When I saw the new ‘American Idol’ logo with the Roman numeral “XIII,” I thought to myself, “Wow, eight years is a good long run.” Then fourth grade math caught up with me and I realized that it actually said thirteen years. Thirteen years of ‘Idol’ – that’s a great run! After last year’s circus, I had lost interest and wasn’t sure what was in store for the franchise. However, when I saw the judges lineup for this year, I set the DVR to record again. I had really enjoyed Jennifer Lopez as a judge and was glad to see her back, Keith Urban was harmless enough, but the real excitement for me was Harry Connick, Jr. coming on board.
Connick had shown up on ‘Idol’ in the past as a mentor, and he was great. In his brief segment, he had shown extensive musical knowledge and a quick wit, and clearly got on well with the contestants. He’s also completely adorable… Or, at least, he’s completely adorable to 40-something-year-old women who have a soft spot for music geeks.
The trouble with Harry, if you believe the plot from the ‘Idol’ premiere episode, is that kids these days have never heard of him. Upon reflection, that’s probably true. His biggest mainstream hit was the song “It Had to Be You” from the ‘When Harry Met Sally’ soundtrack, which came out back in 1989. Yikes, that’s 25 years ago! He’s also been involved in TV, movies and theater, but nothing so mass market and certainly not aimed at the age ranges of the current round of ‘Idol’ auditioners.
So far, Harry has had a lot of fun being the unknown guy, and I can see him using this as a great opportunity for a whole new audience. He got ridiculous buzz around the internet after the season premiere. He gave honest feedback and useful critiques, and he has an amusing repartee with the other judges. I say hats off to Harry, and here’s to another season of ‘Idol’!