I’ll be honest. I did not have high hopes for the new season of “American Idol.” I was sure that the show without Simon Cowell would be like an Italian dinner without red wine. But as I am learning from my drinking sabbatical (now nine days in!), it is possible to enjoy a bowl of pasta without a bottle of Chianti, just as it’s possible to still be entertained by hundreds of amateur singers without a British guy in a tight T-shirt there to snark at them.Last night’s “American Idol” premiere debuted two new judges alongside veteran Randy Jackson (who still, BTW, manages to be the most useless person on the panel) — Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. Forget for a second, if you can, that were J.Lo to audition for the show, her singing skills would not get her through to Hollywood. Put aside the fact that Steven Tyler was likely encouraged to do this show by his management because they knew there would probably be regular, mandatory drug tests. Quit wondering how on earth the man who sang “Dream On” manages to have more highlights in his hair than Jenny from da Block. These two as judges aren’t half bad. I was entertained, and I’m rarely entertained by anything on TV these days besides rat hoarders and people who eat their hair follicles.
Look, Aerosmith hasn’t made a song I liked since that “Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” ballad from “Armageddon.” And it’s not outside the realm of possibility that J.Lo is sticking to what she’s good at by judging a singing competition rather than flexing the pipes herself. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, dare I say it, may just work as judges on “American Idol.”
The auditions themselves were pretty typical. There were some “great” auditions — though I will say the judges were a little easily impressed this first episode — and many terrible ones, including a few where a language barrier took the terribleness up a notch. Above, Yoji “Pop” Asano sings Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” while doing some very bizarre Michael Jackson-inspired moves. He’s was even moonwalking in utero. I wish he had sung the Miley/Biggie Smalls mashup of this song instead.
Easily the most memorable audition belonged to the impossibly perky Victoria Huggins. I hated her instantly. I know she’s basically a kid and is probably harmless, but her country yokel act didn’t fool me — she’s got an evil streak, I can tell. Check out her audition above and then tell us what you thought of the first episode of the new season of “American Idol.”