American Idol season premiere recap: J. Lo, Take the Wheel?

The returning judge steamrolls new judge Harry Connick Jr. in the season 13 premiere
Ep. 01 | Aired Jan 15, 2014

TA DA! The Bronx Steamroller grants Hollywood access.


Back to reality: J. Lo annoys the hell out of me during hairdresser Madelyn Patterson, 22's critique as she just gives away the golden ticket following an "Up to the Mountain" cover full of runs. Ugh! You are no Head Judge Len Goodman, lady. At least let everyone speak before you make an executive decision.

Harry: "Some people on this panel are very easily impressed by licks and runs, and, well…" [J. Lo gives away ticket] … "Don't listen to me! I was gonna give you some advice." Agh!

Okay, perhaps this girl will surprise us all, but she wasn't that impressive just now and frankly, if you've waited hours, days, years to stand in front of these people and sing…. I just think it says a lot about a contestant's caliber if she doesn't hear that and immediately lunge at the chance for more feedback. It's just sad. She's made it to Hollywood now, so this part is over and she can count it as a "win." That's not healthy! And we're back to Existential Crisis Jr., who gives up and softly mutters, "You will hear [the advice] in Hollywood. Congratulations." He's been licked.

But the virtual sucker punch wasn't enough! "I will punch you in the stomach," J. Lo playfully promises.

But why get your kicks punching a handsome grown man in the stomach when you can eat an adorable baby's leg? On to the next: Jordan Grizzard, 27, a youth pastor from Dallas, earns a standing ovation from Keith and Jennifer, plus "the first time Harry's smiled in an audition" following his cover of "Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone." You wanna know why he smiled? J. Lo doesn't, but you never know, the contestant just might. "You went right down the minor scale. People don't do that a lot." This was actually my favorite part of Jordan's audition, too. But would everyone just shut up about music? The Bronx Steamroller's dinner has arrived and her name is Jocelyn, four months old.

Power Chord #3: Viviana Villalon, 19 (Maroon 5 on the ukelele), Savannah Young, 17 (acoustic guitar on "Toxic"), and Ben Boone, 22, who gave J. Lo her official first goosies of the season with his cover of "Too Close." No other comments for this lonely chord. Savannah is a white-blonde teenage lifeguard. I doubt that's the last we'll see of her.

Arkansas deli grocer Malcolm Allen, 21, is music. His tattoo says "I am music," and that's permanent ink, so shut up. His rendition of "Superstition" sounds "so natural I could throw a pen at you," says J. Lo, currently out of pens. This guy seems a bit overconfident for me, but he's probably just nervous. The tone of his voice is beautiful and different, and that should really be all that matters during these auditions.

J. Lo shatters the illusion that she always tells the truth with this quick quip: "Finally, when they put that camera in my face, I can say 'It was greeeeeeeat. Yeah, it was awesome."

After a pretty effing funny "WHO DAT?" segment about how no one knows who Tony Connick Jr. is ("He's white, but he sounds black," a mother helpfully informs her son), Sugar Land, Texas-via-Pakistan contestant Munfarid Zaidi, 19, takes the stage. He reads Harry's Wikipedia page every night before going to sleep (?!), and appropriately sings Adele's "Crazy For You." His voice is okay; I'm more struck by his cool sense of rhythm. To be honest I'm still reeling about the Wikipedia every night thing.

Anyway, Harry gets up and just cradles this kid and won't let go. It's so delightfully bizarre that I have no choice but to love it. I mean, WHAT? "Why was he cradling you?" wonders a jealous Seacrest. Munfarid Zaidi stared off thoughtfully for a second.

"Because I love him."

Munfarid Zaidi, you are certainly not alone. What about you, readers? Are you in for season 13?


'American Idol' premiere: Harry Connick Jr. is delicious

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