Because I recap American Idol for HaveUHeard.net, I have not written anything here about it, but I decided to just write a little about the overall season thus far.
After all the drama with the judges (Paula, Ellen, Kara, and Simon leaving, the search for the new judges, Steve Tyler and Jennifer Lopez being chosen) we have now had a chance to see the new trio work together. Whether it will be different once we start the live shows is anyone’s guess, but until then, there is something to be said about this new panel. Gone is the mean judge persona perfected by Simon (which was at least partly affectation) as well as his later indifference as he clearly got bored with doing the same project and not being able to run it completely. In its place is…NICENESS. It’s a bizarre feeling after all the snark, which was enjoyable in its own right. Luckily, the producers decided to go for dynamic over recreation because this group is fantastic together (though I am still will to lose Randy, is that just me?). They clearly get along well and enjoy each other’s company. Tyler is the craziest person ever, which is exactly as expected. I’m over his high-pitched sing along thing but I’ll take it. JLo is surprisingly nurturing and gentle, and seems much more genuine than I would ever have expected. Randy is still Randy so whatev (there has been less dawg which is for the better). In last night’s episode, we saw just how well the judges mesh and get along. Jennifer broke down after telling a contestant with an emotional story that he had not made it to the Top 24. She didn’t know if she had told him the right way, it was too hard. But Steven and especially Randy, who could easily have said “Man up! That’s how the game is played and everyone knew what they were getting into!” instead chose to comfort and reassure her. That moment was the moment that solidified the new judging panel in my mind.
On to the contestants. The show has touted this crop of kids as the most talented group ever. I don’t know if any individual contestant is the strongest contestant ever (I’m telling you, they NEED to do an All Star season!), but as a whole there is a ridiculous amount of talent. Partly, they’ve moved away from all the guitar-toting singer-songwriters who have more creativity and “personal style” than they have amazing diva-ish range. I don’t know if lowering the age limit made that much of a difference (there are some great fifteen year olds and it gave us two years’ worth of new contestants as compared to only the new sixteen year olds, which probably helps a little too), but I’m certainly not complaining about it.
Audition time was much too long, but once we got to Hollywood week the show picked up again with powerful performances and ridiculous drama (maybe having some super young people did make a difference there). I particularly like that they had a consultation with Jimmy Iovine who went as far as telling one group to change their Beatles song. I hope they get more vocal coaching and consultations because I’d rather have many good performances over a number of ones that could have been better if they had been given some guidance. (No more “you picked the wrong song!”)
Overall, this season is really looking great and I can’t wait for performances to start. I do wish we could have an episode where we saw the contestants perform without the stress of elimination so we could properly meet and hear each one first, but oh well.