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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol 10, Jan. 19 – It's Hot; Let's Go, Baby.


There are so many question marks this season on American Idol 10. What will it be like without Simon Cowell? How will Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez do? How did it end up that Randy Jackson is the only judge that has been there since the beginning? How exactly is the new format going to work? It’s just so exciting, we just need to get started!

Idol recaps this for us, showing us the moment when they made the stunning announcement of who the new judging panel would include. It seems like they’re just trying to pump us all up a little more. It’s an all-new beginning, too. It’s pretty fantastic, I have to say.

J-Lo says she decided to do this because she wanted to change someone’s life. She wants them to be great and a superstar. She thinks she’ll be compassionate, and says she’s not in the business of crushing spirits. Let’s see if that holds up. Steven says the Idol has to be good to win the hearts of forty-million people. He took the gig because he loves music and is thirsty and hungry to find the next Janis Joplin for this era. Randy thinks his new co-judges will bring a lot of fun and excitement. “It’s hot; let’s go, Baby.”

And what’s this? A new record company and producer to be connected to. It’s Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope Records, who will be mentoring. He’s recorded with Springsteen, Tom Petty, Dire Straits, and U-2, and has shaped the careers of Black Eyed Peas, No Doubt, Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Lady Gaga. He thinks if they can help these artists develop, they can really create some great talent. That’s an interesting thing to add to the team. So far, it couldn’t be more exciting.

The auditions start off in New Jersey, and it’s none other than alum Constantine Maroulis announcing Ryan Seacrest. It’s six seasons later, and I still love that guy. Randy says the one thing that still remains is that it’s all about talent. J-Lo thinks it’ll be surreal. We’re off.

Our first auditioner, Rachel Zevita, 22, a singer from NYC, has her breath nearly taken away sitting across from Randy, J-Lo, and Steven. I have to say I don’t blame her. She thinks people might remember her from season six when she auditioned, singing opera. She got to Hollywood, and was cut on the first day. While she believed it was destiny then, she’s determined to make it this time. J-Lo remembers her from before, saying she and Mark were sitting there wondering why she didn’t go through. Rachel wonders why J-Lo wasn’t there before. Rachel remembers that Randy had her back.

Rachel sings Hallelujah, and is even more impressive than before. Steven loves the high note. J-Lo is honest, and says it wasn’t the best audition she could do, but she knows Rachel can sing, and can sing a lot of different things. Randy clears his throat as Rachel says she auditioned before, but not in front of people she admired since she was 4, so she’s nervous. Steven thinks when she came out she was on fire, and she needs to sing something that delivers that same way. He thinks they should let her in the door and water her, as she’ll grow. J-Lo is going to put her through on what she remembers, but says they need to see it or she’ll leave in Hollywood like last time. She’s through with three yeses.

Caleb Hawley, 25, a musician from NYC, is up, and Steven tells him he knows why Caleb is here, but the judges are there, because they’re not all “here,” meaning they’re missing some brain cells, which is altogether possible. Caleb sings Hallelujah I Love Her So, and he needs a little polish, but he has something really likable about him. He has a great soul thing about him.

Steven is absolutely jamming with Caleb and likes the voice and the character, and believes he brings something new. J-Lo likes the tone in his voice and thinks he’s cute, and Randy thinks he’s a good singer and likes the high stuff. Caleb gets three yeses and is through. He has a whole group of women celebrating with him.

To go with the new age requirements this year, being dropped down a year to allow 15-year-olds in, it’s Kenzie Palmer, of West Middlesex, PA, 15. She goes to performing arts school. Singing We’re Young and Beautiful, she’s the best so far today. Steven seems mesmerized, then says she sang beautiful, but he wasn’t feeling that pizazz. J-Lo disagrees. Randy sees what Steven is saying, and thinks she could have moved more. Based on the voice and that she’s 15, Randy is saying yes, so Steven does as well. J-Lo tells the guys after she leaves that they’re crazy.

So far, so good. Achille Lovle, 25, a retail sales associate from the Bronx, is up. She sings Dress You Up, and appears to be tone deaf. Randy laughs, and J-Lo looks puzzled. Steven stops her and says she’s “got so much of this and the drama and all that, but you’ve got no notes.” He wants her to pull the wild horses in. Achille says she’s been going to a vocal coach who is teaching her to lose her accent and enunciate.

J-Lo has her first test of compassion. She tells Achille it’s not about the accent, but is more about the singing. Randy tells her it’s not her thing. Steven pulls it out and says no, and J-Lo agrees, then says after it was awful to have to do that and asks why she signed up for this. Ryan schools her on how to be creative when she says no. Steven points out all these people have dreams, and J-Lo agrees, saying these people are so into it as well, and that’s what makes it tough.


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