A more subdued, mature Idol returns in Season 13

s13judges

After an exhausting year in Season 12, one filled with drama (mainly due to Nikki and Mariah’s ostensible hatred of one another), Season 13 of American Idol is certainly lower-key. Out are the irascible Nikki Minaj and the dotty Mariah Carey, and in is Harry Connick Jr. Harry isn’t like any judge that’s ever been on the show; he’s a genuine musician, somebody who has been playing New Orleans jazz piano since he was small boy, someone who knows music theory and is vocal about the artistic merit of the music people make. In one of the auditions episodes, he lectured returning judge Jennifer Lopez on the pentatonic scale. He also provides a bit of the vituperative nature of Simon Cowell, making the current panel have many of the same dynamics as that with Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson had.

Which is to say, I’m a fan.

Something else that’s promising is that this year holds the record of semi-finalists whose auditions were shown, 94%, smashing all other years. The next closest was 72% in season 3. This means that, at least so far, there is a much more level playing field than in previous seasons. That’s great.

PercentageAuditionsShownS1-13

Percentage of semi-finalists who had their initial auditions shown.

I’m still putting finishing touches on some of the features I plan to publish on IdolAnalytics this year, but they should start coming out pretty soon. In addition to an in-depth view of American Radio, a video retrospective or two, and my normal week-to-week projections and Top 3 tracker, I’ll be putting my entire database of Idol songs and Billboard Chart songs online, which provides a huge amount of context for you to explore. The site has also gotten something of a face lift with responsive design, but not all of the kinks have been worked out yet.

Welcome back, and stay tuned.

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