nobody else has too. Mariah thought she was going to be Queen and she is pissed that someone else is stealing her spotlight. Lets call a spade a spade.

  6. Jmroses says:

    I thought Nikki Minaj was almost unbearable! She had to talk first every time, she was disrespectful to the other judges and her comments were idiotic. I just wanted her to shut up already!,she clearly believes her own hype. Ugh, terrible. Never was a fan of 4 person panel, really not a fan of her now!,what a wasted seat on the panel…shut her up already!,she thinks its the nikki show!

  7. EVPandHC says:

    Michael, what’s your beef with pretty girls? Angela was incredible, and you said she needed to put more finesse into the song?

  8. marie says:

    Can’t find the comment right now, but someone here remarked about how “no one wants to sing the tune any more,”a pet peeve of mine as well. I’m afraid that with Mariah judging and contestants wanting to suck up to her, this season might well deliver an even higher percentage of melisma than ever.Oy!

  9. soundscene says:

    I wasn’t impressed. I had tuned out of Idol for the last few years. Just too many singing shows and the format was getting stale. I decided to tune back in and I was checking my email or twitter or facebook every few minutes (which I don’t usually do when watching a good television program). The judges didn’t really work for me. Mariah was too uninvested. Nicki was better than I expected, but that’s not saying much. The Mariah/Nicki bickering was annoying, although I expect to see more of that storyline in the weeks to come (sigh). Keith Urban was barely present. Randy Jackson is now super mean. Ergh.

    As for this: “My point here is — and every die-hard Idoloonie knows this — Fox’s ubiquitous singing competition will always live or die based on its contestants, not on its all-star panel.”

    If the producers of Idol actually thought this was true, they wouldn’t have made 90% of all promotion for the upcoming season about the new judges. Eight… only EIGHT good performers wound up getting tickets during the overstuffed 2 hours of middling television, and we didn’t even see 3 of them perform! That’s really sad And none of them struck anything in me. I used to have a “oh, I like her a lot!” feeling multiple times when watching the auditions. I didn’t get that last night, and I should have got that given this was supposed to be the big premiere episode of season 12.

    This episode was NOT about the performers. A few minutes of Phillip Phillips* “Home” and some super quick blink-or-you-missed-them cuts of past contestants didn’t change that.

    How is PP a superstar with just one hit? A lot of Idol alumns have had one hit. “Home” came out ages ago… where’s his next hit? Note: I’m not invested in this dude nor do I dislike the guy–I didn’t even watch his season; I’m just saying we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.

    • macy says:

      Regarding your question of where is Phillip’s next hit, he has a gold album out, so I’m sure his next hit is on its way.

  10. Word Money G says:

    I was all prepared to write Nicki Minaj off as a fame whore who would say/do anything to make a splash. Well, maybe she will, but she also showed a soft side that betrays her real emotions, and that was surprisingly charming. Keith Urban may well be the best judge not named Cowell that this show’s ever had. He has real chops, can appreciate all kinds of music, and his comment about doing this job even if he couldn’t make a living at it is a sign that he loves music. I don’t get Mariah Carey. Not only is she as out of touch as Paula Abdul, she’s as emotionally disconnected as Steven Tyler on his worst day. Mariah loves herself some Mariah, and that might be it. And I know he’s a safety blanket for the producers, but Randy is bored and disinterested at this point, and when he doesn’t pay attention he stops the show dead. Mr. Jackson, you may go.

    The contestants were only okay last night, and the multiple attempts to poke fun at foreigners are disappointing. I did love the fact that the Turbinator could sing, only because it doesn’t hurt when America can see a guy who might not look just like everyone else in town comes out, acts just like everyone else, and gets to chase that dream. Also, there isn’t another reality show that can do what Idol did in their last segment. Ashlee Feliciano’s family situation makes you pull for her, and cry with happy tears when it turns out she can actually sing. And Idol does the best job at sucking you in and making you want the best for her.

    I think the season will depend on whether Nicki can control her urge to tear Mariah apart, and to resist doing something outrageous just to do it, whether Mariah can communicate more coherently than Brittany Spears in the live shows, on whether they have the good sense to let Keith Urban speak last in the Cowell slot, and how quickly they can phase Randy out.

  11. RD says:

    It may be far from perfect but i’ll still take Idol over the headache-inducing shenanigans of X-factor any day.Already there’s more appealing talent than the entire last season of X-factor.

    • soundscene says:

      I would take X Factor’s live auditions with music and an audience any day over the bloated 2 hours of 60% judges, 50% bad auditioners and strange bits, and 10% decent singers (and yes, even with X Factors scripted backstage antics). The live auditions are way more fun and you get a higher ratio of decent performer to wackadoo. We saw, what, 5 decent auditions last night? And none of them were standouts (many of them used way too much melisma). You get more than that on X Factors worst day. X Factor fails after the auditions (just as The Voice generally goes downhill after its blind auditions). Idol’s auditions became stale and dull years ago and they’ve barely made any effort to change that.

  12. Annie says:

    I tuned in to see Keith Urban. Like him a lot, but I’m done with Idol for now until Hollywood Week or maybe even the live shows. Last night was boring and had too many commercials. I don’t know that I would have put any of those golden ticket holders through. I’ve got better use for my time and it probably involves a book or listening to music or maybe writing my own show because television is SO bad these days.

  13. tesh says:

    spelling error: gurpreet singH sarin

  14. sarah sanders says:

    Ack! Did you not HEAR the snippets of TWO songs from HALEY REINHART’S Cd? I was so happy!

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      Hah, that was the only thing that sucked me into watching the rest of it last night. I had planned to just peek in quickly and flip away (and not watch more than a few seconds until at least the end of Hollywood week), but right as I flip over to it they are using Haley clips so I gave the rest of the episode a shot.

  15. Kate says:

    Did you watch the Olympics? Not trying to nitpick here but one of the biggest stories of the entire Games was the fact that McKayla Maroney blew it on the vault. Maybe you’re just being sarcastic…?

    • megs says:

      That was during the individual vault medal round. During the team competition, the vault that she did was as close to perfect as you can get. It was really incredible.

    • HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

      Or maybe you missed the part where she did all of her other vault attempts perfectly including the single best vault ever done in competition? No, I don’t think he was being sarcastic. He just wasn’t focusing on the one freak mistake and forgetting about all the gold medal and best ever performances….

  16. John says:

    Not much of the talent impressed me, which isn’t a good sign. Sarah was nice enough, but she shouldn’t have gotten through just on those vocals.

  17. megs says:

    I was pretty “meh” about this season starting, mostly because of the judges- I just didn’t know about it. After the first 20 minutes, though, I found myself laughing at Mariah and nicki’s passive/agressive dealings with each other, and Keith’s quick wit. Now I’m excited for the next episode. As far as contestants go, no one really stood out for me. The girl who sung the Jessie J song I liked. And the girl who sang Summertime- don’t go giving her credit for creatively changing up the melody. That was pretty much a direct copy of Renee Olstead’s version. Not that she didn’t sound good(I actually liked her!) but credit where credit is due, sir.

  18. Laquisha says:

    Hey y’all. I didn’t watch American Idol last night. I haven’t since season 9. I just couldn’t take the show anymore. To me, it seemed to become so fake, contrived, and un-talented. And now it is all about the judges. I don’t understand how on earth Nicki Minaj is fit to be an Idol judge. She’s probably just there to promote herself. Once we get to the results shows, I bet she’ll be performing like every week. Ughhh

  19. Lily L. says:

    “(Quick poll: How many times have you played “Home” on iTunes? My playcount stands at 53.)”

    I have never played “Home” on my iTunes.

    • Mary says:

      I’m with you, I don’t even care to much for the song. Know ask how many times have you heard it on the radio way to many to count. I just keep changing the station. I actually liked it on the finale last year but after the third or fourth time It got on my nerves.

  20. Eric says:

    I like the new judges, and think they gave very good constructive criticism that other shows don’t. I dont know why people are baging on Mrs.Mariah for being the diva she is because she deserve to be all about herself on this show. Nicki and Keth still needs to find a better grove, and Randy gave the old fashion to the point criticism the show is known for. Can’t wait to see what they all bring to the live shows because I think the producers have a lot of changes up their sleeves this go around.

  21. asherlev1 says:

    JFC. Still shaking my head over Randy’s attitude towards Gurpreet and what the producers did to him. Thank you so much for calling all that bs out!!!

    I really liked Angela Miller, to be honest. I think she was my favorite.

  22. Timmah says:

    I don’t know why everyone thinks Urban is such a great judge. He said about three words the entire time.

    • Mary says:

      But those three words were spot on and to the point. You do not need to ramble but he was honest in a nice way why he wasn’t putting someone through. He actually listened to the singer and didn’t look uninterested like some of the judges have.

  23. Moni Subic says:

    They should have had a 3 judge panel..without Nicki..she’s just to annoying to watch

    • Mary says:

      I found Mariah more annoying than Nicki but i agree with the 3 judge panel but Mariah should go.
      I don’t think she added anything to the show.

  24. Mary says:

    I was actually surprise but it wasn’t bad. I am not to much into the audition stage, drags out to long for my taste but I watch to see the new judges. Call me shocked but Nikki was not to bad, as long as she doesn’t sing I am okay with her being a judge. I was never a Mariah fan but she seems a little to cool for school type of person. I just love Keith so I had not doubts he would be good. Randy is Randy. None of the contestants jumped out at me but I did enjoy the country/rapper whatever her name is. The last contestant wasn’t bad. The real test will be the live shows, but if the judges keep the critiques like this I think it might be an enjoyable show.

  25. macy says:

    Michael, you’re a foster parent? Even more reason for me to love you.

  26. Sam says:

    I was really excited to see that they judged people on performing and not their life’s story. I also think that for the most part they were humane about it. I think the back and forth between the women is going to get old quick – although I do think that there won’t be the luxury of extra time and editing on the live shows that is making it look (hopefully) worse than it really is. I enjoy Keith Urban’s sense of humor, so I hope he gets a little more forceful as we go on.
    I’m still a big fan!

  27. Leela says:

    I didn’t think Ashlee did anything special with Put Your Records On, quite the reverse in fact. I’m not judging anyone – especially you, Michael – but I think you might have been swayed by your fostering kids link with her. Frankie Ford was terrific “for me for you” and I liked Gurpreet & Christina. What I didn’t care for was the racist treatment of Gurpreet & the two “joke” auditions that both featured seemingly serious Asian contestants. Has AI ever done a legitimate survey to discover if viewers actually like the trainwreck auditions? Personally I hate them and have never complained so I guess I’m to blame…

    • Jason says:

      THe train wreck auditions were great with Simon. But without anyone really being funny and given them the Bad comments they don’t work as well!

  28. Mari says:

    I hope episode 2 is better ’cause I really didn’t like any of the contestants that got the golden ticket so far.

  29. Pat Smith says:

    What was that song about New York they played in the background at one point?

  30. Anonymous says:

    This year I am not into watching the show. Nicki’s behavior has turned me off. Also, I love Mariah, but she is acting too much like a diva on the show that I don’t even want to keep watching. Have to say Keith is awesome. Last years judges were great and we kept on watching because we looked forward to seeing Steven, J Lo. They were down to earth people.

  31. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    ” I may be wrong, but I suspect a scientific study might reveal some correlation between the inadequacy of Shira’s tiny white booty shorts and the way her voice worked the corner at the intersection of Strained and Fatigued. Put on some pants the next time you’re planning to be on television, girl!”
    Dear Michael,

    Umm what was I going to say, oh yeah, WORST ADVICE EVER!!!!

    for the love of god those white shorts need stay (and multiply) if any one single thing on the show needs to stay, even if it decays into another mess of phony judging and production and ends up not being as much about the talent as it should be once again once it goes live, at least there will be one thing left to carry us through it all, those white shorts everywhere….

  32. HitTheGroundRunningWonderlandHaleyOhMy says:

    Was it just me or did the mix they broadcast sound kind of thin and harsh?

  33. Kwise says:

    I couldn’t even watch for more than about 20 minutes – and I’ve never missed an episode of AI. I just hate it when there are 4 judges – it just increases the amount of time on THEM, vs the talent. And you can just tell that AI is really wanting to milk this “feud” between Nicki and Mariah. I could care less about those two – and their feud seems staged anyway. I can’t really articulate why….but I just didn’t care to watch last night. I just was not interested.

  34. Jason says:

    Loved the episode! Idol is back. Best moment was when they played a haley Reinhart song in the backgroung. MAde me think a good theme night would be songs from Past Idols. Sure everyone would pick Carrie and Kelly but maybe someone would cover Haley or Daughtry or We Are The Fallen.

  35. gracie numanski says:

    Nicki showed class when talking to a 15 year old. YOU on the other hand were nasty. Shame on you!

  36. A Canadian with still a modicum of common sense and decency says:

    I shall never watch American Idol ever again. I can watch these kinds of threats and ghetto speak on The First 48 Hours the only difference being the wardrobe. With gun control in such a state of question and violence at an unspeakable high I am shocked that someone, anyone, would make a threat of this gravity at any time let alone on an entertainment program. I can do better than this with my viewing time and I intend to do just that. Good-bye American Idol forever…..I hope others will follow my lead and leave such programming behind in an effort to raise the standard of what their throwing at us. We deserve better.