By Joelle Leib
Last week, American Idol returned to television with the debut of its eleventh season. The show, which premiered Wednesday, January 18, can be viewed regularly on FOX every Wednesday and Thursday at 8 p.m. Judges Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson are all back for yet another season, and with the judges comes their crazy but loveable antics, including Tyler’s strange sayings and spontaneity, J-Lo’s sweetness, and Jackson’s swagger.
This season, the American Idol auditions traveled to a few new cities, including Savannah and Pittsburgh, to find the next singing sensation. Both of these cities proved that they had exceptional undiscovered talent, as shown through the combined total of 80 golden tickets that were given out in Savannah and Pittsburgh. Two of these golden ticket recipients are 15 year old Shannon Margane and 15 year old Eben Franckewitz, who wowed the judges with their ability and confidence at such a young age. Shannon and Eben were not the only younger contestants to audition this season; many high school students came for a shot at stardom, and a considerable amount made it to Hollywood. These contestants had dreamed of auditioning since the tender age of four, when Idol first appeared on television screens nationwide.
On Sunday night, American Idol visited our very own San Diego, where auditions were held on the U.S.S. Midway. Steven Tyler raved about the talent he discovered here, declaring San Diego the city with the best talent yet. No wonder that over 50 golden tickets were handed out that day. Tonight, auditions will be held in Aspen, with upcoming audition cities include St. Louis, Portland, and Galveston. Fortunately, this season the producers have chosen to only air the “good” auditions most of the time, with the occasional silly audition every once in a while. With so much amazing talent this season, American Idol can’t afford to waste time featuring horrible performers.
The year 2011 brought a few copy-cat versions of American Idol, but according to viewers, none have been able to stack up to the original talent show. The Nielson survey revealed that about 15 million people tuned in to watch the season finale of Simon Cowell’s new show, X-Factor, while only 11 million watched the finale of NBC’s The Voice. On the other hand, 26 million people tuned in last Wednesday to see the season premiere of American Idol, and although this is slightly down from last year’s ratings, it is still an extremely strong rating. America has voted, and American Idol is here to stay.