I am really liking the judges this year, especially Harry Connick Jr. He is the stability they needed to make the judging work. He doesn't seem afraid to tell the wanna-be singers what they need to hear but he does it in a much nicer way than Simon Cowell and it makes it much easier to watch the auditions.
I agree with you, TL! He's really honest in the way he's judging. I can see that Keith and JLo judge based on can the contestant moves their heart and simply can go to Hollywood, but Harry judges based on how far the contestant may get through the rounds. Yes, he is really nice to the contestants (not like Simon Cowell
), and he's really funny when he's joking.
For the contestants, I can see the difference between not able to play guitar in previous seasons and now. This season, I can see that they're more prepared because the allowance to play guitar in audition. However, like Harry said IIRC, there will be some rounds in American Idol that don't allow them to play musical instrument, and I can see that as a boomerang for them who only prepared to sing with guitar, and it can be a downfall to them if their voice isn't strong enough to stand alone a capella.
Also, there are many of them are still too young to get an audition. Many of them, who are 15 years old, are making me think, do they realize about what will happen to their education if they make through far? I mean, it's okay if they have decided before to have a music career. But, I'm pretty sure that not all of them have that goal. Let's see what will happen in the last audition and the Hollywood round. I hope we can see some stars emerge!