American Idol Season 13 kicks off

American Idol season 13 screening L
Frank Micelotta / FOX


Who will be the next American Idol?

“You will decide. The journey starts now.”

Hard to believe another season of American Idol is airing again. 11 years ago one of those terrified, excited, nervous, and somewhat clueless contestants was me. One of 100,000 hopefuls trying to achieve my dream and “make it” in the music industry.

I had never seen the show.

So much has changed in the last decade, most recently, the judges panel (again). I am thrilled Harry Connick Jr. is the third judge this year. He is AMAZINGLY talented, a total music geek, and “to the point” without being brutal. He even gave us a lesson on the pentatonic scale.

“What’s wrong with challenging America? There are 12 notes…you know ‘do re mi’ there’s also ‘do di re ri mi…pentatonics are the classic go-to’s for R&B singers, gospel singers, jazz musicians, those are the five notes that you hear everyone do runs on.”

Meaning, HCJ was not impressed with all the “smoke and mirrors” of vocal gymnastics.

And many contestants were not as impressed with the musical genius that Mr. Harry Connick Jr. is.

“Um…he used to be singer before he became an actor…” “I think his name is Henry?”…”I’m going to google him.”

“No one cares about me!” he joked after one contestant gushed about J-Lo. “Keith and I are basically bookends. Everyone comes in and stares right at Jen.”

Harry Connick Jr. (HCJ) said he had to be honest, even if meant breaking someone’s heart.

The first auditioned was a twerker, and I can’t believe I’m saying that, but it’s true. Not only did this guy twerk (my spell check keeps auto-correcting to “tweak”-guess it hasn’t been updated to the newest word in the dictionary yet) his way through his entire song, but he asked J-Lo to join in. She declined.

“I don’t have my twerking outfit on!” she laughed. He made it through.

There were several amazing, obvious singers that made it through, and others that made it based not only on their voice, but other “it” factors.

“It’s not just a singing show, there’s more things going on,” said judge Keith Urban to a funky young singer who didn’t necessarily have the perfect voice, but a great overall package performance.

“It’s a singing competition, but it’s also more,” said HCJ.

And that is exactly why it’s a TV show, and not a radio show. The look, the personality, the performance, the musician skills, the ability to relate, in addition to the voice, of course, is what makes a great entertainer. It’s also a show-a reality show. It needs to have content. It needs to be diverse. It needs to draw people in. The judges-and producers-pick select contestants based on what the show needs at the time.

There is always a country singer, a rocker, an R&B singer, a pop singer, a latin singer, a soulful singer, and an indie chic (or dude.) Something for everyone, variety to keep the show interesting.

January 29 is the Salt Lake City auditions and I can’t wait to see what talent Utah brings to American Idol.

Did you watch the premier? What do you think of the new judge, Harry Connick Jr.? Any contestants stand out?


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