American Idol: New judges, new drama, fresh talent
MANILA, Philippines - American Idol’s Season 11 had Filipinos all over the world in tenterhooks to see if a Filipina would finally bag the top prize.
With Filipino-Mexican Jessica Sanchez getting so close to the dream last season, there is no doubt Filipinos will tune in for AI Season 12 which premieres on Wednesday, January 16 (Thursday, January 17, 6pm in Manila).
This season, viewers can look forward to 3 new judges, all music industry idols in their own right: singing legend and Grammy winner Mariah Carey, rapper and pop culture icon Nicki Minaj, and country singer Keith Urban.
Randy Jackson, who has been a judge since the first season, rounds up the panel of 4.
In Season 11, Latina singer and actress Jennifer Lopez contributed sound insights, firm but gentle criticism, and her glamorous wardrobe to the panel of judges. Rock god Steve Tyler lent his crazy antics and lovable eccentricity to the show.
Viewers can expect Season 12’s big personalities to shake things up — if they haven't already.
Last January 9, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest (who also returns in Season 12), moderated a Q & A session with all 4 judges.
‘The biggest show’
When asked why she decided to join the show, Mariah Carey answered, “It’s American Idol, this is the biggest show. It changed trends in music, it [has] created massive superstars and people who are going to have timeless careers.”
For Nicki Minaj, her decision was a personal statement.
“I knew it was going to reach the masses and, like I keep saying, it was something that wasn’t expected of me. I always like to do things that people wouldn’t believe I would do.”
Keith Urban’s decision had more to do with the show’s power to change lives.
He enthused, “I’ve watched Idol for a lot of years and I love singers, I love musicians, I love creative people, and I love what this show can do for people [who] otherwise are trying to find a way in.”
Randy Jackson’s main challenge was how to handle the new set of judges as a veteran judge who has been there since the first season.
He shared, “These guys are all amazing professionals. You have to be real as a judge. You have to call it as you see it. We all may think the same thing but mostly we’re all different.
"We even had a lot of tie breakers in the auditions this year because two of us would say yes and two of us would say no."
A first look at potential ‘Idols’
With the elimination rounds behind them, the judges shared memorable experiences and memorable contestants.
Keith recalled, “There was a girl in Hollywood week. She’s 15 and she sang an original song, played piano and sang and I said to her, If you release that song tomorrow, people will buy it by the boatload.”
For every original song, there were dozens of covers; but some still proved to be memorable for the judges.
Mariah remembered one: “There was one time in particular when a girl sang one of my songs. I thought that she was really good and she was beautiful and I was like, This girl has a chance.”
But for Nicki, there was one way a contestant got her attention.
“Flash me. That would make me remember a person. One boy in particular took off his shirt and was trying to be all sexy.”
The search is on
For the first-time judges, the challenge was rejecting contestants.
Some contestants, however, made it a bit easier.
Keith said, “I think if you walk onto American Idol and you’re wearing some wacky costume and you look just legitimately crazy then I think it’s easy to say no. I find it harder once we start making connections with people.”
Mariah warmed up to certain contestants, too.
“This is really about the contestants and, the truth is, you really do become attached to certain contestants who have a massive amount of talent. At that point, for me, it was really a hard decision," she shared. "It went way beyond who’s going to be the biggest star. It was, I’m really, truly attached to this contestant and I don’t know how I’m going to let them go.”
American Idol is said to distinguish two kinds of performers: the vocalist and the entertainer. What kind of performer are the new judges looking for?
Nicki Minaj replied, “I think in the time that we’re living in now, we need an entertainer because... it’s more about who you are now, with social media people want (sic) to get a chance to really know who you are.
"It’s not about a record company giving you a song. It’s about, Is this song really you? Am I inspired by you? Can I relate to you? Is what you say really who you are when you go home?”
Nicki speaks for viewers all over the world who don’t just watch American Idol to be entertained.
They watch it to be inspired. - Rappler.com
[American Idol will have a two-night premiere in the Philippines: January 17, 6pm via satellite (with primetime telecast at 8pm) and January 18, 6pm via satellite (with primetime telecast at 9pm) on ETC.]