Friday, January 17, 2014
With Harry Connick Jr., American Idol sees big improvements this season
Plus, we have a local contestant!
Here’s something to make you feel a bit older. On last night’s episode of American Idol, we saw the son of a first-season finalist audition. Remember Nikki McKibbin? She was the North Texan who came in third place after Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini in 2002. It’s not easy to forget Nikki, especially because she was one of the first edgy contestants on the show, and also one of the many, many Idol contestants with fuschia hair.
Nikki’s son Tristen Langley auditioned for the judges in Austin with Nikki by his side. The 15-year-old had a decent audition and he’s a handsome kid, but is he the best singer ever? Not really. After the performance, new judge Harry Connick Jr. said that it’s all a nice story but if it wasn’t for his mom being a previous contestant, it wouldn’t have worked for him. Fellow judges Keith Urban and Jennifer Lopez enjoyed his performance and gave him a chance to go to the next round. You can watch Tristen’s performance below.
Tristen Langley Auditions - AMERICAN IDOL SEASON XIII
This season of Idol feels so different than the previous one. Last season, powerhouse Mariah Carey and rapper Nicki Minaj took over the show with their silly feud and ended up turning off most of the show’s core viewers. Even through all that, Idol found a more-than-worthy winner in Candice Glover, whose rendition of The Cure’s “Lovesong” still gives me the chills. Quickly after the season ended, there was a lot of work to be done and the powers behind the show cleaned house. New producers, “new” judges and some new twists were coming. Only two episodes in on this new season, and you can feel the change. I wasn’t a fan of Lopez when she judged the show alongside Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler, but it now seems that maybe the two dudes were the problem. Last season, Urban was overshadowed by the two dueling divas and we couldn’t see much of what he could bring to the table.
Then … along came Harry. I’ve been watching American Idol for at least 10 years, and Harry Connick Jr. is possibly the best judge the show (or any other singing competition) has had. He’s funny, not afraid to tell a contestant that they can’t sing and has no qualms on schooling a fellow judge. Yes, he schooled J-Lo on the pentatonic scale. She was dumbstruck … it was glorious. Some even call him Harsh Harry because he’s not afraid to tell a contestant things like “growing up in a time when they have pitch-correcting software, you could really use it.” For me, all that Harry brings is a welcome improvement to the grunts and howls the “dawg” Randy Jackson made for 12 seasons.
If you stopped watching Idol because the formula felt old, couldn’t deal with Mariah and Nicki’s bickering or were tired of the same thing season after season, I’d recommend giving this one a chance. Not only is there eye candy for everyone with Keith, Jennifer and Harry at the table, but the chemistry between them makes the show a pleasure to watch. It feels like a brand-new show.