'American Idol' 2011 Premiere Recap

by Hilary Rothing, posted Jan 19th 2011 10:45PM

Come one, come all! Bring your tone deaf, your off key, and of course your pitchy, and open up the floodgates, cuz everyone's getting' in! At least while J.Lo and Steven Tyler are on watch on 'American Idol, there's literally no accounting for talent, with just about everyone who opened their mouth getting a ticket to Hollywood.

The highly anticipated Season 10 premiere opened with the usual fanfare. Ryan Seacrest let us know that 125,000 people auditioned this season for the chance to defy a whole new blend of rejection courtesy of the Jennifer Lopez/Randy Jackson/Steven Tyler trio.

And just in case you didn't know it, Tyler and Lopez are bona fide superstars. Tyler has sold 150 million albums as the lead singer of the legendary rock band Aerosmith, while J.Lo has pushed something like 55 million.

While Tyler stated early on that his mission this season was to find the next Janis Joplin (didn't we already get that in Crystal Bowersox?), judging from both his and J.Lo's alarming lenience with the offerings at New Jersey's Meadowlands arena, it appears he's willing to settle for karaoke night at campus quad. Not to hate on our neighbors from New Jersey, but I have a feeling this season will not give us our first Northeast winner.

It's a bit too early to weigh in heavily on the chemistry between the newly established power trio, but I wouldn't say there was magic in the air between them. While Randy was his usual, wishy-washy self, Steven spent more time drumming along on the desk to the worst of the lot than passing judgment, while J.Lo was clearly the pushover.

Of course, we need to give these two some time to adjust to the gig. The pair are already colored by their own fabled legacies (Jennifer's infamous diva rep and Steven's notorious antics, both on and off stage). And with 'Idol' icons Simon and Paula both gone, fans and critics started painting the two in the roles of their predecessors early on.

In particular, early comparisons were made between Steven and Paula, which the Aerosmith vocalist responded to in an interview with Howard Stern yesterday. So did he fulfill the prophecy?

Judging by tonight's appearance, not quite. Tyler definitely brings a fresh, flirty (with little accounting for age in the case of a few young contestants) flavor to the judges' panel, which I don't think we've had before. Whether or not it deteriorates into the kind of incoherence Paula was known for remains to be seen.



In J.Lo's case, it seems she's bent on not being seen as the Simon replacement, going easy on a number of subpar contestants. In particular, girls who cried/pleaded/said J.Lo was their idol, got a pass. It's clear that Randy is more than capable of making the tough calls and taking the heat as 'Idol's new resident heel.

As for the prospects out of this first round of auditions, there was neither a Larry "Pants on the Ground" Platt nor Adam Lambert among the bunch.

The night's first contestant, Rachel Zevita came back for another shot at wowing Lopez, who she had auditioned for in Season 6. While she didn't blow it out of the water with her rendition of 'Hallelujah,' Lopez gave her a pass and Steven and Randy followed suit.

While J.Lo and Steven were particularly forgiving, there were a number of contestants that even these two softies couldn't let through. Achille Lovle attributed her bass-y rendition of Madonna's 'Dress You Up' to her accent, but J.Lo wasn't buying the excuse. Lovle may not have made it to Hollywood, but she's definitely scored a first class ticket to YouTube.

Aside from laughable water cooler moments, the night also offered up the usual sentimental sob stories. New Jerseyite Robby Rosen recalled growing up in a wheelchair before belting out a pretty decent rendition of the Beatles' 'Yesterday.' He just may have been the best of the lot.

Among the other heart-tugging moments of the evening were a young girl whose parents escaped a life of poverty in their native Kosovo and a teenage girl whose father recently battled throat cancer.

And then there was the Japanese guy who's been impersonating Michael Jackson "since before he was born." He took at stab at Miley Cyrus' 'Party in the USA' and I mean "stab" in the most literal sense of the word. And no, he didn't make it to Hollywood.

Now that they've cut their teeth on the first, mostly sorry, lot of contestants, let's hope J.Lo and Steven have their knives sharpened for tomorrow night's round or we're in for one hell of a Hollywood trip.

UPDATE:

The ratings are in for last night's premiere and 'Idol' ruled the evening, with Nielsen overnights showing a 16.4 national rating. Though down 11 percent from last season, 'Idol' pulled in more than double the eyeballs of its biggest competitior, CBS, according to MediaWeek's Marc Beman. Last year's premiere saw a 9 percent decline from the season before. More later as the final numbers firm up.

So far as Judges, Steven Tyler and J.Lo are...
Too easy on contestants16728 (74.9%)
Overly critical89 (0.4%)
Right on point5522 (24.7%)
Is Steven Tyler the "New Paula?"
Yes, he's got Paula potential1597 (7.5%)
No, he's his own brand of crazy19769 (92.5%)
Is 'American Idol' Still Watchable Without Simon?
Yes11153 (46.3%)
No4920 (20.4%)
Too early to tell8005 (33.2%)

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Deric Stead Sr

What a farce this Idol show is, I guarantee that they have just lost many many viewers including this house.

April 07 2011 at 9:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Deric Stead Sr

After watching that result this show is a farce I sware I will never watch it again.

April 07 2011 at 9:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cmmulroe

My husband and I have watched from the beginning and always looked forward to when the new season started. We always called it our "Date Night" For the past few years we've been really disappointed, lost interest over Simon's rude ways. He was just down right MEAN.
What a difference Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez have made to the show. AMAZING! The chemistry between Steven, Jennifer and Randy is incredible. The decision to bring them on as judges, In my opinion has saved the show, and my husband and I have our "Date Night" back. Thanks

January 21 2011 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maranatha

oops, guess I didn't see the premiere if tonight was the second night... anyway, still, I'll NOT MISS another installment if I can help it.

Also, the 'man-kid' who should have done a Jagger song, I naturally mean he had POTENTIAL, not that he by any stretch is the talent that Jagger STILL IS...

I hope we all look for the positive, good, and uplifting for a change in this world, rather than just focusing on the negative. America DOES INDEED w-a-n-t to be as good as it must appear in the eager, vibrant positive energy mindset of that beautiful spirit of a 9-yr old tragically snuffed out. If her memory can bring America to listen to its Better Angels, then maybe her Passing will leave a legacy worthy of her Be-ing!

Just as in the final movement of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Ode To Joy, the line where Ludwig veritably asserts, ....above the indescribable splendor and majesty of the celestial creation, there MUST God dwell !!!...

May I echo Ryan here by saying, "Peace! ...out"

RM

January 20 2011 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maranatha

This is the first "premiere" I've ever seen, and I only viewed by chance, as it were, having thought the hype about the show was WAY OVERBLOWN about the personalities of the judges, although to be sure it wasn't without entertainment value.

The last girl is singing now, and although not over, she is definitely in... an excellent moment to end on.

I AM SO DAMN IMPRESSED!!! They really got it RIGHT tonight! It is obvious that it is now ALL ABOUT THE TALENT!!! That is, I predict, the REAL winning formula, and if tonights selections are any indication, this will be a spectacular season! Congratulations to Jennifer, Randy and Stephen: you have proven that you all are serious adjudicators of talent and personality. (The 15 yr old is a truly exceptional choice, given his age, vocal skill set, and is, as J-Lo so aptly and succinctly mused, ..."so damn Cute!", and in my humble opinion is a VERY strong contender for the title because America wants/needs some INNOCENCE again!... and that kid is innocence PER- SON-I-FIED along with the fact taht with proper song selection. he will win all hearts, and he OBVIOUSLY is strongly gifted in Intuitively making good decisions already!!!... so with a little professional guidance, insight, and nurturing, this kid could become a 'Movement' :-) !!! )

Another moment that showed just how serious the judges are in delivering real solid ajudication skills: when Stephen nailed it PERGFECTLY when that young man/kid(not a bad thing in itself... indeed, it was one of his strengths to be sure) lost a REAL CHANCE to also contend by selecting the WRONG SONG to audition with, as well as channeling the WRONG PERSONA!; Man!...if he had only let his inner MIck Jagger loose...THAT might have been quite a sensation! The music scene could use a new Jagger-spirit, and he DEFINITELY had the vocal skills, the looks, and the personality-type of that great rock-and-roll legend, but, alas, he needs some good serious teaching and management to temper and focus his ego(my humble opinion): no disrespect to Lady GaGa, but he needs to channel testostertone, not estrogen!

All the vocal talent chosen was deserved, and represents personality-wise also, the BEST of America! Again, my humble opinion. And the panel of Judges: A WINNING TEAM! No disrespect to Simon, but there ARE many roads that lead to Rome.

I'm Watching This Year!!!!

Congratulations to the whole Idol team! Something will have to go horribly wrong for this train to wreck, and I predict SUBSTANTIAL RATINGS IMPROVEMENT! Making it about the talent, and using the professionals for what they have earned through their years of experience and hard work to look for the best and brightest, will prove that Entertainment can be fun and uplifting as we see real 'athletes of vocal skills' learn to navigate the very real professional waters of the Music Industry. A vicarious thrill for the viewer...this one, anyway! Randall Mann

January 20 2011 at 9:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cneumaier

You should have had this kind of talent judging a long time ago---you cannot pay Steven or J.Lo enough for doing this
And Randy ties it together perfectly. Best Idol ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bada Bing Baby!!!!!!!!!!
CBS is finally getting it right

January 20 2011 at 4:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Nancy

I hope that Idol learned from Simon and truly gives "talent" a chance. Not cute, not sad, TALENT!

January 20 2011 at 4:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
slm1924

I thought AMERICAN IDOL was AWFUL last night. I did not watch much of it. The judges are terrible. I don't plan to watch it unless some changes are made. I hope some people in charge see these negative comments.

January 20 2011 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
anthonyfsps

So glad Simon is Gone. Now I will watch the show, The reason so many people think they are to nice is because your a bunch of haters, That want to spend thier time watching people be ripped on. Nice to see a touch of class finally added to this show.

January 20 2011 at 3:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
alexdeleon

Who do you think JLo will agree with during the judging? Ryan, Randy or Steven? http://www.sitv.com/idol

January 20 2011 at 3:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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