When we watch these “American Idol” promos these days, we like to imagine that there is some sort of producer behind the camera holding up cue cards or waving their hands around like the parent of a “Toddlers & Tiaras” contestant. After all, how else do we explain that the show is selling itself perfectly this season? They must have people behind the scenes that they are orchestrating this like little puppet masters, right?
While it’s too early to tell if the new season is any good, major kudos goes to these new producers for actually listening to almost every complaint over the past couple of months. You’ve kept the classic elements of the audition process intact, but the room feels brighter, the judges seem to be having fun, and they understand that their job is to entertain as much as it is to judge. You have Harry Connick Jr. complimenting Jennifer Lopez on her “rocks,” him cradling a contestant like a baby, and J.Lo talking about how important it is for the panel to have chemistry. (She should know this better than anyone after spending two seasons sitting next to Randy Jackson and the ghost of Steven Tyler.)
We’re excited that the show realizes that we need to have fun if we are ever going to care about the contestants, and that we don’t need some sort of glossed-over “X Factor” production where our energy is slowly sucked out of us like what the Monstars did to Shawn Bradley in “Space Jam.” But, as we’ll continue to stress until the end of time, none of this really matters if the live shows stink. You can edit together a good audition show, but the judges have to actually be exciting when it matters most. Last year, Keith Urban looked ready to pass out most of the time, and J.Lo’s good feedback was often overshadowed by her only offering real criticism when a contestant was about to go home.
You can see some more previews for the next “American Idol” season over at the link here. Choose to be excited about it at your own risk.