GRAPHIC BY YING YANG
By SARAH CHUN
Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jordin Sparks. Besides exceptional talent, these three iconic artists have one thing in common: they were all champions of American Idol. Good news, because the show is back better than ever, in search of the next musical sensation.
On March 11, American Idol kicked off their sixteenth season after a year-long absence. Due to a decline in viewership, FOX previously decided to discontinue the show. However, this year, the show made a comeback on American Broadcasting Company (ABC) because of American Idol’s role as a staple in pop culture. The show also returns with a new judge panel, consisting of Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
American Idol’s first few episodes forecast an interesting and entertaining season based on the variety of talents and the new judge panel.
The show has always been a place for undiscovered singers to be heard and for gifted voices to gain fame. Based on these first few episodes, this season will not disappoint, as viewers have already noticed exceptional talents.
For example, one impressive audition was that of the Sposato brothers. The pair of twins, accompanied by their guitar-playing father, performed a duet, making the judges and audience instantly fall in love with the trio. In perhaps the highlight of the premiere episode, fifteen-year-old Alyssa Raghu stunned the judges with an exceptional showcase of her vocal range.
These acts are just two of many that showed great potential for the American Idol journey to come. Individuals such as Dennis Lorenzo and Thaddeus Johnson not only possess great talent, but have inspiring backgrounds, warming the hearts of people nationwide. These acts make the audience become curious as to how the singers’ American Idol journey will progress, retaining many viewers for the rest of the season.
Amidst these talents, there were also cringe-worthy auditions that, nonetheless, still contributed to an interesting introduction to the season.
One of these was Michelle Sussett’s performance. At first, her vocals were decent, but she later transitioned into an over-the-top dance performance, and even encouraged the judges to participate. Although the angle Sussett took in her performance seemed unfit for American Idol, it boosted the show’s atmosphere and the judges still chose to put her through to the next round.
While there are many good factors, there are a few shortcomings within these first episodes, including questionable actions from the judges.
For example, in Benjamin Glaze’s audition, during his introduction, he mentions that he has never had his first kiss, so Perry takes it upon herself to offer him a kiss. At first, everyone was expecting a kiss on the cheek, but Perry surprises him with a peck on the lips. While this may be considered an innocent joke, this was a complete violation of Glaze’s privacy, an inappropriate action from Perry.
In addition, it seems that the judges are either too critical or not knowledgeable about being a judge on an audition show. Cutting off singers because they are not up to par is acceptable, as it is a competitive show, but explicitly displaying negative emotion towards the acts is inappropriate. During certain acts, the judges would even make facial expressions indicating their disapproval. It is one thing to provide constructive criticism to help the singer improve, but completely shutting them down and dismissing them with no advice seems brutal to these candidates.
Despite these shortcomings, because these judges are new to this show, they bring a new atmosphere and face to American Idol. Perry’s outgoing nature, Bryan’s “country boy” personality and Richie’s father-like aura combine to create a perfect balance of energy and order.
Unlike judges in the past, these three seem more outgoing and willing to put themselves into the show more, rather than establishing a professional or seemingly forced happy atmosphere. The trio’s camaraderie and positive bonding moments establish a family-like environment for the show.
All in all, these first few episodes of American Idol’s triumphant return to television consist of everything a show like this needs for success: talent, comic relief and an interesting judge panel. These factors will hopefully come together and make for an exciting season.