THE SKINNY: Welcome to the world of
8:00 — Let's go! Reminding myself to keep the enthusiasm high in the beginning; must fight my cynical thoughts for as long as possible (this thing is taking us nearly to Christmas). First off: The show's introduction is insanely epic, with many contestants in tears and judges sounding judgmental.
8:03 — We hear host
8:04 — A teenager says he will base-jump off the
8:07 — Random thought: how often will I cringe at the weird flrting between judges
8:08 — There's already an upgrade over "American Idol"! The auditions take place in front a huge audience, not just the four judges (which for now include
8:10 — First contestant is a 13-year-old girl named Rachel Crow. Her pre-interview is insanely cute, and then she delivers a surprisingly huge voice. It's raw enough that you can still tell she's young, but she has fantastic breath crontrol and sells the hell out of the song (Duffy's "Mercy"). I'm already rooting for her to win it all and to finally getting her six-person family out of its tiny apartment. The amount of joy I've experienced watching this one audition feels unhealthy. I need to start voting for this little girl right now.
8:21 — This is all innocent enough so far. A lot of "Four Yes" auditions. There's only been one Bieber-clone so I guess that's, uh, good?
8:24 — Siameze Floyd, 30, is our first "character." He's doing crazy splits in jeans, gyrating on the floor, giving some extremely weird Prince vibe. Simon called him "fascinating." Judges give him a reluctant yes. The world needs a .GIF of those splits.
8:53 — Uh oh, Adele's "Someone Like You" is playing while contestants talk about how badly they want to win. "I don't want to die with this music in me, Simon," says 42-year-old stay-at-home-mom Stacy Francis. She begins singing
9:08 — "There's no room for cookie-cutter pop stars here," says cookie-cutter pop star — and new judge! —
9:20 — Marcus Canty made a deal with his mom — give him two years after high school to become a pop star, and if he doesn't achieve it, he'll give up the dream. He quickly wins over the crowd with a spirited take on
9:33 — The Anser? Whatever. It's a boy-band of three guys, and their sound is like a hyperactive BBMak. We'll be seeing them again, unfortunately.
9:35 — Nicole's default judging attitude? Ditzy with a hint of aloof. She's reminding me of
9:43 — Nici Collins, a 23-year-old event planner, is from Maryland and her voice is heinous. It's like the reality singing competition equivalent to the Terps' opening-game uniforms. This is the start of the awful and awkward portion of the auditions, which "Idol" always gets too hung up on. This first episode hasn't relied on the ugliness like a faithful punchline and that's a relief.
9:51 — How do you end an epic opening show, full of so many emotional highs? How about a "trash-hauler" 70 days out of rehab for cocaine and