American Idol season premiere recap: Mean Girls

Nicki Minaj somehow manages to render Mariah Carey the beta diva. Plus, contestants! 
Ep. 01 | Aired Jan 16, 2013

CLAWS OUT! Did you look like this while watching?

Fox

As always, there were a couple sequences of two or three great singers clutching their slivers of Willy Wonka currency. We never saw their names or heard their voices. Bummer. In fact, 41 hopefuls made it through from the New York auditions. We saw eight. They are….

First up: 28-year-old Tenna Torres from Queens, who attended something called "Mariah Camp" when she was 13. I'm stunned if Mariah Camp actually took place near trees, as suggested in a photo. Good for Tenna for suggesting that the only way "it might dawn on her" about who Tenna was is if Mariah happened to remember the particular outfit she (Mariah) had been wearing in a photo of the two of them. Hilarious. Tenna's rendition of "You've Got a Friend" was slow and soulful, and she received a transmission from hell -- Keith Urban's chair in between Nicki and Mariah -- that Keith admired Tenna's "patience and pace." I liked how Mariah acted all wistful and dreamy-eyed at the beginning of the song, eventually revving up enough energy to activate a slight fist pump that showcased her giant butterfly ring. Go '90s!

Then we met a 21-year-old college student named Christina "Isabelle" -- and what is that all about? Is "Isabelle" to be her stage name? If so, can it please be in quotes to make it that much more absurd? Perfect. Christina had recently lost over 50 pounds, because everyone has to have a story. She looks great and she's still goin'. "Summertime" was a little rushed for my taste, but it's only the first round after all and she probably didn't want to get cut off. Very strong voice. -- or as Nicki said, "a combination of amazing skill with beautiful tone and beauty." All of those things! Keith Urban appreciated that "Isabelle"'s "humanity came through, unfiltered." He's quite poetic, this one. I'm a big fan of Keith so far. Randy wanted to make "Isabelle" came back confident, and I doubt that'll be a problem.

The best part of this segment was at the end, when despite the fact that "Isabelle" had just racked up 50 bonus points for knowing that Mariah's mom was an opera singer, the Regina George of the judging panel found it necessary to hiss after the proud Berklee College of Music student that she was not impressed. "I went to The School of F---ing Life, okay?" ACTUAL QUOTE.

Later on, in a desperate attempt to turn the spotlight away from Randy Jackson (a rarity) and back onto her, Nicki claimed she used to want to be a bus driver -- presumably, the one that ran over Regina George. So not fetch.

NEXT: Undies are not shorts!

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