Since its creation in in 2002, American Idol has been through 11 seasons and has produced winners such as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and (supposedly) 9 others. Now, at the start of season 12, there are already a few changes, some highlights, and plenty to talk about. So let's talk about them!
The first difference is in the panel of celebrity judges. One thing that Idol does very well, compared to other reality shows, is select judges who are currently relevant in the music industry. Because of this, however, the panel sees plenty of rotations season-to-season.
The only returning judge this year is Idol’s “resident dog” Randy Jackson. Randy is mainly famous for… well… being an American Idol judge. And with eleven seasons of experience behind him, Jackson gives some of the most honest and concise feedback from the table. He operates as an authority and it seems like this season will finally mark the year of the dog (which is fortunate for Randy because the lifespan of an average canine is right around 12 years).
Sitting next to him, under a colorful mountain of animal print, outrageous outfits, and makeup is NOT Steven Tyler, but, Nicki Minaj. For a celebrity who receives so much criticism, it’s nice to see Nicki get to judge other people for a change. And for a superstar rapper, she’s really pleasantly sweet and down to earth. Not as sweet, however, is Mariah Carey who proves to be almost a bigger diva than Ryan Seacrest. Her shining moment in the premier was when she favored a contestant even before she sang simply because her name was also Mariah.
And then there’s country singer Keith Urban who is… there.
As far as contestants are concerned, the first few Idol episodes always blend the promisingly talented with the unbelievably awful. Falling into that second category this year are William Hung wannabe James Bae and Michael Jackson impersonator Benjamin Gaisey. Learning from their examples, some advice to Idol hopefuls would be: If you are in costume, GO HOME!
The unexpected exception to this rule was awkward fire performer, Kez Ban. After holding her outfit together with caution tape and introducing herself as being from “planet earth,” the judges all but dismissed Kez. But when they heard her sing an original song with guitar, the panel unanimously passed this unique performer on to Hollywood.
Also receiving a golden ticket was Israeli-born Shira Gavrielov, which seemed a bit unfair seeing how she already has a number-one hit in her home country.
Other names to look out for the season include Mackenzie Wasner, Kiara Lanier, Gabe Brown, Stephanie Schimel, Lazaro Arbos, and The Turbinator.
That’s right! In perhaps the most controversial segment of the two-day season premier, American Idol judges continuously referred to one Indian contestant as “The Turbinator.” Although the talented singer, Gurpreet Singh Sarin, was a good sport about the nickname, it could definitely be construed as offensive towards fundamentalist cyborgs watching at home. Gimmicks aside, however, The Turbinator’s voice got him passed through to the next round meaning only one thing—He’ll be back!
What are your thoughts on Idol this Season?