There is no other Opening Day in sports like baseball. It’s
spring, green grass, the sun is shining, the unis are pressed and clean, the
rosters are new and everyone is tied for first-place.

Sounds a lot like American Idol doesn’t it? It’s almost
spring, the Coke glasses are lined up on the judges’ table, in SoCal the sun is
shining, Ryan Seacrest’s hair is straight and his jeans are pressed and clean,
the judges panel always has some new faces (Nicki Minaj’s hair has been
spray-painted to a perfect luster) and all contestants are on their way to
Hollywood (at least momentarily).

So it was on Wednesday night with Opening Night of Season
12. They don’t play the national anthem or sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”
part way through the show … but Ryan gives us that now famous “Thiiiiiiis is
American Idol!” at the opening and then near and at the end you can count on
some tear-jerker storyline/backstory on an alleged singer who almost always
makes it through to the Hollywood round.

And so it was Wednesday as the season started with
auditions in New York and nine lengthy commercial breaks (hey, someone has to
pay Mariah’s $18 million salary). It opened with a delightful acoustic
performance by last year’s winner Phillip Phillips of his hit, “Home” (Philllips
has already said he isn’t going to even watch the show this season) and ended
with Ashlee Feliceano, a 20-year old who comes from a large adopted family. Did
she get a gold ticket to Hollywood? Seriously! You know she

The contestant names fade in and out but put it down in
your AI scorecard that 41 made it through and willl be or already have been on a
plane from JFK to LAX. And that includes the guy sporting a turban and dubbing
himself as the
“Turban-ator!” Of all
judges, Nicki had the sense to say no to this guy, but alas, he got three yes
votes and off he went.

More on the judges later. Idol Chatter has to let this sink
in. Hey, if the new starting shortstop on Opening Day goes 0-for-4 you put him
right back out there on Day 2, right?
So, after Day One we won’t give the judges a grade … just yet. Let’s see
how they do tonight in Chicago.