And so it begins again. The first episode of Idol ’09 was a bit less exploitive than the freak show weeks usually are. Yes, there were still a parade of untalented…or, occasionally, marginally talented…folks who seem to only want a few moments on television (no matter how foolish they look.)…but the judges seemed less snarky than they have been in previous seasons.
The new judge…songwriter Kara DioGuardi…seemed to fit right in…especially during the staged dustup with the marginally talented, enormously self-satisfied woman who auditioned in a bikini (is she really what passes for “sexy” these days? Man, I’m way out of touch… :-)
Randy Jackson had less aging hipster banter (though I fully expect that it will return in full force as the season progresses), Simon Cowell only seemed to be dishing out half-hearted jibes (ibid.), and Paula Abdul was, for the most part, lucid and sane (kudos to her…though I’m not expecting that to last either.)
Idol has made some cosmetic changes…the fourth judge, lopping off one of the freak show weeks, expanding the Hollywood portion (which will actually be in Hollywood…rather than Pasadena…this year), bringing back the wild card round (without which Clay Aiken wouldn’t have been a contender back in the second season)…but it promises to still be the Idol that we’ve, for better or for worse, come to know.
Me, I’m probably going to skip most of the rest of the freak show/audition rounds (tonight and for the next two Wednesdays PBS is showing an intriguing 6-hour documentary on comedy...Make 'em Laugh: The Funny Business of America... that sounds MUCH more interesting than watching deluded wannabe stars butchering Stevie Wonder and Mariah Carey songs) and check back in when they get to Hollywood.