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Steven Tyler Makes American Idol Premiere a Kick (video)

Steven Tyler Makes American Idol Premiere a Kick (video) 1Steven Tyler was loosey goosey, Jennifer Lopez was radiant and Randy Jackson was rock solid. American Idol’s premiere had perfect chemistry last night; the 11th season could be fun.

Tyler and Lopez seemed much more comfortable in their roles as judges. By now, they should have the drill down. And last night, they seemed to be more relaxed and spontaneous as a new crop of contestants paraded in front of them.

Tyler has the potential to be the spark plug this year, with his crazy antics and unpredictable comments. Dressed as usual–rock star gaudy in purple hat and nail polish–he was more like the Steven Tyler we all know.

In one of the show’s best moments, he literally caused jaws to drop when 15-year-old Shannon Magrane was ready to sing.

The daughter of ’80s St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Joe Magrane, she tried to leverage her celebrity connection by introducing the family. When daddy asked the judges how they liked his hometown, Savannah, Ga., Tyler blurted out: “Hot, humid and happening, just like your daughter.”

Say Wha!? Did the 60-something rocker just make a sexually suggestive remark about a 15-year-old? Daddy didn’t look too happy. But it was an Idol moment. Let’s hope there are more to keep the tired format popping.

After 10 seasons, American Idol was definitely starting to show its age. Bringing in Tyler and Lopez at first seemed like a mistake. They were both stiff and reserved and overly effusive, even for contestants who had no chance of making it. Hopefully they are over that.

Now that the show is facing competition from “The Voice,” NBC’s talent reality show. It debuted last April. Simon Cowell is also hovering in the background with Paula Abdul on Fox’s “X Factor.”

Cowell’s show stumbled in its premiere season, with controversy over judges and host Steve Jones’ weak performance. Hosting a show is a lot harder than it looks. For once, Fox made a smart move by holding on to Ryan Seacrest.

That left AI in the driver’s seat. But no resting on laurels. The show has got to pick it up this year. And that doesn’t mean more clownish performances by god-awful singers.

The show finally seemed to get the message; the bad singers got less airtime on the premiere than in previous seasons. Hopefully the show will be less about humiliation and more about finding true talent.

The show also needs to shell out more money to buy the rights to better, more contemporary songs. Contestants on previous seasons were forced to sing too many old chestnuts, performed mainly because they were easily–and cheaply– obtainable.

In the end, though, it comes down to the talent. With two other shows now competing for contestants, “American Idol” has got to attract quality singers. Tyler and Lopez help on that score. They’re talent magnets. Who wouldn’t want the chance to sing for such storied industry veterans?

The show returns tonight (Jan. 19) for the second half of its premiere. It couldn’t have gotten off to a better start.

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