MELISSA BLOCK, host:
Twenty-six million viewers went there last night, and Robert, we're going there too.
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
That's right because we are the program that considers all things, including "American Idol."
(Soundbite of music)
SIEGEL: The show's season premiere was on last night, without cranky Simon Cowell or spacey Paula Abdul.
BLOCK: So we have enlisted our own cranky panel of pop-culture mavens.
LINDA HOLMES: Linda Holmes, the editor of NPR's pop culture and entertainment blog "Monkey See."
ANDREW WALLENSTEIN: Andrew Wallenstein, senior editor of the website Paid Content.
JASMINE GARSD: Jasmine Garsd, host of Alt Latino on NPR Music.
SIEGEL: Their mission: to see if this new "American Idol" is a hit or miss.
HOLMES: Watching the beginning of the 10th season of "American Idol" -it is the 10th season - it seemed a little bit like a sick kid's birthday party. You got plenty of plenty of clowns, and it's still sort of depressing.
The big news is supposed to be they added Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. Steven Tyler obviously is from Aerosmith. Jennifer Lopez is a singer and she's an actress, but she's mostly just shiny and famous.
Neither of one of them, I don't think, turned out to have a particularly sharp tongue, like Simon Cowell did. He left at the end of last season. But Steven Tyler is definitely bizarre enough to be good to watch on TV.
Mr. STEVEN TYLER (Musician): (Unintelligible).
HOLMES: But he had a few problems, including the fact that he cannot seem to figure out what is and is not appropriate to say about the skirt that's being worn by a 16-year-old.
Mr. TYLER: It's just the right amount showing. That's nice.
HOLMES: That is just really gross is what that is.
WALLENSTEIN: But you know what, I'm glad you're bringing up Victoria because she was one of several instances on the show that proved to me just how badly the show is now missing Simon.
She, and there was another contestant, too, Ashley Sullivan, they just had no business being pushed through to Hollywood.
Ms. ASHLEY SULLIVAN: (Singing) Give me, give me that thing called love.
WALLENSTEIN: Now, if Simon was there, this girl would not have made it through and neither would have Victoria Huggins(ph). When you don't have the dark overlord that is Simon, you lack spine at the judging table.
Unidentified Woman #1: It's a yes for me.
WALLENSTEIN: It's not just about having someone who's going to rip these people to shreds. It's about maintaining a sense of standards, and I just didn't feel that.
GARSD: Well, you know, if we're going to talk about standards, it's just really hard for me to say which of all the auditions I like best because at some point, I found myself wondering, you know, if voices that I love, like Bjork or PJ Harvey or Billie Holiday had auditioned for this show, would they have passed?
GARSD: Probably not. If I have to make a pick, as a former waitress, I'd pick the singing waitress, Devyn Rush.
Ms. DEVYN RUSH: (Singing) (Unintelligible).
GARSD: In a sea of overly made-up contestants, she was just like a hardworking girl with very little makeup, jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers, who was just feeling the music. And she really won my heart.
HOLMES: So if we had to look over the show and say yes or no, you're going to Hollywood, what would you say? Jasmine, what would you say?
GARSD: I just can't - no.
HOLMES: How about you, Andrew?
WALLENSTEIN: I'm going to side with Jasmine. The curiosity factor brought me in. I wanted to see how J-Lo and Tyler would do. I've seen enough.
HOLMES: I'd have to go along with that, too, and say no. So that's three nos, which means new "American Idol," dog, you are not going to Hollywood.
BLOCK: That's our panel of pop culture fans.
HOLMES: Linda Holmes, the editor of NPR's pop culture and entertainment blog "Monkey See."
WALLENSTEIN: Andrew Wallenstein, senior of the website Paid Content.
GARSD: Jasmine Garsd, host of Alt Latino on NPR Music.
(Soundbite of music)
SIEGEL: You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.