I watched the first group of 12 young male singers on American Idol tonight, and just when you thought "How can there be one decent signer left out there?", leave it to executive producer Simon Fuller to put together the most amazing group of competitors yet.
These guys were great, and it was the first time in the history of the series that the panel's reactions seemed deliberately harsh (don't believe for one second that their reactions to the performances aren't planned in advance). The producers are clearly building what could well be a bravura season of dynamic singers, every one of them distinct and while clearly nervous at their first studio performance, each was simply terrific. Curiously this week's shows are pre-taped. But I think it's all about packaging now, and the later live shows, if there are any, might just be let-downs, but I'd guess not. By then each performer will have been groomed, and they'll be doing the theme shows.
The ever adorable Ryan Seacrest has abandoned his chop chop haircut in favor of a blah nothing do, and has barely anything to say. No comforting yet. Randy, Paula and Simon are still drinking their poisonous looking Coke (what a bizarre shade of red those glasses are). God knows what's in them.
And praise be, they're already working with a sizable studio band instead of cheesy prerecorded backtracks.
It was a powerful hour, and Idol remains a killer combo with 24 as a leadout. Great entertainment and brilliant drama. As I've said, 24 is so good this season it's hard to believe we're in the first third of the episodes.
As to Idol, when we need fresh brilliant ideas, we always have to turn to Englishmen. Why? It's really simple. England has a class (a social class) of brilliantly educated people--they're just far brighter than Americans. Sorry. I find it amusing that Les Moonves is trying to figure out what to do with CBS News, and he hasn't surrounded himself with executives from the BBC and other British broadcast journalists. You should see the newscasts in England. You think Ted Koppel is good?
It's time to give the ultra-stupid, weak-kneed and pathetically insecure Andrew Heyward the comeuppance he deserves. He has done nothing for CBS News worth a shit since becoming president, and having known him for years, I can say he's petty, jealous and blatantly simple-minded. Dump him, Les. Don't give him a graceful way out. Humiliate him, the way other media barons I have known have ordered division presidents ousted. And get Rather off the air. He looks like he's about to vomit every night. And Bob Scheiffer? Are you jesting? There's only one broadcaster in America who deserves to front CBS News. Charlie Rose. I can't believe he'd ever do it; why work so hard? But Rose is the best broadcast journalist we have, and if CBS wants to compete, Rose has to sit on the throne.