American Idol Season 13 Premiere Recap: The Sob Days Are Over, the Sob Days Are Done

American Idol Season 13 Premiere RecapYou all know that American Idol contestant, the earnest teen who had all four limbs torn off by farm equipment, and his grandpa miraculously sewed ‘em back on using cornsilk and mud, but rushing back to the house they ran over their beloved alpaca with the tractor, and now the kid is doing it all in memory of Marshmallow?

Or maybe it’s the wide-eyed single mom who lost her high-school sweetheart to a pack of carnivorous sea lions, is supporting herself as a part-time chimney sweep and simply has to make it to Hollywood to ensure a better life for her adorable toddler son?

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Good news, Idoloonie nation: Those sad sacks and their ilk — the ones who used to pollute the Idol audition rounds with their dewey eyes and “ripped from the Today show” tales of woe — appear to have followed Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey down the trash chute. Like a Phillip Phillips’ hit, they’re “Gone, Gone, Gone.” They’re out like Brian Boitano on his way to Sochi. (OK, OK, not that kind of “out”…I got a little carried away for a sec.)

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Yeah, it’s possible (even probable) that some of the 25 (yes, ¡25!) Golden Ticket recipients we got to see from the Season 13 premiere (focusing on Boston and Austin, Texas) are harboring tales of woe that would fit right in at 1970s country radio, but at least for now, incoming producer Per Blankens is focusing his energies elsewhere. And, in a sign that is very, very, very promising for The House That Kelly Clarkson Built (and Is Currently Ruled by Candice Flippin’ Glover), Blankens is instead placing his bets on lots and lots of genuinely talented kids with dreams of music superstardom. Well, talented kids and a brand new judge who has somehow cracked the code on how to be simultaneously tough, honest, knowledgable, engaging, funny and self-depricating…without acting the least bit concerned about how many times (and how positively) he’ll show up when he gets his “Google Alert” email on himself come Thursday morning.

So let’s offer a warm Season 13 welcome to all the future Daughtrys and Fantasias, as well as debuting panelist Harry Connick, Jr., a man so sublime he’s almost managed to dislodge memories of human barnacle Randy Jackson from my brain. (Granted, my case of Dawg-induced PTSD will be that much stronger when Randy returns in a “mentoring” capacity later this season, but for now, I consider his absence a blessing on par with a winning MegaMillions ticket or a brand new pony on Christmas morning.)

Why am I so wild about Harry? Let me try to break it down to four moments from the premiere — so we can then move on to the contestants. (Because it is and should always be about the contestants.)

HE’S SMART — AND TOUGH — ENOUGH TO DISTINGUISH “GOOD” FROM “POTENTIALLY GREAT” | At least a half-dozen times tonight, Connick served up some variation on “you were good, but not good enough” that’s been missing from Idol since Simon Cowell’s heyday. Where Ellen DeGeneres might’ve predicted multiplatinum sales (and given a hug) to a gal with decent pitch but middling breath control and hinky phrasing, Harry takes the realistic approach. When Durann Cree delivered Carrie Underwood’s “Cupid’s Got a Shotgun” with enough vocal horsepower to place third in a high-school talent show, but not to survive Hollywood Week, Connick asked if she was used to being the big fish in a small pond — then voted
“no” (right after Jennifer Lopez gave her a “you have work to do” and a “yes”). In some circles, that might get Harry slapped with a “dream crusher” or “meanie” label, but I call him a breath of cold, bracing air. Not every dream needs to be coddled and supported — especially not when it’s actually closer to a delusion.

HE’S THE VOICE OF THE (SMART, DISCERNING, ATTENTIVE) PEOPLE | When 15-year-old Morgan Deplitch opened her audition with the lyrics, “You’ve got me down on the floor/So what’d you bring me down here for?” and then followed it up with the overtly sexual line, “If I was a blade I’d shave you smooth,” Connick noticably cringed, then told Morgan he was so thrown by her song choice that he found himself “creeped out.” (What a change of pace for a show that featured Steven Tyler ogling and salivating over teenage girls for much of Seasons 10 and 11.) Feminists, parents, people who aren’t on board with the sexualization of the under-18 crowd, people who have HAD IT with cultural conversation involving the words “Miley” and “twerking,” your cultural hero has arrived! Just as awesome? Harry’s failure to automatically bow down every time a contestant throws in a crazy run (or turns a one-syllable word to 10). Exhibit A: His side-eye over Madelyn Patterson’s super-fussy rendition of “Up to the Mountain.” JLo and Keith oohed and ahhed as the 22-year-old destroyed everything simple and beautiful about the Patty Griffin tune, but Mr. Connick was having none of it. “Some people are easily impressed by licks,” he said, before getting cut off by She Who Tried to Suppress Haley Reinhart. Madelyn, of course, got so excited by the Golden Ticket that Jennifer dangled that she failed to open her ear to Harry’s advice. “You will hear it in Hollywood,” he grumbled. Oh, you bet she will!

HE’S NOT AFRAID TO MAKE FUN OF HIMSELF | One of the final segments of the Season 13 premiere featured Idol hopefuls in holding rooms pointing out that Connick is, in most circles, the least famous person behind the Idol table, and perhaps the least famous person (aside from Paulina Rubio) to grace a network reality singing competition panel since Randy Jackson stepped down from his Idol perch last May. “Who’s the third judge?” asked one kid. “He had a music career before he was an actor,” explained another (apparently unaware that Connick’s music career is alive and well and probably still netting him copious amounts of cash). “He’s white, but he sounds black,” explained one contestant’s parent. But lest anyone think Mr. Blankens is beating up on the neophyte judge, Connick laughs easily about the way kids moon over J.Lo, or praise fellow panelist Keith Urban’s looks (and scent). He may not be the boldest-faced name in the pack, but methinks that could all change in the coming weeks and months.

HE’S GENUINELY HILARIOUS | After his “no” vote to Stephanie Petronelli got vetoed by J.Lo and Keith, the New England Patriots cheerleader called in three of her (equally scantilly clad) teammates for a joyous leaping, hugging celebration. “That’s a ‘yes’!” Harry quickly reversed. “If there’s four of ‘em, it’s a ‘yes’! I didn’t know that was part of the package!” Still, nothing could top Harry’s interaction with the day’s final contestant, Muhfarid Zandi, the rare auditioner who was more excited about meeting the jazz star than either of his fellow panelists. “I read your Wikipedia page every day before going to sleep,” Muhfarid admitted, before Harry locked him in a massive hug that had Keith requesting Muhfarid perform in Harry’s arms. “If you blow us away on the first song, I’d like to pick you up and hold you like a baby on the second,” offered Harry, upping the ante. And when Muhfarid slayed a jazzy Adele ballad, it was J.Lo who giggled, “I feel a cradle coming on.” The resultant rendition of “No One” (pictured above) is going to go down as the stuff of Idol legend. “I’m bringing him back to my hotel,” said Harry, carrying Muhfarid out the door. Honestly, who could say “no”?

Anyhow, let’s get back to names (other than Harry Connick, Jr.) that could/should be a little more widely known by the time April showers begin to fall, let’s talk about THE HOPEFULS! As I said before, the two-hour premiere featured extended footage of (if I counted correctly) 25 Golden Ticket recipients from among the 24 who advanced from Boston and the 21 who advanced from Austin. That’s undoubtedly the greatest number of good singers per hour since I started recapping the show back in Season 4.

The focus on actual talent — and the inclusion of not a single prankster in Statue of Liberty drag, not a chicken costume, and not a single example of Randy Jackson making fun of a “foreign sounding” name or Asian accent — made the 120 minutes zoom by. (And in an attempt to kick start a New Year’s weight-loss program, I wasn’t even drinking my usual Sauvignon Blanc!)

Of course, I’d be lying if I tried to pretend I had something profound (or even vaguely worthwhile) to say about every single vocalist who scored a Golden Ticket tonight, so let me instead rank my personal Top 10 from Episode 1 of Season 13:

11. Muhfarid Zandi, “Crazy for You” | He desperately needs styling help, but come on — the kid really can sing. And choosing “No One” to perform in Harry’s arms? Genius!

10. Ben Boone, “Too Close” | Was I the only one getting early Lee DeWyze vibes off this fella? (Lest we forget, Lee’s audition was montaged with the great Crystal Bowersox, so perhaps Savannah Young’s “Toxic” and Vivian Villalon’s Maroon 5 cover are worthy of a rewind?)

9. Austin Percario, “Titanium” | OK, so he’s a weeeeee bit affected, but Keith was exactly right that he’s got an instrument that sweeps from pretty pop perfection to something unexpectedly haggard. Bonus points if the adorable teen’s rise to fame leads to the end of the Bieber Era.

8. Savion Wright, “The Dark Side of Me” | As close as we got to a hardscrabble backstory was Savion’s struggle with ADD, but he showed some creativity by auditioning with a self-penned ditty that showed a little bit of soul and a little bit of introspection. Plus, as the judges noted, anyone who’s wanted to be on Idol for eight years — but waited and practiced and waited until feeling fully ready — is not your average contestant.

7. Kaitlyn Jackson, “Another Angel” | Any 15-year-old with the musicality and poise to stand in front of the judges with her guitar and belt out a personal ballad about her grandpa’s brush with death has my immediate attention. “She’s smart!” said Harry. “It’ll be fun watching her week to week.” Can’t disagree with that. No, sir.

6. Lindsey Pedicone, “Bottom of the River” | The lilting quality of her tone isn’t the kind that typically thrives in the Idoldome, but there was something sparkly and enchanting about what she did with an underrated Delta Rae jam that makes me want to hear more.

5. Marialle Sellers, “Grenade” | You know when Idol opens the season with a contestant — and puts her in front of the opening credits — she’s gonna be pretty damn good. And while I heard nerves creep in on a few extended notes, Marialle’s expressive (and gorgeous) face and expressive (and, yeah, gorgeous) voice made me feel like she was fully engaged with every nook and cranny of her song.

4. Keith London, “Roar” | Yeah, he had a stumbling start, and indeed, my new BFF Harry opined that he’s “not a good enough singer,” but I found myself agreeing — ugh, I do hate this sentence now — with J.Lo. There was something about Keith’s almost brogue-like inflection that gave Katy Perry’s booming pop nugget an upgrade. It didn’t hurt that he’s awfully cute, too, did it?

3. Jillian Jensen, “Not Over You” | Robbed by Demi Lovato during Season 2 of The X Factor, the gravel-throated gal displayed greater vocal control and more confidence in her second stab at a Fox reality singing competition. Hey, maybe her “mentor” did her a favor, after all!

2. Sam Woolf, “Lego House” | 17-year-old who lives with his grandparents showcased beautiful character and flawless phrasing despite his selection of a rhythmically tricky and fairly wordy jam. If Idol‘s going to have another “white guy with guitar” winner, he could be the one.

1. Malcolm Allen, “Superstition” | “OOOOH, BETTY!” That’s the nonsensical first thing that I blurted in the midst of Malcolm’s deeply felt Stevie Wonder cover — which, along with some killer air guitar, showcased perfect pitch and a wicked sense of musicality. I loved the way this fella (who looks like a young Billy Porter) openly admitted to how seriously he takes his music, and his admission that he’s envious of his competitors who’ve already mastered guitar.

With that, let me turn things over to you. What did you think of the American Idol Season 13 premiere? What did you think of the new judges’ panel? And who was your favorite Golden Ticket recipient? Take the poll below, then sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments (220)

  • Harry Connick Jr. He is perfect on this show. I have wanted him on this show since Simon Cowell left. That bit at the end with him picking up that contestant was hilarious. I loved a lot of contestants tonight. Savion Wright, Malcolm Allen, Kaitlyn Jackson and Muhfarid Zandi. So far so good.

    Comment by – January 15, 2014 07:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Savion!

      So far so good! *Crossing Fingers*

      Comment by RodMod – January 15, 2014 07:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Savion will be a front runner I think. Like you, so far so good as for the show this season. Harry
        Connick Jr. as a judge was the best decision AI could make. He was spot on in his critiques. When he said no to the girl who sang all the runs I told my husband the exact thing Connick said while she was singing before any critique was given. I’ve watched many judges get all giggly over runs in prior years and the contestants usually end up receiving bad critiques by the same judges if they make it to the top ten.

        Comment by Beth Houghland – January 16, 2014 10:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • She rendered the lovely melody of “Up to the Mountain” completely unrecognizable.

          Comment by The Beach – January 16, 2014 11:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I completely agree. I remember Crystal Bowersox’ gorgeous, soulful version, and this one was a mess. Sometimes I think melisma – aka “the runs” are a nervous affectation of an insecure singer. I’m glad someone (Harry) called her out on it.

            Loving Harry C! It’s time for a guy who can give constructive criticism with a sense of humor.

            Comment by Mary S from NJ – January 16, 2014 04:21 PM PDT  
        • It’s not runs inherently, its how they are used. In that particular case, they were used atrociously. I’m sure Harry would like runs when used appropriately.

          Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 05:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • OMG. I totally cried laughing at the end. Hm… Connick might just have me watch this darn show after all. I second and third everything Michael said about him. Honestly, I don’t even remember any of the singers except the dude who sang in his arms. LOL. Just classic. :)

      Comment by Teeny Bikini – January 15, 2014 08:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Hi, Teeny, we meet again :) I haven’t watched but I might now, reading your comment ;)

        Comment by analythinker – January 15, 2014 09:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Totally agree. I loved Harry and the vibe of this first show. I have not watched since “Haley-gate” so I am having a hard time forgiving Ms. Lopez but I’m willing to overlook that for now to just enjoy this new feel. I hope they keep it up. :)

        Comment by Kim R – January 16, 2014 11:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Editing can do wonders. Everyone Loved Steven Everyone Loved Nicki Everyone Loved Britney lets wait untill we get to the Lives and see how he does

      Comment by Steve – January 15, 2014 10:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Editing is great. And you are 100% right about Steven who had a tough time, and you didn’t even mention Ellen, who was really funny during the edited audition rounds, but then couldn’t handle it during the live rounds. BUT, we have seen Harry many times on Idol, during edited and live parts of the show and he has been great and pretty much the same no matter what. I have more confidence in him than I do about Jennifer or Keith this season. I think he is someone that has wanted this job for years, and he is ready to go. Obviously, anything can happen, but things look good for him and the show.

        Comment by – January 15, 2014 11:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Can’t wait to see how many people start calling Jillian a bad singing cry baby now that she’s back.
    I’ve kept up with her youtube videos since she got booted from Xfactor (wrongly). The girl can sing, she can sing very well. Glad she’s apart of the top 31 or whatever number it is.

    Comment by Dillon – January 15, 2014 07:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Dude, spoilers. I mean you can probably guess she’ll get farther than early Hollywood rounds because she’s great, but no need to blab stuff you found out elsewhere online. Some people would rather watch it on tv.

      Comment by scooby – January 15, 2014 07:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • How is Shanon Wilson not on here? His falsetto was CRAZY good! Actually, the whole performance was out of this world. Easily the best of the night.

    Comment by Matthew Richards – January 15, 2014 07:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Ahh…the sweet, titillating aroma of a Michael Slezak review! GLAD TO BE BACK! ;)

    Comment by RodMod – January 15, 2014 07:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • And it only took him a few paragraphs to mention Haley Reinhardt!

      Comment by LG – January 16, 2014 06:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yeah….let’s have a year free of Haley-whining, please!

        Comment by C – January 16, 2014 07:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Uh…that’s not possible. J-Lo is back and if she pulls the same stuff that she did Season 11 with Haley Reinhart or Elise Testone in Season 12, then those ships haven’t sailed yet! and this is Slezak’s blog. HIs favorite contestant ever is Haley Reinhart. Let him talk about her all he wants, because I loved her too.
          Anyway, I digress. This Season, lucky number 13, I hope we get to see some more talented female artists. I don’t particularly care for the male artists, especially the WGWG’s and I’ve seen more than a few just on this episode alone. I hope this doesn’t mess up chances for better singers.

          Comment by Jaszy – January 16, 2014 12:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • She was not that good of a singer. Often came across shouty and a little of the mark. But He worships Fantasia, who only screams and screams until the song is slaughtered, so…

            Sleazak loves chrurch singers.

            Comment by Pedro C. S. Guida – January 16, 2014 03:15 PM PDT  
          • Please take your comments elsewhere if you’re really saying Haley is a shouty church singer.

            Comment by Kaba – January 16, 2014 05:41 PM PDT  
          • @Pedro – hah, well she was good enough to get invited to Carnegie Hall (after catching the ear of a Jazz great) and Lollapalooza and to sing for Muhammad Ali’s birthday bash (all Idol firsts)
            (since how is Haley remotely a church singer like Fantasia? For the record, I liked Fantasia when she was on the show, especially her Summertime, but she sure as heck doesn’t remotely remind me of Haley, they couldn’t possibly be more different.)

            Comment by HTGR – January 16, 2014 04:00 PM PDT  
          • I hav

            Comment by LG – January 16, 2014 05:46 PM PDT  
  • Harry is a great addition — but the talent was in short supply tonight.

    Comment by OhMy – January 15, 2014 07:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Totally agree. Harry is great, but the only singer I remembered liking was the guy who sang “Superstition.” Everyone else was pretty mid-to-low grade.
      I’m glad that Harry said something about Morgan’s song choice being inappropriate for a 15-year-old. I was totally skeeved out when she was singing.

      Comment by gdv – January 16, 2014 09:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved Harry Connick Jr. as a judge. He was funny and discerning, and I thought the three judges had a really nice chemistry. I loved the last audition with Harry cradling the contestant, so charming and funny.

    Comment by daisy – January 15, 2014 07:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Best Idol premiere in years. Harry should have been a judge since the day Simon left.My fave by far was Kaitlin but I also liked Austin, Malcolm and Savion. There was also a chick w limited screen time (Terricka?) who wowed me w her belting.

    Comment by Mel1602 – January 15, 2014 07:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Whoo hoo! VERY hopeful for a good season. The show has a clean, lean new look; Harry seems to be the best thing that could have happened to Idol. Intrigued by some of the talent I heard. Now if only JLo can manage not to morph into the Fire-Breathing Dragon Lady, and the new producer can skip making these folksy, soulful young singers warble Against All Odds, this could be the start of a terrific new season.

    Welcome back, everyone!

    Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 07:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Hi Marie! Love seeing the regulars again. This is going to be an exciting season – I feel it.

      Comment by deedee – January 15, 2014 07:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Right back at ya, deedee! :-)

        Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 07:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Feeling it too, deedee. Although I have to say, not because of Harry, as such (I see neo-Cowell judging more as a bonus than what was ailing the show). More just because I think the editing shows a producer who gets it.
        For Harry, I agree his attitude is what Idol needs. I find myself disagreeing sometimes with his opinion. But that’s actually not a bad thing.

        Comment by Ben – January 15, 2014 10:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • yay, marie and deedee are back!

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – January 15, 2014 08:00 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Three cheers! DET is back too!

        Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 08:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Loved Harry and his calling out several contestants for (and Keith and J-Lo’s love of) way too many runs. What a knowledgeable breath of fresh air he is…and forgive me for being shallow but he’s looking damn hot too. And a huge thank you to the new producer (adios Nigel) for ridding the show of all those sob stories. A great start to the season. The past few years I have skipped the auditions and picked the show up Hollywood Week. I thought I would give it a shot this year with the new panel and am really glad I did.

      Comment by The Beach – January 16, 2014 10:01 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • My favorite tonight was Ethan Thompson. Surprised he didn’t make the list.

    Comment by Kaw – January 15, 2014 07:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Right? I mean what song was that? I was complaining that they intercut him with others. Loved him. Also i swear there was a Nina Dobrev doppelgänger that showed up there somewhere hahaha.

      Comment by LizzieB – January 15, 2014 08:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • The first Paris Ooh la la girl! My bf thought the same lol

        Comment by Thea – January 15, 2014 11:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes! The best of the night.

      Comment by The Professor – January 16, 2014 05:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Thompson sounded incredible! He was my personal favorite of the night. I have no idea how Slezak left him off the top ten.

      Comment by Jeremiah – January 16, 2014 09:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i agree! his tone was georgeous!

      Comment by tara d – January 16, 2014 11:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • You’re right, I’m so sick and tired of the usual “An evil octopus witch under the sea took my voice when I was a teen… now I have my voice back so I’m gonna win Idol” crap. Unless the person REALLY has a problem, I care (never forget that “Voice” guy who had a problem when he was a baby… Jesus Christ In Heaven).

    Anyway, as usual, great recap Michael. You make the show more fun. You really are the 4th judge, you’re Randy hehehe (Kidding).

    Comment by Redii – January 15, 2014 07:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The show’s off to a good start. I still can’t stand JLo, but overall I liked it. My 2 favs were (don’t recall the names) the girl who’s grandfather died + the guy who strummed his guitar when Harry said a few things to Jennifer.

    The be carefuls come with I hope they don’t turn that girls grandfather into a continuous sob story. That’ll work against her if they keep it up. Also, most of the guitarists (except for the one) need to not look at their guitars so much while they’re singing.

    Overall, a pretty good start to AI this year. I wonder what the ratings will be.

    Comment by Danny – January 15, 2014 07:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So impressed by the season premiere. I’ve been lobbying for Harry Connick Jr. for years. He is a very welcome addition to the panel. It’s really nice to see the focus be on the good singers and not the judges fighting. Or on the trainwrecks that cannot sing. This is gonna be a fantastic season. And I’m hoping that these 3 will stand up for their opinions of how people sound and not just listen to the producers. Welcome back to the top American Idol!!!

    Comment by Becky – January 15, 2014 07:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Oh totally. It was everything I knew it would be with Harry on the panel. The first time he was a mentor I was sold. Idol got its mojo back.

      Comment by scooby – January 15, 2014 07:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Those judges know they had no business sending that twerking fool to Hollywood and sending everyone else that was at least decent home. -___-
    I hope Jillian is able to tear past her Xfactor image that was forced on her. But hopefully she isn’t labeled as fake because she didn’t carry on her story.

    Comment by Kaba – January 15, 2014 07:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Out of 75,000 we so far have 46 golden tickets with what I think is 5 cities left to go. Between 150-200 to Hollywood sounds like what we’ll end up with and that’s gonna leave off a ton of decent singers. Great or potential great is what they gotta strive for or don’t waste the audience’s time. You should only move on when you’re not ready if they think you can get ready in a hurry with the right vocal coaching and support. I don’t think “at least decent” is grounds for squat on this show. Those people, as pleasant to listen to as they are, should go make Youtube videos. They’ll have some fans, it’ll be nice, and we won’t have to watch them on tv as everyone eventually realizes they’re not good enough to be the next American Idol. It doesn’t make them terrible people or musicians but this isn’t about feelings. If the music industry will chew them up and spit them out, they need to be told the truth and cut asap. Early Idol Simon knew it and had that attitude. Harry’s the closest we’ve gotten to having that back. Frankly, he’s a nicer person so I prefer Harry.

      Comment by scooby – January 15, 2014 07:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • My issue isn’t that the decent folk were sent home. It’s the fact that the twerking fool was given a chance when he shouldn’t have gone through.

        Comment by Kaba – January 15, 2014 07:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • HA-REE! HA-REE! HA-REE! HA-REE! When he tried to school JLo on a technical point of music, and she brushed him off with “You know too damn much…”. LOL!!! This is gonna be FANTASTIC!

    Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 07:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • How in the world could she possibly not known about the pentatonic scale?

      Comment by OhMy – January 15, 2014 07:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Oh, that’s easy: she’s NO musician. An entertainer, sure (although I myself am not entertained); a dancer of a sort; but not at all a musician. Not even a singer, really.

        Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 07:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • When he made that auto tune comment to one of the contestants, he could have just as easily been talking to Jennifer.

          Comment by Danny – January 15, 2014 08:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I thought the very same thing.

            Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 08:19 PM PDT  
        • Yes, true.

          Comment by OhMy – January 15, 2014 09:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • The comment about the pentatonic scale made me chuckle. I hadn’t thought about it since high school.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – January 15, 2014 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • All hail Harry! Loved watching JLo trying to sound knowledgeable as Harry by agreeing with him at random moments LOL. Otherwise they never really agreed.

    Comment by Kaba – January 15, 2014 07:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I definitely see potential here. But i might be a bit nervous to completely say it is going to be great because I have been manipulated and burned too many times with this show. Agree Harry is a great addition and seems like they finally figured out the judges table they haven’t been able to get right since the first couple of seasons. Harry is Simon without the need to be overly mean yet able to give honest feedback even if it is hard. I really just hope he is able to keep this up once the live shows start. I don’t want someone behind the scenes telling him to be nicer. While I am glad it wasn’t two hours of sob stories, I sort of felt the side conversations in the holding room seemed staged. Could have just been me. i do have to say it is the best first episode in a while and really hope they have been able to figure it out to keep this success going.

    Comment by Jenny – January 15, 2014 07:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Harry and I believe he will save the show. I was not wild about any of the singers tonight but I never really like the audition part of Idol. I enjoy Idol more when we come to the live shows.
    I am excited about Idol this year. Last year I almost gave up on Idol it was so awful and if it wasn’t that Harry became a judge I may not have watched this year at all. I wanted him as a judge for years and am delighted it finally happened and to think he wasn’t even first choice.

    Comment by MAB – January 15, 2014 07:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Hi Michael! I couldn’t wait for Idol to start just to read your recaps again!
    I TOTALLY agree about Malcolm Allen. His voice is astonishing.

    Comment by deedee – January 15, 2014 07:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • (MS, I’m surprised your spell-check didn’t catch “self-deprEcating”…)

    Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 07:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Mmm-hmm, mm-hmm. I caught that one, too.

      Comment by deedee – January 15, 2014 07:57 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • At least it wasn’t self-DEFECATING.

      Comment by darcy the slutty twin – January 16, 2014 03:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • DST, nice to see you back too (I suppose…). Only kidding! Welcome back!

        Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 07:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Thanks marie!

          Comment by darcy the slutty twin – January 16, 2014 07:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Would have preferred more backstory on many of the contestants. It’s hard to be invested in the singers when we don’t know anything about them. It may be manipulative, but it helps you to get to know the singers. Which of the singers did we really get to know on tonight’s show? Hardly anyone. There were no hometown visits, no sob stories. I miss those.

    Comment by metin tood – January 15, 2014 07:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I don’t care deeply about the sob stories. You aren’t wrong that they need to invest us in the people (something I think they failed at completely last season). But it doesn’t have to be done by way of a sob story.

      Comment by Ben – January 15, 2014 10:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Completely disagree. We don’t get to know contestants just by hearing a dramatic backstory; what we get to know is a small part of a person. I don’t want to feel sympathy for a singer–I want to be moved by their talent. I may be wrong, but I can’t remember any past winner who had one of those tear-jerking sob stories. Fantasia may have had one, but I don’t recall it. (Just saw her on Broadway, BTW, and she was great.)

      Comment by rio – January 15, 2014 10:44 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Agree with Ben and rio. In fact, at this early stage of the competition, I don’t really want to hear anything except singing. Plenty of time later on to hear more background on those who make it to the later stages of the competition.
        (And I CERTAINLY don’t miss the screeching foolios in rubber ducky costumes and such.)

        Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 02:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • So true, marie. I don’t need or want any backstories on the hundreds of contestants that are going to get tickets. I wouldn’t be able to keep them straight anyway. Wait until it’s down to 12-15 and then fill us in a little. I’m also very happy there were no rubber duckies or William Hungs.

          Comment by The Beach – January 16, 2014 10:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Hi, Beach, good to see you again!

            Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 10:36 AM PDT  
          • You as well, marie…it’s good to be back :-)

            Comment by The Beach – January 16, 2014 11:11 AM PDT  
        • I’m not sure I’d go that far. Often the short clips before they sing (or the discussions they have with the judges) help you understand their musical point of view, and gives context to their voice and musical choices. It just doesn’t need to be their life backstory.

          Comment by Ben – January 16, 2014 10:58 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Hmm, I can see your point. Personally, though, I’ve learned – or maybe it’s “conditioned myself” – not to get too invested in any contestant this early in the game, as that person could be gone at any moment: even someone who appears promising at audition might turn out to be a one-trick pony (remember the guy who sang Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up,” whose name I don’t recall?). So for me, personally, I don’t care yet about any contestant’s musical background or choices; the new format so far is perfect for me, as ALL I want to hear at the auditions is singing. To each his/her own, of course, though.

            Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 11:15 AM PDT  
          • @marie – yeah, I know what you mean. Often I connect to people in that portion only to have them go out early. My opinion on this has come from my own experience – last year I missed the whole auditions portion of the showm, and never managed to connect to anyone at all as a result, and I was left feeling a bit cold about the season as a whole (I also think the ‘top 10′ instead of a ‘top 13′ was partly to blame for this – we should have had two or three more weeks with people like Burnell. So I’m glad to see a return to the top 13 format.)

            Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:01 PM PDT  
          • (My point being, its entirely likely that different people will connect better at different stages)

            Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:22 PM PDT  
    • Hi Nigel.

      Comment by ssa – January 16, 2014 06:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am so excited for this season! Harry Connick Jr. is a great judge so far. My top 2 so far are the same as yours….I guess we have good taste!

    Comment by Ang – January 15, 2014 07:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Does anyone know what the chubby guy that reminds me of Ruben Studdard was singing? Such a good voice as well! Overall, a great premiere! :)

    Comment by 'A' is Alive – January 15, 2014 07:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s a song by Elijah Blake. “I Want You,” I think. ;)

      Comment by RodMod – January 15, 2014 08:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Thank you! :)

        Comment by 'A' is Alive – January 15, 2014 08:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Looked it up and it wasn’t it. :\

          Comment by 'A' is Alive – January 15, 2014 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Found it. It’s by Luke James and it’s called “I Want You”. Thank you anyway. ^_^

        Comment by 'A' is Alive – January 15, 2014 08:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Love your ‘A’ is alive. Yes, she is. But, that’s a whole other show. Ha! Ha!

      Comment by Sharon O'Muilleoir – January 16, 2014 09:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I do wish that Harry Connick Jr., a superior performer of standard ballads, had found a nice way to ask that Troy kid to please sing “Under The Rainbow” as it was written.

    Comment by EJ – January 15, 2014 07:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Was it just me, or did the show/production as a whole look a lot less cheesy? I ALREADY like Blankens.

    Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 08:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yep, they’ve got a real professional running things now, not that assclown Nigel.

      Comment by Timmah – January 15, 2014 10:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree, Marie. It was a more streamlined production with more singing and less showing ridiculous auditions, people in the waiting area/sob stories.

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – January 16, 2014 03:33 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I also totally agree with that Marie. I noticed that in all Idol’s pre-show promos that it definitely had a fresh, modernized look, that had me anticipating what the show would look like. I had read a quote in an article here from one of the producers where she said it’d be new but that “we’d still know it was Idol.” Last night watching I thought, they got it right. They struck the perfect balance of fresh and yet identifiably Idol . I hope they kept the familiar staples, Ryan’s “THIS is…” and the pulsating Idol theme music that still always gets me pumped and IS Idol. I honestly didn’t even notice last night but think those things kick in after auditions. Anyway… Idol’s back. :)

        Comment by Amy – January 16, 2014 05:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Also loved the more “clean and lean” aspect of content, especially during audition rounds…all the wasted time garbage gone. Maybe they finally have “gotten it”…they’re just lucky many of us “loonies” stuck around through the bad stuff, waiting for them to get back to the real meat and heart of this show….”a search for a superstar.” The only change they didn’t make that concerns me is not limiting the calls/votes. Will that mean the Bieber-like NJ “cutie” unfairly overshadows other talent at some point? We’ll have to see…I still say, for the most part when we get down to finals on Idol, even with that voting system, America seems to get it pretty right.

          Comment by Amy – January 16, 2014 05:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Even such things as the typeface used for the credits, and the opening credits animation, looked modern and fresh, but yes, still identifiable as Idol.

          Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 07:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yeah, it was brilliant. Thank goodness, because I really just don’t enjoy X Factor/Voice no matter how hard I try, and I really badly want Idol to return to form.

      Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree; tried The Voice for a while, but gave up I think in the second season where it seemed the rules kept changing from week to week to give the producers much more control over who would advance vs. having the viewers in control (yeah, yeah, I know, LOL!), and hated X Factor from the get-go because of the ridiculous over-production, maniacally loud, screaming audiences, and rampant tampering with vocals even at locales where what we should have heard were natural, “live” vocals, such as on the “judges’ homes” segments. (The Sing-Off, on the other hand, is a BRILLIANT show that I wish TVLine would cover!) Every January is a pleasure akin to the start of baseball season for me. Welcome back, Idol.

        Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 01:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Harry Connick giving J-Lo a music theory class on the Pentatonic notes was classic.

    Comment by MC – January 15, 2014 08:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Harry FTW. Great judge. Lots of real talent tonight. Surprised you didn’t mention all of the guitars Slezak. Me love some guitars! I didn’t have my ritual Sav Blanc tonight either, but I was inclined to break it out and start my own personal drinking game for every guitar I saw!

    Comment by karenb – January 15, 2014 08:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s a great idea for a drinking game! I might do that for the next show. Take a drink every time a contestant plays the guitar.

      Comment by tealeaves – January 15, 2014 08:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’m in, tealeaves :)

        Comment by karenb – January 16, 2014 06:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Whereas Randy Jackson made the judges around him less coherent, Harry is making the other judges attempt to bring up their game. Great start to the show!

    Comment by Meredith – January 15, 2014 08:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Wake me up when we get past Hollywood week. We’ve been down this road before. If Harry can maintain his honesty when the live rounds begin, then there’s hope. But JLo we’ve seen before. Seems like everything looked great with the past 2 judges panels and then it all fell apart during the live rounds.

    Comment by Ginger Snap – January 15, 2014 08:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You have a point. But I can’t help but think this might be the year everything changes.

      Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 08:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think the difference is we’ve seen Harry as a mentor before on the program AND we have a new production team. That gives me hope. It’s almost as though the new team listened to everything viewers complained about. Keeping fingers crossed!

      Comment by darcy's evil twin – January 16, 2014 03:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree. Cynical as I am, I’m ever the optimist. Oh and ps and btw…they SHOULD be listening to us and kudos if they finally have!

        Comment by Amy – January 16, 2014 04:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That is how I feel. On her first season Jennifer was honest in the audition rounds, but then changed during the live shows. I do feel with Harry and the new production time there is hope of Harry staying the way he is, but my final judgement of the season won’t be until we see the live shows and who they put up for the voting.

      Comment by Jenny – January 16, 2014 04:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I think a lot of Jennifer’s abrupt turn around last time was a result of pressure from Nigel and Randy. I will give her the benefit of the doubt for the moment and hope she doesn’t revert back to the old J-Lo.

        Comment by The Beach – January 16, 2014 10:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Heck, last season even Keith temporarily sold out, but soon enough repented, made his amends, and set back onto the right path. As other have commented, we can only hope the new production team fosters honesty in judging over manipulation, and that what truly seem to be a core decency and musical intelligence on the part of Harry and Keith help to keep JLo honest and goodhearted too.

          Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 10:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Well said!

            Comment by The Beach – January 16, 2014 11:20 AM PDT  
        • That could be, because she seemed to do quite the mysterious 180 there S10. OTOH, her facial expressions and who she cried for and didn’t when they left made it seem like it was kinda a lot on her too though, at least by the last few weeks (although maybe she got pissed when she got called out for it and only then started taking it out on her own and not just because of pressure). Whatever the case she had millions beyond tens of millions beyond tens of millions, for someone that rich beyond rich to sell out that far or too be so snippy about it when her sellout didn’t go over well with fans or contestants and for her to have been willing to sink people for it, I just have no respect left for her (and I had nothing against her before Idol).

          Comment by HTGR – January 16, 2014 04:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Part of my problem is this – I think there is a balance to be struck with judging in the live rounds. What are they there to do? Are they there to tell the public who performed well and didnt? Or are they there to give feedback to contestants that is relevant to them and their own standard. I mean, if contestant X gives their best performance ever, but its still arguably the worst of the night, should they be providing positive feedback, or negative feedback?
      Unlike others, I don’t think the “JLO problem” is Randy or Nigel caused. I think it is because what JLo’s idea of judging at that stage is focussed on ‘what does the contestant need to hear from me putting aside the competition’ and ours is focussed on ‘how did that performance compare to other contestants’.
      Unless and until the judges understand we want them to be there for the public, not there for the contestants (constructive criticism and mentoring is better done outside of the live shows), the problem may continue.

      Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s the most wonderful time of the year all over again! Welcome back, everybody! And welcome to the best (non-contestant) thing that’s happened to this show in a long time, Harry Connick Jr.! I so, so badly hope everything he is doing now carries over into the live shows. As for the contestants from tonight we’ll see at that point? My money is on Malcom Allen, Sam Woolf, Jillian Jensen, Marialle Sellars, and (Michael didn’t mention this one) Ethan Harris.

    Comment by LeahKittyS – January 15, 2014 08:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Hi Leah, good to see you back.

      Comment by marie – January 15, 2014 08:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Thanks, Marie. Good to see you, too. And I realized too late that the Ethan I mentioned is not the Ethan who was on tonight. Whoops.

        Comment by LeahKittyS – January 16, 2014 12:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I will only be reading recaps because I truly can’t stand JLo on Idol I wish they had went with Kelly Rowland or someone else. I was excited for Harry and Keith. Thanks for helping me out with your recaps and can’t wait for my weekly Idiology.

    Comment by Mika02 – January 15, 2014 08:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Same here. Why the heck did they bring her back and blow so much money on her? If they wanted one well known pop star, then they shoulda poached Rowland. Then again, it’s just as well, as far as I’m personally concerned, as I don’t really wanna blow more time watching ‘reality’ tv haha, but it’s pretty unfortunate for those who are gonna watch. For me, the perfect excuse to skip Idol.
      Anyway, despite all the talk about how this episode went so well, I still don’t believe it long term seeing how they saw fit to bring her back. Harry may be good, but as we’ve seen, if the other judges go all producer’s pet and it goes all S10, a single judge keeping his sense isn’t nearly enough to save the day. I just can’t these seriously in terms of the singing any more. (it sounds like this time JLo isn’t even getting it right during the audition rounds, where she at least had been pretty decent S10. although, if it is true that she was responsible for sending through those cheerleaders that I noticed in one commercial…. well…. maybe she has proven to be of some use, at least just this once this season haha. I may have to check that one segment out. If Keith sent her through too she’s gotta be decent. I hope.).
      When I check back in to peek at the blog again a few weeks deep into the live shows, it’ll be interesting to see whether it is still singing the happy tune.

      Comment by HTGR – January 15, 2014 09:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Exactly how I feel. I will have to see how the first couple live shows go before any sort of declaration.

        Comment by Mika02 – January 16, 2014 10:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I didn’t like Rowland much in X Factor as a judge, although she was the best on the panel (why has Simon Cowell become so useless??). Actually, I really like JLo and Keith as judges in the past, because they have proven not to be concerned with their own egos, when they haven’t gone soft at least (something which, to be fair to Kelly, is impossible to do in an X Factor format)

      Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • JLo, in particular, seemed pretty darn concerned with her own ego to me. Rowland did go a little soft and a few times she seemed to fall into line, but OTOH she only fell behind the big Restless Road push a few times and did call them out quite a few weeks even when Simon was glaring at her hah.

        Comment by HTGR – January 16, 2014 04:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I don’t get that vibe. I’ve always felt JLo was primarily concerned with, perhaps even TOO concerned with, being supportive to the contestants. Something which the panel on X Factor often seem to put second to partisanship and pushing thie own acts at the expense of honesty. This really is a sin of the format, though, more than the judges themselves.

          Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 05:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • HARRY CONNICK JR. My favorite judge ever after one episode.

    Comment by james – January 15, 2014 08:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Ditto to that. I’ve gotten to the point with Idol where I don’t even watch until they get to Hollywood week because I got so sick of the sob stories and the stupid auditions. But I decided to watch this week because of Harry and he was even better than I expected. This is going to be a GREAT season! Bring in Adam Lambert next year in place of JLo and you’ll have a perfect judging panel.

      Comment by C – January 16, 2014 07:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Sigh…pleasant to contemplate, certainly, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t want a panel comprised of all men (or all women either).

        Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 08:43 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I don’t think Lambert is a good selection anyway. There are other alumni I’d sooner see.

        Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I think I recognized Austin Percario (the kid with the stage mom) as one of the intensity kids from season 1 of the X-Factor( if memory served me right he originally auditioned as a duo with a girl). I loved Harry. It was good that he was keeping it real with the contestants. It Randy and Steven where there instead of Harry and Keith nearly everybody would be going to Hollywood. Also if JLo says goosies one more time I will petition for her immediate dismissal.

    Comment by Shawn – January 15, 2014 08:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Harry Connick, Jr: the best/smartest judge to happen to singing competitions since Ben Folds. Well-educated, well-spoken, and hilariously funny. Talk about a triple-threat! (instead of J Lo’s supposed “triple threat.” Of what? Mediocrity?) Haven’t watched this show in YEARS, tuned in for him. May give it a shot just to see him on my TV every week.

    Comment by Emmy – January 15, 2014 09:03 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • YES! Hadn’t thought of that, but you’re right, Harry is a lot like Ben Folds is on the tightest, most music -oriented singing competition on the air (that TVLine doesn’t cover :-/ ).

      Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 03:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Made me laugh, Marie.
        LOVE “The Sing-Off”

        Comment by darcy's evil twin – January 16, 2014 03:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Wow, I’m flattered to have garnered DET ‘s first “made me laugh” of the season – LOL! :-D

          Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 04:00 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • @marie – I know, right? Why won’t the sing off get better ratings? (and Ben Folds is awesome). As a non-american, I’ve only even been able to see one season of the show, and it was brilliant. Wish it did better.

        Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • At least it’s still on the air, I’m very pleased to say (sorry you’re not able to watch it, though, ben).

          Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 03:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Welcome back WGWG&PS! (white guy with guitar and plaid shirt). There were even white girls with guitars. And black girls with guitars. And black guys with guitars!

    I agree with everything Mr. Slezak said about Harry Connick, Jr. He was engaging and spot-on about unsupported vocals, inappropriate songs for young contestants (I think there was only one of those), singers that weren’t quite good enough or ready, and too many “licks”. His comment to J-Lo about the pentatonic scale was funny. I haven’t thought about the term since High school music theory class but at least I knew what it was.

    I was really impressed with how many auditions we were able to watch!

    Comment by darcy's evil twin – January 15, 2014 09:09 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Haha DET I noticed the plaid shirt too. For a second there I thought P2′s little brother was trying out. Not that I know if he has one lol

      Comment by karenb – January 16, 2014 06:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Phillip doesn’t have any brothers. Just two sisters: Lacey and LaDonna. They’re both married, though, so he has brothers-in-law.

        Comment by LeahKittyS – January 16, 2014 12:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This was my favorite audition episode in many years. It was very funny. Most of the contestants put thru had promise and were not just going thru because they were cute or young or had a sob story.
    I LOVE that Harry Connick isn’t impressed by vocal gymnastics just for the sake of it.

    Comment by tealeaves – January 15, 2014 09:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Connick is good but I miss Nicki Minaj! Too bad she didn’t have the patience to take Mariah’s diva attitude! She probably got fired because she couldn’t handle her and had to speak back which caused the controversy that got her fired. Also, the falling ratings don’t justify paying two major stars outlandish salaries. SO they went with the cheap salaries (Keith Urban and Harry Connick) and the Popular Lopez as the huge salary ( to go along with Seacrest’s)!

    Comment by Jason – January 15, 2014 09:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nicki was a terrible. Terrible judge. She seemed promising prior to the live shows and then she completely lost all credibility when she vowed to not save a single male contestant because she was chock full of delusions that Curtis was the best male singer of the boys. Her honestly was useless.

      Comment by Dillon – January 15, 2014 09:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Ellen was better.

        Comment by Rebecca – January 16, 2014 05:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Ellen could have been better than she was, I feel. If she had been judge right from the start, during the auditions, I think she may have done better in the long run.

          Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 05:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Nicki Minaj is the scourge of humanity and needs to hunker down back in the ghetto from whence she came. She is disgusting, untalented, classless, and vulgar. Any panel not featuring her is going to be an improvement. I think the Cookie Monster would have had more salient input for the contestants than she did.

      Comment by Angie_Overrated – January 16, 2014 12:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yes to the ten thousandth power

        Comment by Kaba – January 16, 2014 06:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Now, I might be up for adding Cookie Monster to the judging panel.

        Comment by ben – January 16, 2014 01:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • OMG, Angie Overrated! Your assessment hit the proverbial nail on the head and you were witty to boot! LOL!

        Comment by My Alter Ego – January 16, 2014 06:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Actually her comments were racist and that is obvious from the word ghetto!!

          Comment by Jason – January 16, 2014 09:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • YIPPEE! Michael’s back! And old posters are back! Annndddd you know what else is back? IDOL. It’s back, baby! This is going to be a great season.

    Comment by Blinged Up – January 15, 2014 09:33 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Idol is back. Harry is such a breath of fresh air to this show. Honesty was sorely lacking in Idol. Harry was not only forthright, but was not so brash. I mean, who can argue with his musical acumen? He gave his critiques with substance and humor. I love how he told the Patriots cheerleader that her abdomen showed how she was not sing her vocals correctly. Also, how runs are not the way to go! I seriously love this guy. Scary how many contestants are not aware of Harrys music (Savion and Muhfarid big props to you guys for knowing who Harry is and they are my favorites so far). A big plus – Keith is having the time of his life as a judge. He is obviously loving this season and its apparent in this first episode. The judges are clicking and gelling. Very good sign for the show and for the contestants this season. Thank you TPTB.

    Comment by J – January 15, 2014 09:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes! In one episode, we got to see a judge make both those sage musical observations. How refreshing is that!

      Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 03:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They finally got a real producer and it shows.

    Comment by Timmah – January 15, 2014 09:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Bingo.

      Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 07:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If he also gets rid of the SwayBots, I say he’s a vast improment. (But I reserve final judgement until I see proof of a SwayBot free audience….)

      Comment by NoNoNo – January 16, 2014 09:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I’m hoping Mr. Blankens is too classy for SwayBots.

        Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 11:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show has its swagger back!

    Comment by Tim – January 15, 2014 09:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There was a ukulele! I’m so glad to see Harry! He’s as brilliant as I hoped he’d be. There’s definitely a difference in the production & it’s a welcomed change. WTG new people! I loved leaving out sob stories & hometown visits. Streamlined is right! Combining contestants songs with other clips or their stories was great. No need to know everything about all these people, most won’t get far anyway. It’s just nice to see the variety of people & styles & songs.

    Comment by AprilD – January 15, 2014 09:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agree with everything you say.

      Comment by marie – January 16, 2014 03:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I have not watch AI since Simon left, but curiosity about all the ch ages brought me back. Love Harry!

    Comment by GeoDiva – January 15, 2014 09:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Connick was very good. He made AI watchable again, which I didn’t think was possible. But I can see him becomimg jaded and disinterested in a few years, just like Simon Cowell.

    Comment by Tt – January 15, 2014 10:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The good: Harry Connick is the finest judge ever to be on a talent show! He’s the first judge EVER that sees right through NO TALENT SINGERS and has the guts to say no! There is finally a judge who agrees with me on singers I say stink and all the judges think they’re WONDERFUL! He is SPOT ON IN HIS JUDGING! Also, what a sense of humer! HE is the reason I will watch this show! Also, ALL the judges were having so much fun, mostly due to Harry! THE BAD: Usually I can pick a fabulous singer from the opening segmen of ANY talent show that will go almost or to the final! This episode DID NOT HAVE ONE TERRIFIC SINGER…NOT ONE!!!!!!!! NEVER, have I watched a talent show where at least ONE singer stood out….not ONE! This dates back to the first STAR SEARCH SHOWS! On any episode of any show, someone stands out….NOT THIS FIRST EPISODE! Ben Boone (I think that’s his name), was really the only one I feel had the potential to move on awhile in the competition! You’ll see…NONE of tonights contestants are going nowhere! I loved the judges having so much fun and THEY were the saving grace of this show! The talent overall STANK!

    Comment by Jim Welker – January 15, 2014 10:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I have to agree, the talent level was severely lacking. But, it’s one audition show out of six (I think), so it’s not time to panic yet.

      Comment by Timmah – January 15, 2014 10:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • They didn’t necessarily show the best that they have. Usually they hold back on a few gems who surprise everyone later.

      Comment by hmmmmmmmmmmmm – January 16, 2014 07:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Yes, as I recall Jessica Sanchez was not shown until the Hollywood rounds. And some other prominent finalists as well.

        Comment by Timmah – January 16, 2014 09:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Looking over my last comments, there were a few typos….sorry! Anyway, I hope the talent improves! Even X Facor had a better first episode for talent….MUCH BETTER! Very unusual! Thank God Harry livened things up! I loved his comment about him being a hologram! He is a breath of fresh air….a very intelligent judge who knows his talent!

    Comment by Jim Welker – January 15, 2014 10:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You didn’t think Sam was talented?

      Comment by Justin – January 16, 2014 12:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • All I wanna say is: “pick me up and take me to your hotel room, Harry!” What a Dilf!

    Comment by Adam FR – January 15, 2014 10:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I think you mean Filf.

      Comment by hmmmmmmmmmmmm – January 16, 2014 07:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • oh man, you guys. now i’m confused and it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. I was completely in “I’m not going anywhere near IDOL because of the JLo monster returning, but man Harry C is just as wonderful as I figured he would be and all your comments are making me want to see him. Maybe I could just FF through it everytime the camera/mic goes to JLo. Cause I really cannot handle that woman since she was a judge. Can’t. Handle. Her. Damn…… gotta decide — watch and FF JLo – or read Mr. Slezak’s summaries and watch the YouTube highlights. (Damn… why couldn’t they have gotten anyone but her…. it would have been perfect.) a or b………….. 1 or 2……………. arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Comment by Claudia – January 15, 2014 10:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Much like X Factor New Zealand, we finally get to hear mostly talented singers getting mostly relevant comments. What a novel idea. Sam Woolf’s up tempo Leggo House, did not make the great song better, but showed both a kick ass voice and terrific creativity, a combination that sells records. I would buy his now.

    Comment by Alan Dvorkis – January 15, 2014 11:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I partly agree about JLO! She isn’t much of a singer and isn’t a musician….didn’t know what Harry was talking about on a basic thing he mentioned! She can’t be a good judge because she is only an AVERAGE singer AT BEST! I remember her best when she had such a SHOCKED look on her face when Phillip Phillips won Idol over a superior Jessica Sanchez! She was outraged and for good reason! I do feel that all three judges blend well together with Connick leading the way!

    Comment by Jim Welker – January 15, 2014 11:14 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Agree with most people about the lack of dazzling standout talent, but I will say I was at least impressed by Savion and the girl who played Maroon 5 on her ukelele. Muhfarid was good, but something has me thinking he might be the “same performance every week despite whatever genre he’s tackling” sort. Idk, just a thought. I do hope Jillian does better than she did (and is nowhere near as weepy as she was) on X-Factor.

    Comment by Thea – January 15, 2014 11:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Considering she wept during her audition and during the point when Demi sent her home..I have a hard time seeing what was so weepy about her. Everyone acted as though every waking moment she was on screen she was just shedding tears. She cried twice. The end.

      Comment by Fran – January 15, 2014 11:53 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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