It’s Back! It’s Back! American Idol is Back!!!

For nine seasons, The Ashley has watched American Idol fanatically. (She didn’t watch the first season in 2001, but honestly, who did? People in 2001 were too busy frosting their tips and listening to their Sugar Ray CDs to pay attention to crappy TV.) Over the years, her liking for this show has grown to near obsessive levels. (No, seriously. Obsessive. Like I sneak in the finale every year. No joke. I heart living in LA!)

Anyway, when the finale is over and another season of Idol ends, The Ashley goes into a state of mourning for a few days. The months of June-December are spent doing normal things, like working, hanging out with friends and being a generally productive person.

Yup, that’s pretty much me for the next four months on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

But when January comes around, and those horrible audition shows start, I’m all over that crap and it’s time to drop out of society. Sure, I’ll go out on the weekends, but Wednesday (and now Thursday) everybody knows not to call me! (Yeah. I’m pathetic. I know, get over it. I did a long time ago.)

Anyway, tonight was the premiere of Season 10. Of course, this is the first Simon Cowell-less episode, and also the Idol debut of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. The Ashley went in with a positive attitude but pretty much expected a train wreck when it came to the new judges….

The verdict?

The Ashley is pleasantly surprised! J-Lo is surprisingly lovely and compassionate. (She’s like the Paula without the creepy drugged-out rambling.) I’m still on the fence about Steven Tyler but I think he will win me over. (He says the “F” word a lot, which makes me laugh, because you know the producers are totally freaking out that he’s going to say it during live shows!) Even Randy was tolerable, as he managed to minimize the “dog” talk.

The auditions were also a big step up from last year. Way less sob stories and a lot more singing. (‘Member last year? Everyone either had a dying grandma, a weird childhood disease or lived in their car. Seriously. Everyone.) Of course, there were a few of those thrown in, but they seemed much less emphasized. I don’t know about you guys, but The Ashley sure appreciated less “heartfelt, touching moments.”

There were also way less “joke” auditions, which was great. (Although I’m sure they are to come…) Watching a guy audition in a chicken costume or dressed in drag may have been funny in, say, 2003, but by 2007, it had gotten old and by 2010 it was just plain nauseating. Kudos to the producers for toning it down a bit and making it actually watchable.

And I freaking loved that Japanese guy at the end, what the hell was his name? Koji Pop? Bring that guy back. Just give him the title right now. I’d go see him in concert. He sings Miley Cyrus songs that he hates (which kicks off a musical medley among the contestants.) He does Michael Jackson moves while being Japanese. And he sings horribly. I’d pay to go see him. But that’s not saying much I guess.

The best thing about Koji Pop is that he’s from New York City. The audition was in New Jersey. That means he had to make an active decision to board a train that day, bound for Jersey, because he felt his musical gift was good enough to share with the world. It wasn’t close. He had to work to bring that to you. Which makes it even more awesome. He woke up that morning and thought “I must go sing Miley Cyrus songs in Jersey today.”

Can can you not love this crap?!?!

Of course,  it’s too soon to really get rolling on this. The Ashley can’t really start enjoying herself until Hollywood Week when we start to get to know the contestants.

Tomorrow is another two hour episode. No joke, two hours is not enough for me. At 9:45 I start to get sad because it’s almost over. If this crap was on 3 hours a night, Monday through Friday, I’d watch it all. I love this crap!

Until tomorrow….Seacrest, OUT!

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