You can go through previous posts in my blog to see that I was adamant in my position that there was no American Idol without Simon Cowell, and I cringed anytime I heard anyone discussing the future of the show. Well, about a month ago, I had some crow for dinner. I can honestly say, as much as I loved Simon and what he brought to the show, the show is GREAT this year. I have enjoyed it more this year than I have probably since crazy people started winning the competition (Taylor Hicks, I'm talking to you.) So, in no particular order are ten reasons I think, if you had written Idol off, that it deserves another chance.
1. Shiny and New. The powers that be wisely realized that overhauling the judges was essentially overhauling the show. They've not tried to be "AI 1-9 With New Judges". They've completely overhauled it, and AI is a lot fresher than the show has been in years. Tonight is a great example - performing in smaller groups to earn your way into the top 24 is great. I still don't think America needs to be voting until its down to 10, but I'll take what I can get.
2. Hollywood Week. Not new, but still so incredibly awesome. It's like cheetos and grape soda television. No redeeming qualities whatsoever, but it's still great.
3. The judges as a whole. They have tremendous chemistry this year. They work well together, and they seem like they are all having fun. Moreso than in previous years, it seems like we have a ringside seat. The other thing about the judging trio - with all of them being performers, I get a sense that they "get it". They know what an opportunity like this is to these kids, and they respect it. I think it makes the contestants respect it too.
4. Steven Tyler. He's got his own brand of batsh!t crazy, but I. Love. It. He is so crazy sexy cool that *I* want to go try out for the show. Or maybe I'd just like to run my hands through his hair. And of course, the drama of exactly when the story's going to break that he's doing naughty with one of the contestants makes for great reality television, indeed. Seriously, I was so underwhelmed when I heard he was going to be a judge, but I was so wrong.
5. Jennifer Lopez. You know, I've never been a huge J-Lo fan. I am the first to admit that she is smokin-ass hot, but really, something about her just didn't appeal to me. I think she went full-throttle to diva too quick. But this AI gig is working for her. Maybe she's fallen down a notch in her own eyes that she's on the small tube (has she been on a regular tv show since she was a Fly Girl?) I never believed it before, but during this season I see Jenny from the Block once more, and she is so genuinely likable on AI, it makes me wonder if I've been too harsh on her all these years. I still think her husband has control issues though.
6. Nicer, more constructive critiquing. Now that Hollywood Week is over, we get to hear a lot more critiquing from the judges. Just on the first night, I like that neither Randy, Jennifer, nor Steven feel an overwhelming need to pile criticism on top of criticism. One "it sucked" seems to be enough from them. That's a refreshing change.
7. Aging like wine, not seafood. Something else that gives the show a different feel is that some of the kids that are on the show this year were FIVE when the show started. FIVE. So for the younger contestants, Idol is as much a part of their pop culture as Happy Days/The A Team/Friends was in mine. I can't explain, exactly, why it's different, it just is. Sometimes this makes me feel old, particularly when the contestants sing Miley Cyrus. But mostly I find it makes me appreciate them more - like I don't roll my eyes anymore when they admit to never having heard the Beatles. Okay, maybe I roll my eyes a bit there, but you get my point.
8. The contestants. There are more likeable kids in this group than in several of the past years. Obviously, there were a few that they put through for the dramatic value (like Tiffany with the stars on her boobs?) just because it made for great tv. But for the most part, I think these contestants are very very talented. I think this group of 24 will make for good music.
9. Buh-bye mentoring. Rumor has it they are doing away with mentoring. Thank all that's holy. Because quite frankly if they were to trot out Justin Beiber as a mentor, I'd go write a manifesto. Beiber Fever? Yes. Mentor, no.
10. Ryan Seacrest. Because why should this year be different than any other year?
See you next week!!