“For some, an American Idol audition is their first step out of the shadows,” says Ryan, reminding me that I find the zero-to-hero story arc of this show so utterly addicting. After Sunday’s successful-so-far relaunch, tonight we got more of what worked so well last night: backstories, cute segments, LOL interplay – emphasis on “play” – with the Idolists, and great chemistry between the judges. As to that chemistry, not only are they good with each other, I am finding each of the judges likeable and enjoyable on their own. And Katy Perry is proving worth every dollar of ABC’s investment with her comedy, compassion and critiques.
Tonight’s theme seemed to be Talented Teens of which there were many. I noted a couple of especially good ones:
- Justine Mara, the 15-year old that opened the show with her growly, spunky voice.
- Laine Hardy, the 17-year old from Livingston, LA who likewise has a beyond-his-years grit, gravel and soul.
Teens have done well on and off Idol – Jordin Sparks, Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery went from Idol Finales to commercial success. Justine and Laine have a long way to go but I’ve bookmarked them for future reference.
Other names I wrote down were the charming William Casanova; Brandon Diaz from nearby Ashburn, VA (HOLLAH!!); and Thaddeus Johnson whose silky version of Swedish House Mafia’s EDM hit Don’t You Worry Child clearly checked the “make the song your own” box.
It’s just two shows but so far, my expectations have been exceeded. It’s not a new and improved Idol. It’s the old and improved Idol.