Idol’s Back and Still Good, Dawg

Keeping it real – I was worried. I came to tonight’s rebooted Idol with the fear that I was going to have to explain why your friendly, neighborhood Muser was disappointed in the show that My Daughter Diandra once proclaimed “a religion in our household.” But thanks to a new set of Evil Genius Producers, who thankfully didn’t do much that was new, I’m really excited to see where we go from here.

The show marked its territory right from the opening monologue from its second megastar Carrie Underwood[1] about how dreams can come true. And then instead of “This is American Idol!”, Ryan’s first words were “Welcome back home to the place where superstars are born!” Finally, during a cute montage cleverly designed to show us what great chemistry we can expect to see between the judges, Luke Bryan says, It’s not about what me, Lionel and Katy are doin’. It’s about watching a star be born right there in front of our eyes.” From there, the show started on brand and stayed in its familiar and comfortable lane all night.

Here are my highlights:

  • The pace of the show was excellent. The two hours went by quickly.
  • The familiarity. It was the Idol that we’ve always known.
  • The interplay between the judges is fantastic but more importantly, most of that interplay happens in interactions with the Idolists. The show’s opening and not so subtle messaging is that this is the show that is about the people who want to be stars and not the people who already are.
  • HONEST CRITIQUE!!!! I loved that the judges told people – gently – that they’re just not good enough yet to compete. I was disappointed when Lionel back-tracked on Ron from the Congo but otherwise I have been longing for honest critique since Simon Cowell left.
  • Related to this, I enjoyed the montage of “no” which showed that honest critique can be given and still be constructive.
  • Related to this, it looks like I may enjoy Katy Perry as a nicer, kinder, more playful and hotter version of Simon as the “the mean judge”.
  • And related to the judges, throughout the night, they showed great humor and, yes, chemistry. I loved that they gave themselves the nickname of “The Judgementals”.
  • Fifteen-year old Alyssa Ragha had me wondering what Alessia Cara or Dua Lipa sounded like when they were that age[2].
  • Dennis Lorenzo’s sweet, soulful voice in the last audition of the night.

Yes, it’s just the first show. But it was a great restart and now I’m looking forward to Monday night to see if the old magic continues.


[1] Apparently the first megastar Kelly Clarkson switched sides and went to be on that other show.

[2] This year Alessia (now 21) won the Best New Artist Grammy while Dua (now 22) won the U.K. Brit Awards for British Female Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act.


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