Tuned In

The Morning After: Meet the New Idol…

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…same as the old Idol? Slightly changed? American Idol stomped Tyrannosaurus-like back onto the TV schedule last night. A few thoughts:


* This was supposed to be the new, improved Idol, with new judge Kara DioGuardi and a promise that it would focus less on the freakshow of bad singers and attention junkies in the early audition rounds. It looked a lot like the old audition episodes to me—see the crying rocker guy, bikini girl, the dude with the world’s lowest voice—with maybe a little less of the overlong wallowing in the excruciatingly talentless. But wringing a few less episodes out of the audition parade and spending more time on the Hollywood round should be an improvement. 

* So far I’m liking songwriter DioGuardi, though. No drama, no discernably annoying verbal tics so far—and it’s interesting to have a judge who can actually sing examples. Has anyone seen her and Carla Gugino in the same room? 

* As for the talent: tattooed Emily Wynne-Hughes, who skipped out on her band to audition, seems to have promise. Likewise Deanna Brown, whose vaguely Amy Winehouse-ish voice doesn’t quite match her girl-next-door face. But my cynical money so far is on 17-year-old Cody Sheldon from Detroit (go Motown!), who looks like the fourth Jonas Brother and thus only has to have a voice slightly better than a toad’s to go far in this competition. His horror-movie fixation could be a bit out-creeping, but I’m guessing he can get past that. And did I mention his name is Cody? Somebody get that kid a Disney Channel show!