"American Idol” kicks off Season 12 in Manhattan with glitzy homages to last year's winner Phillip Phillips, past stars, judges Randy Jackson, Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, lots of chatter from host Ryan Seacrest — but just in case you're wondering what this show is now all about, we don't actually hear anyone, you know, sing until more than 10 minutes in.
Michael Buonopane is first up. Central Park can be seen in the background. He does an energetic but uninspired rendition of Queen's “We Will Rock You.”
Then just randomly starts doing snippets from a few songs he's heard on the radio. And then it's off to commercial -- wait, after seven months this is how they choose to start the show?!
He's neither good nor funny; sheesh, this is gonna be a long year.
Next up is Tenna Torres from Queens, who says she went to “Camp Mariah” as a kid and loved it. “Shut up!” Carey responds.
She's doing Carole King's version of “You've Got A Friend" -- and wow, she can sing. Slow, emotional; a bit pitchy but has the chatty judges dead quiet for once, listening.
“We're all sitting in awe, blown away,” Minaj overstates. But all the judges like her and she's through to Hollywood.
Long Islander James Bae, who says he loves Justin Bieber, is up next. He tells us people “don't just want a singer, they want a character.” Oh-oh, this isn't going to end well.
He's horrible. He can't sing at all and is completely off-key.
“I like you a lot, James,” Minaj says sweetly, asks him if he has a girlfriend. Carey tells him maybe he could DJ so he can be artistic without singing.
Jackson just says, “the vocals -- no, you can't sing.” They all vote no; Minaj sees him tearing up and tells him to come over, says “I love that you own it -- you're so young, you're not afraid.” She gives him a hug and off he goes.