American Idol returns, definitely not worse than it was when it left – I think


Stop eating pizza for, oh, I don’t know – let’s say 18 months

After a year and a half without delicious cheesy, saucy goodness, what will the next piece taste like? Probably like it was baptized by Italian Pizza Jesus himself. It could be from a NY pizzaria, a gas station slice or one of those English Muffins/Ragu/bag of shredded mozzarella my 6-year old makes and it’s going to be the best-tasting thing in the world because after 18 months, you forgot how good it was.

And that was tonight’s American Idol.

American Idol has been around so long it’s finally eligible to compete as a contestant. If you’re a fan, you kind of knew what to expect Sunday. If you were a fan, then stopped because you started not liking the show, you’re disappointed because it seems the same as when you left. If you’re a media/blogger type, you either A) accepted the episode for what it was; or B) crapped all over it because you’re a miserable prick.

For anyone who uses the internet for reasons other than to bitch and complain incessently hoping to bring meaning to your life, the return of Idol was solid. Could it have been better? Give me a couple more singers, maybe a sign the judges won’t be the types that ultimately ruined the show’s run on Fox, and now we’re cooking.

But Sunday could have also gone a lot worse.

The days of Simon, Randy and Paula are long gone but the Lionel, Katy and Luke trio helped at least smudge the mistake that was J-Lo and Keith Urban, two judges who never saw a contestant they didn’t like. Do I love them? Until I can look and say for certain Katy Perry isn’t Miley Cyrus or Luke Bryan isn’t Luke Owen, no. But let’s give them some time before we crush them to Bolivian.

I was happy that over the two hours they kept the mentally ill/homeless/frat pledge appearances to an absolute minimum. We got a couple scragglers in there, namely the kid who allegedly won a Russian talent contest despite his obviously lack of talent, but it was nice to see people who could actually sing.

(NOTE: Not going to judge Nico Bones too much. He clearly has some non-Top 40 talent but had little interest in being there; I wonder if the producers threw him some cash to be the rude and indifferent or if he’s really just an asshole)

Saw some talent and I don’t take notes, so let’s go over some of the people we did see.


1) Catie Turner

Not a huge fan of people whose names are spelled wrong or who sound exactly like the Band Camp Girl from American Pie (CLASSIC FLICK), but she was solid. Not impressed by the original song because I’m old and new music scares me (duh), but she has a decent enough voice and playing ability that means she can definitely do a cover of a song I will know or maybe can get talked into an acoustic version of “Buy You a Drink” that would blow everyone’s mind. Not putting her in the Top 16 quite yet because there’s going to be a million quirky GWG, but you gotta give her bonus points after Luke Bryan told her not to check her social media when the show aired and she did anyway, immediately murdering all of her haters in one swift blow.

2) Ron Bultongez (first and last time I spell that right)

I liked Ron, but that whole you didn’t make it but OHMYGODLIONELISCHANGINGHISMIND moment felt as real as Keeping Up With the Kardashians. You put a cool-looking black dude on stage with a guitar and give him a boatload of talent, you’d better vote his ass in and I find it VERY problematic Katy Perry didn’t, even if she was right about him doing an “imitation” and if anyone knows anything about imitating people, it’s Katy motherfucking Perry.

3) Maddie Poppe

She’s gonna get forgotten real fast until it’s deep in Hollywood Week and you’ve seen her perform 10 seconds here, 10 seconds there and you’re like “ooooohhhh, she good.” Basically eliminated Catie Turner from the Top 24 like 25 minutes into the first episode of the year.

4) Harper Grace

First, STRONG name. That girl better go to college in the south because if she ends up in the northeast there are gonna be a lot of Jersey girls who are gonna wanna kick her ass on name along. She’s country, so she sounds like every single other country girl who’s on the show, but she’s 16 so I can’t really bury the kid. She checks all the boxes for the show and I’m super excited to see more of her mom in Hollywood. Also happy she was not bullshitting about the video of her popping up if you google “Worst National Anthem performances,” although it says a lot about us if we’re bashing a fucking 11-year old online.

5) Layla Spring

I have like 5-10 home run jokes involving the Springs that I’d love dearly to make but can’t because she’s 16 and the story with her sister who’s about the same age as my kids ruined my fun. Ah well. Really wish she would have acted a little more like the girls from Floribama Shore than distinguished Southern Belles. Layla sounded fine to me, another country girl, I’m just gonna just put them all in a corner and hope Luke Bryan can tell me who’s best.

PS Really excited for Dyxie to randomly find that note in 2035 and bring it to American Idol, Season 33 sceaming “THIS IS A BINDING CONTRACT.”

PPS If you don’t cry at the end when Dyxie is telling Layla how much she loves her you’re an asshole, plain and simple.

6) Noah Davis

Listen, with Noah’s lispy speaking voice and Beyonce obsession – not to mention that “wig” thing I’m too old to understand, I formed an opinion about the man and how he was going to sound before he opened his mouth. Then he picked a Rhianna song? Bad combo.

And then he sung. First punch me in the face moment of the year. Any of these songs you gotta hit the first note and go and Noah fucking went. It’s totally hard to judge on one song, but I’m sold on Noah. Fucking sold. He makes Top 24 they’re gonna throw him in a dark suit with a nice button-down and a pocket square and he’s gonna have the audience in the palm of his hands saying YAS, or whatever the young folk say.

7) Alyssa Rahgu

Love when teens sing like grown-ass people. That was a big voice coming out of a kid who can’t drive yet and I love her not using the guitar. Think her voice would have gotten lost if she didn’t just get solo. She can’t win American Idol this year, but she’s talented AF. Also a WISE move shortening her last name to a spaghetti sauce so the white folk in middle America don’t get too scared. Now I didn’t love Katy Perry saying she was Top 10, hated Katy Perry talking about her leg hair.

8) Noah D’Onofrio

Didn’t get why they made a big deal about this nerd and his sock collection. Fifty pairs Noah? That’s amateur hour. I got 80. I can wear a pair of socks every day for almost three months so HOW YOU LIKE ME NOW, NERD.

The voice was a neat trick, but let’s not pretend it was McCreery-esque. It was cool as shit to hear the deep notes from a guy who you couldn’t tell if he’d hit puberty like 60 seconds earlier talking about his socks, but he was no Sal Valentinetti, the crooner who got screwed by Idol producers the last season on Fox who put on a G-D show on one of those other talent shows I don’t watch because I’m loyal as fuck.

Good news for Noah, he can sing and he can get girls to smooch, so Hollywood Week is gonna be the best time of his life.

9) Dennis Lorenzo

I was always under the impression young black males from West Philadelphia go to LA to live with their rich Uncle and Aunt and partake in plenty of hijinks while learning important life lessons along the way, but Dennis’ story was almost the opposite of that (hopefully a group of thugs didn’t force his move after an unfortunate game of basketball).

My goal right now is not fall in love with Dennis because producers routinely cripple my hopes and dreams that a contestant like him will succeed with fun covers and strong vocal performances. Usually when I like a kid this much this early, it’s a bad sign unless they’re so good it’s a no-brainer they’re going to win. I don’t know if he can win, but he can be damn good on the show.


1) Coby the Broadway singer

Not a terrific history with Coby’s in Colorado. Google it.

2) Benjamine Glaze

Glad he didn’t get through only because it really sets up the Jezebel think piece about how Katy Perry shouldn’t have forced a kiss on Ben to make him think it might help his chances to advance because that isn’t what #MeToo is about. Don’t know if it totally ruined him, but I do know it’s hard to ace an audition with an erection.

3) Nico Bones

Felt planted as fuck. With his punk style and drunken attitude, he was basically what would happen if me and Yahoo’s Lyndsey Parker had a musically inclined son. It was clear he didn’t care about trying out, but he could have made the season fun, or at least caused a shitstorm during Group Night.

4) Sardor the Russian Kid 

If you perform on another country’s talent show and win, you should be ineligible to compete on American Idol. Good thing Sardo stunk out loud. Thanks Obama.

That’s all from tonight. I’ll be back Tweeting away Monday night because I’ve got two kids who go to bed before eight and no social life to speak of on a school night. Follow me there, check me living the #DadLife on Instagram and there’s a Facebook page as well so you can pass that info on to any olds you know who don’t know what SnapGram or TwitterFace is.