American Idol XIII Premiere Earns Solid Reviews (Recap Roundup)

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The pundits agree. American Idol has got its mojo back this season, thanks to help from new judge, Harry Connick Jr. whose humor and forthright manner is like a breath of fresh air.

American Idol Premiere Recap: Pentatonics Anonymous – You guys! American Idol is back! And so am I! I took the last season of The X Factor off — and so did you — because life is too short. But I have rested, and I am ready for a new season of what can and should be the best singing-competition show on television, but, for the last few seasons, really hasn’t been. Idol has tried a lot of things. It has tried being overblown. It has tried being funny. It has tried putting Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey on the judges panel at the same time and basically become professional wrestling. But what it does best is what it did first. Idol is the Coke in these particular Cola Wars, and I’m willing to call last season’s eschewal of Cute Boys With Guitars and inclusion on the judges panel of two mortal enemies their New Coke moment. We live and we learn, and if we’re wise, we learn to return to the formula. – Vulture

‘Idol’ Takes A Hugely Unexpected Step Toward Being Much Less Terrible – But something terrible has happened. There are new producers on board, and they have a few dangerous ideas. They seem to believe that it’s depressing to bring attention-starved, socially awkward people in front of wealthy celebrities to have their dreams brutally mocked. They seem to believe that people who are obviously auditioning as a prank are boring — that people who are not trying are less interesting than people who are trying. They seem to believe we want to hear about musicianship from the judges, just because they’re musicians. They seem to believe humor should be participatory, a conspiracy between judges and willing, preferably talented contestants, rather than a slushie in the face from a bully. They seem to believe it’s okay for the judges to have different opinions about things, and for Connick to (non-jokingly) call out J.Lo and Urban for being overly infatuated with what Randy Jackson rapturously spoke of as runs, or as Connick more skeptically calls them, “licks.” They seem to believe it’s cool to have Harry Connick, Jr., a jazz musician, explain what he thinks sounds good using scales. Musical scales. Freaking music theory. – Read more at NPR

American Idol Is Back, Let’s Talk About It – Last night had lots of WGWGs, a healthy smattering of younger singers who will be overpraised for packing mimeographs of emotion into their songs despite their ages, and a few curveballs whose extra-Idol careers I actually want to follow. As the show rolls on, patterns will develop further. Two judge-related behaviors seem to be common: People are way overpraising Jennifer Lopez (I counted at least three montages given over to contestants talking about how she was just one of the most important people in history, like Rushmore-worthy), while Harry Connick Jr. is proving to be an absolute delight, poking fun at his fellow judges being easy marks for showy runs (and explaining the pentatonic scale) and trading IQ scores with hopefuls while also being realistic about the actual amount of talent the singers have. Most importantly, though, the focus on the contestants who were either really good or just a hair shy of being ready for going further in the competitions was welcome. – Read more at NoisyTrade

‘American Idol’ recap: Season 13 kicks off with humor and talent – The three judges combined to create an easygoing vibe that also didn’t lack for spice and flavor. Connick, who finally put forever judge Randy Jackson out of his misery at the judging table, was the key ingredient. Jackson, bless his well-meaning heart and overused terminology, never seemed quite comfortable sliding into Simon Cowell’s chair, where he was apparently expected to provide the voice of experience and tough love. Connick, however, seems determined to summon his own considerable musical expertise to provide real, honest feedback to the contestants — as well as his fellow judges, teaching Lopez, not to mention the rest of us, about pentatonics (the key to the five notes singers do runs on, he explained), just for example. “What’s wrong with challenging America?” he asked. – Read more at LA Times

‘American Idol’ premiere: Harry Connick Jr. is delicious – Harry Connick Jr. is my favorite American Idol judge so far, and not just because he cradled a contestant like a baby on tonight’s season 13 premiere. (Anyone else jealous of that baby?) In the face of a steady stream of mediocre contestants, “your mom’s favorite singer” did not sugarcoat his critiques. Plenty of times, Keith Urban and J. Lo said yes to someone and Connick Jr. had to be honest: “I don’t think you’re a good enough singer. No.” Connick Jr. spent the premiere playfully batting the warm and glowing ego balloon that is Jennifer Lopez — he could have been more persistent with his specific musicianship suggestions for people every time she smoothly steamrolled his opinions, but I think he’ll do that down the line during the live shows. Tonight, he held back, settled in, and toyed with the balloon gently enough so that things stayed fun and she didn’t burst. – Read more at Entertainment Weekly

‘American Idol’ Season 13 Premiere Recap: Just Wild About Harry – Clearly, Munfarid realized that Harry is the real star of “Idol” Season 13. And soon, all of America will realize this too, if Harry’s stellar Wednesday debut was anything to go by. While Jennifer was surprisingly astute, and Keith was his usual pleasant self, it was Harry who brought the comedy, who brought the necessary tough love (“To send someone out of the room crying is a terrible feeling, but if it’s the right thing to say, I think you have to say it,” he explained), and who brought the knowledge, teaching all the laypeople out there about pentatonics and minor scales. “What’s wrong with challenging America?” he said. – Read more at Yahoo.com

‘American Idol’ Season Premiere: TV Recap – Tonight on the Harry Connick Jr. show…err, “American Idol”, a new freshness was pumped into the franchise, which was sorely needed after a few stale years. Producers, in addition to making some cool production decisions with funky edits and a new modern look and feel (which at times overshadowed the singing…like too often), played up the chemistry between the panel of judges, mostly because it’s the best thing they have going suddenly, but also because collectively, the judges were actually entertaining. – Read more at WSJ.com

American Idol Season 13 Premiere Recap: The Sob Days Are Over, the Sob Days Are Done – So let’s offer a warm Season 13 welcome to all the future Daughtrys and Fantasias, as well as debuting panelist Harry Connick, Jr., a man so sublime he’s almost managed to dislodge memories of human barnacle Randy Jackson from my brain. (Granted, my case of Dawg-induced PTSD will be that much stronger when Randy returns in a “mentoring” capacity later this season, but for now, I consider his absence a blessing on par with a winning MegaMillions ticket or a brand new pony on Christmas morning.) Why am I so wild about Harry? Let me try to break it down to four moments from the premiere — so we can then move on to the contestants. (Because it is and should always be about the contestants.) – Read more at TV Line

About mj santilli 33197 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!