Although it looks like British TV is ignoring American Idol this year, we can still see it almost as soon as we would have done, maybe even earlier through the wonders of YouTube.
Here is a full first show. And it is a good one, also getting decent reviews and viewing figures across The Pond from what I can make of comments so far.
The three judges, or mentors, really do go well together and it is a return for keith Urban, Harry Connick Jnr and Jennifer Lopez. Despite their careers and star status, they seem totally unassuming and naturally good company, sitting in the same old scenery as all previous thirteen Idol audition rooms, with hopeful contestants coming in and singing with little more than their guitar for accompaniment.
There is a warm and plesant feeling about American Idol which I am not sure I get with X Factor or The Voice.
First on is Riley Bria, a good example of how few Americans now seem to have anything like a normal name! He sings what keith terms 'an obscure Keith Urban album track' pretty well and has previously played with keith onstage when he was selected in some earlier talent competition. He's a fresh-faced, likeable chap and through to the Hollywood round.
Next you'll see Priscilla Walker who announces that she's one of ten children. She talks about siblings a lot which isn't a word we use much here. Maybe we don't have many examples of ten of them. Listening to her talk you'd think she was about 9 years old but she's actually 19. She says Diddy isn't of Daddy but the pronounces Daddy perfectly well in the song she sings which I have forgotten the name of. She's a cool Country girl and, once you get past the voice, has a great personality an singing presence. She gets through but jennifer says 'No.' Not sure why.
Cameron Bedell is next. Plenty of soul but he has an awkward stance when he's singing and the most dreadful shade of dark lilac hoodie. Still, he's entertaining and will be faely through to the next round.
Amber Walker has quotes galore. She doesn't know she has but just comes out with them! Here are just a few I managed to scribble down:
I come from the hard part of Mississippi
Every Sunday there's a funeral
If I didn't do music then I'd probably be killed now
She is great. She's the one with pink hair in the introduction video which might well mean she gets a good way through. She sings an Elvis number! Now that was unexpected. Heartbreak Hotel. It sort of worked but Harry was not at all sure and said 'No.' the other two see her through, though.
Harry, can I have an autograph or something?
really quite funny and sweet and you just want her to do well. Maybe not win but do well enough to get away from all that bad stuff. Her mother looks pretty frightening though.
Kyle Blaine Corman is an odd-looking dude with very long curly ginger hair and unhealthily white face. 'Give A Little Bit' by the Goo Goo Dolls is a great track and I thought he rocked it well. He has a cool voice, in tune and great guitar work too. But I suppose that very 70s look won't get him the votes he'll need later. So he gets a 'No.' from all of them. Surprising.
Kory Wheeler works in a coffee shop over the road. He sings 'I Can't make You love Me' pretty well. A bit average by my reckoning and I don't see him going anywhere. Nice chap but that's about it. He seems the sort that should be selling insurance or helping you in a library, not serving coffee across the road in a Nashville cafe. But he's through. They all like him a lot. Surprising. Again.
Michael Simeon is a farmer, he says. I am not so sure. He does a good job of a Sam Smith cover and is easily through but then he has the cheek to ask for a dance with Jennifer. This must have been rehearsed. Harry and Keith jump up and do the guitar and piano thing while the contestant gets that dance, starting off in waltz mode but jennifer goes for the end of the night disco thing. He must have thought it was one lucky day, that's all I can say!
'That's the most fun I've had in months!' announces Jennifer. Gosh. How can someone so attractive not have that much fun every day?
Emily Brook closes the first programme. Now she is good. She is just 15 but seems to have gigged her way around various places to gather enough money to cover the trip to Nashville. That's a nice example of commitment after memories of some contestants in previous years where they're driven up in big black 4x4s by mothers dripping with jewellery.
Emily sings Carrie's 'Blown Away'. Now that's not an easy song but, boy, does she do it justice. Very impresive. So far, she's my favourite.
Her parents come up on screen as Webster. I expect I'll figure all that out eventually. she'll be around for a long time.