Friday, January 17, 2014

American Idol S13: I'm just wild about Harry (Connick, Jr.)

Congratulations, American Idol (and Fox). I'm back. Maybe.

Like so many other early American Idol fans, and Simon Cowell, I had become bored and frustrated with the show and had stopped regularly watching (and living blogging) it years ago. Indeed, last season was so painful (I'm talking to you, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey), I couldn't even watch five minutes (though I wish Candice Glover well).

And then along comes Harry, and he wants to set them free, and let them see reality.*

FINALLY, a judge who is judgmental -- and honest. A judge who actually has the guts to tell singers "you're not the greatest singer" or that it's not just about the voice but about the whole package or that he loves their voice but they're not right for Idol. Wow. Harry, you got my vote.

Already, in just four hours worth of audition shows, Harry Connick, Jr., has earned the monickers Harsh Harry and Hatchet Harry. To which I would like to add Honest Harry and Hilarious Harry.

Maybe the producers should change the name of the show from American Idol to The Harry Connick, Jr. Hour. (Though if it did, it might lose the treasured 14-34 crowd, which it may have initially lost anyway as ratings for the premiere were the worst ever, down by around 20 percent from Season 12's premiere.)

I loved Simon Cowell, for his brutal honesty (and, okay, his British accent), but he wasn't a musician or a singer. Harry Connick, Jr., is -- as well as an actor. And he knows what it takes to make it in show biz -- and understands that being able to sing or play the piano or the guitar, even if you rock, is not enough.

To be an American Idol, you need charisma. And he's not afraid to tell contestants that they just don't have it. Connick is also not afraid to zing it to Jennifer Lopez. (Jen, I am impressed by the rocks that you got.) Or to Randy Jackson. (Jazzy and pitchy are not real words. We all know what they mean. But they're not real words. She was sharp.**) Hip hip hooray for Harry! Let's hope the honesty, hilarity, and chemistry (between the three judges) continues.

But the addition of Harry Connick, Jr., to the judges panel is not the only change to American Idol. While the contestants who received those yellow or golden tickets think they are off to Hollywood, they may not be -- thanks to the new Hollywood or Home round. A kind of pre-Hollywood Hollywood first audition, the contestants will have to sing for their airfare one more time before being admitted into the Emerald City. (Excuse the mixing of metaphors.) And there will be a couple more twists before American Idol goes live on February 26, which you can read about here.

If all goes well (i.e., the judges and contestants don't totally piss me off), I'll be back live blogging end of February (or beginning of March).

Until then, J-TWO-O out.

*Bonus points if you get the reference.
**Not an exact quote.


Anna said...

So glad you're back! I love Harry too -- "pitchy -- it's called you're not singing in tune!" Bringing some actual intelligence onto this show?!
So far none of the contestants is wowing me, though, and that's the main point.

And what's with Keith's weird pink lipstick (seen in one offstage scene) and eyeliner?

J. said...

It's not a totally done deal yet, Anna. But thank you.

I thought there were some real standouts in the various auditions, but I'm not placing any bets yet. Am going to wait until we have the top 15 gals and guys to start picking favorites -- and the winner.

And yeah, what is the deal with Keith's makeup? Is he entering his David Bowie glam rock phase? (Though I must say, he and Harry look mighty fine for 46. Ditto J. Lo at 44.)