Idol: The Next Generation

Well, the first “American Idol” kicked off sans Simon and the verdict is…not bad, actually.

Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler each have their own set of reasons why they can hold their own as judges, but they also both make for interesting TV. While they lack the inane rantings and mean-spirited humor of Paula and Simon, the new trio seem to have a good rapport with each other. Let’s face it, Simon and Paula hated each other and it showed..and it was awesome. This year, not only to the judging trio seem to enjoy each other’s company, but I can actually picture Steve, J-Lo and Randy going out together and splitting an Awesome Blossom. Unfortunately, it does play off a little bit as Good Cop, Good Cop and Good Cop.

As for the actually judging, they handled the task at hand with the ease of seasoned vets…to a degree. When it came to the bad news, Jen seemed at odds with crushing the hopes and spirits of teens and twentysomethings. Just wait, Jen. Once you get to the fiftieth bikini chick looking for a little TV time, the novelty of destroying lives wears off.

Steven fared a bit better than Jen. He was fine with saying no and had the humor needed to deal with the lunacy of the contestants, because let’s face it folks, dem folks can be friggin’ crazy. But in the end, the audition rounds lacked the malicious humor most folks tune in to watch.

This is the new era of “Idol,” kids. The nicer “Idol.” An “Idol” filled with rainbows, kittens and comfy sweaters.

I miss Simon.

— Erin Maxwell