Admittedly, night one of Idol 10.0 wasn’t its most thrilling installment of all-time ever, but the show’s increased emphasis on truly talented singers — and its decision not to belabor audition packages from the talentless, the deluded, and the attention-craving — made for a zippy, feel-good 120 minutes.I was shocked when three out of the first four contestants were decent-to-good singers, and only one of them was a complete ass. Generally, the cattle call auditions at the beginning of each Idol season are centered around having a cheap laugh at the expense of completely delusional, attention-seeking nuts from Seattle to St. Petersburg. It's indicative of the growing trend in our culture where so much of entertainment seems to exist to degrade hapless, hopeless Regular Joes to make the average couch potatoes feel better about themselves.
But tonight, the show (and network) that helped weave overnight fame and trashy reality insta-stars into the pop culture fabric of America delivered a kinder, gentler Idol that actually seemed to deliver on its purported purpose: to catapult an undiscovered, truly talented young person to fame and fortune. No one that I saw screamed "Kelly Clarkson" just yet (hell, I'm not even sure if anyone screamed "Taylor Hicks"), but I did enjoy the tone of the show more than I have since... oh, well, let's face it - I've never really enjoyed the tone of the show.
So, perhaps it's lipstick on a pig, or the start of something legit. Either way, a night of solid television and a step in the right direction.