American Idol season premiere recap: It's a Whole New Show

Simon who? Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez join Randy Jackson for an upbeat, friendlier season 10 premiere
Ep. 01 | Aired Jan 19, 2011

EVEN STEVENS The fresh and friendly Steven Tyler made us forget about the all-powerful Mr. Cowell

Something's different in season 10. There's a new man and a new lady. He's wailing and she's crying, but they both have the same hair. Oh, there's private school student Randy Jackson and the class pet, "Seacrusty." What's that? A thick veil of condescension and chest hair has been lifted, allowing everyone in the previously shrouded atmosphere to have an opinion and act like he or she actually wants to be there? Case in point...the more-TRON-esque-than-ever opening credits with (gasp)...new fonts?!

Yep, it's a whole new show, brought to you by "dream makers" J.Lo, S. Ty, and the Dawg. "Wow, it's a different table," said the thin canine judge. "But you know what? It's hot. Let's go, baby." My thoughts exactly.

First and foremost: Steven Tyler is a marvel. I worried about him for only a split second, right after he asked, "Do you know what American Idol is?" It turns out Steven Tyler sure does know what American Idol is, and he's about to -- in the immortal words of P. Ab -- make it his own. He is a wise old loon. Jennifer Lopez is fine too. Okay, she was kind of a mess and clearly took her time getting comfortable with the dark side of her new job. But I'm confident J. Lo can be swift and effective for the live shows. She seemed a bit shell-shocked at how desperately bad some of the contestants were. They're fun to mock once they're on camera, but she's the one who actually has to facilitate the progression from "momentary sad clown" to "nobody as usual." That seems really, really depressing. J. Lo is not mean! I have to admit, I'm pretty relieved. She'll toughen up, no problem.

I didn't think about Simon once. It felt great. (And I used to love Simon, especially back when he cared.)

NEXT: You're all going to Hollywood!

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