Yeah, I like Kara DioGuardi. I like that she dresses like a rocker without trying too hard, I like that she knows her way around a pop song, and I loved her reaction to Katrina Bikini, my least favorite contestant from last night's "American Idol" season premiere. Simon was slobbering, Randy got carried away with melisma-mania, Paula took a pass, and Kara told it like it was: The girl's tootsie was much more impressive than her singing voice. (Plus, Kara did sing "Vision of Love" better.) Alas, we'll see Katrina again in Hollywood anyway. But she won't be around for long.
Despite her solo stance on that matter, Kara seemed to fit in well with the judges, chemistry-wise. Or, at least, she didn't throw them out of their groove. Simon was still poking fun at Paula -- in this case, her grand pronouncement about the role collaboration plays in art. ("How do you think 'Straight Up' got written?") Randy still hasn't learned that there can only be 100 in a percent. Actually, I'm not sure Kara knows that, either.
Really, though, this show belonged to the editors, who made an opening montage that, I'm embarrassed to say, made me feel kind of warm and fuzzy -- and seem more emboldened each year to turn the audition rounds into a series of short studies on the nature of weirdness. I felt like I was watching a string of mini-"Napoleon Dynamites," and that some of the Napoleons actually made it to Hollywood. Dude Who Taught Himself to Sing in the Closet, I'm talking about you. I was disturbed, but not surprised, to see the 16-year-old set well-represented. No matter how talented these kids are, they should finish high school first. And anyone who claims to be inspired by Britney Spears should be barred from the televised auditions, out of mercy.
Early contenders? The blonde Southern bartender who sang "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay." Stevie Wright. And that teenaged boy with the long hair and the quasi-interesting voice. He'll do nicely with the tweens, dontcha think?