'American Idol' recap: Savannah Smiles

american-idol-season-11.jpgSo are you guys familiar with this whole American Idol thing? I'm really not, although tonight's show did stir up some vague memories of a show I watched some of back in 2002. Don't worry, though; it seems very similar to The X Factor, whose first U.S. season I just finished weecapping last month. So I should be able to walk you through this.

The season premiere is all about what a venerable institution American Idol is, as we get to meet a slew of eligible 16-year-olds who were only six when Kelly Clarkson was first crowned. And what do you suppose they're all doing on American Idol now? I have a theory. Ryan Seacrest promises that this season will be told largely from the point of view of the contestants. Because that's the main complaint most people have about American Idol after all: not enough schmaltz. Settle down, AI, you're not the Olympics. Yet. Steven Tyler takes credit for taking the show "over the top" last season. Jennifer Lopez claims that she and the other judges are like family now, and Randy Jackson cements his role as the Ziering of what the new (to me, at least) title sequence is now all but calling, simply, Idol. What's wrong with the rest of the title? Why does the Fox network hate America?

We start with lots of "contestant cam" shots of people starting their day and heading into the city that's the host for the first day of auditions: Savannah, Georgia, a city I love and miss dearly. As the judges arrive at the riverfront hotel that serves as the audition venue (the Hilton, if my ten-year-old memories serve), a reporter stops Steven to ask how Savannah's treating him. He tells her Savannah's treating him fine, "But I didn't know you knew her." Wocka wocka wocka! That'll teach her to live in a city with a stripper name.

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