And so it begins. The Top 24… “Best season ever”…. “Most talented group yet!” Really? Where have I heard that before? Season 9…Season 8…even (good Lord!) Season 4 claimed the same thing. American Idol is back in full swing this week with 3 – count them – three! – nights of programming as we struggle through the Top 12 boys, Top 12 girls and the dreaded elimination show. (Find out your programming details here: http://www.americanidol.com/). Here’s the deal – I’ll watch, so you can go do something useful with your life! Then, I’ll report back each week on highlights (I’m being optimistic here), weekly judges’ shenanigans, general contestant mayhem, and some predictions (to hopefully help you win your office pools!).
Let’s start with the judges. I guess Randy is now the resident bad guy and “serious” judge now that Senor Cowell has sadly abandoned AI. I’ve heard little so far about “pitchiness”, and the “dawgs” don’t seem to be out much. While he seems downright harsh compared to the other judges, he’s really the only thing approaching a voice of reason this year at the experts’ table...that alone seems like a harbinger of doom to me. J.Lo is beautiful – really, I’d gladly give up a toe for her complexion or access to her extensions/wig/hairdresser, but she just doesn’t bring the crazy like Paula did! And then there’s Steven Tyler. Gotta love that guy! Does anyone else get a creepy uncle vibe from him, or is it just me? My biggest prediction this year is that he’ll never say anything critical to a hot chick – he just doesn’t have it in him!
For the boys, let’s talk about the Good, the Bad and the Ugly – there were definitely a few of each in this opening week of viewer voting. Casey Abrams, you put a spell on me! Seriously, does anyone doubt that this guy will go the distance? I cannot fathom a universe in which he doesn’t clobber these other clowns… That said, the ever-snarky but talented Clint Jun Gamboa was totally solid, and James Durbin, playing the role of Adam Lambert this year, sang like a fake-wannabe-rocker, but one with a four octave range, so he’s safe. Those three aren’t going anywhere, and, I think that Scotty McCreery, aka “Deep Throat” isn’t going away either. His “aw shucks” thing coupled with his classic country/heartland appeal should allow him to skate through at least 3 more weeks, while barely breaking a sweat (Remember Bucky Covington?). Five guys will move forward, so it’s looking like the last slot would go to either Jason Lusk, whom the judges adore, or to Paul McDonald, whose freakishly white teeth are apparently hypnotizing the judges (as well as a few female voters I’m guessing). Whichever one America doesn’t “get”, the judges will probably save with their Wild Card pick. The good news is that this means we won’t have to listen to Jovany Barreto, or Stefano Langone slaughter any more tired Idol standards, and we won’t be forced to watch (or listen to) Jordan Dorsey or Brett Loewenstern any longer. By the way, did Brett have a spider in his hair? What was with all that head shaking? And Jordan…was that dancing or was he having some sort of a seizure? We also won’t have to fall asleep to any more Robbie Rosen ballads, or just be confused by Tim Halperin’s apparent desire to go home early (he’s such a good singer – what happened last night?). So, there you have it.