OK, I’ll keep it real with you. I couldn’t tell you the last time I watched American Idol. It has to be before it switched from FOX to ABC. That’s for sure. Like everyone else I used to love the initial rounds of the show, where terrible singers gave their best effort and good singers made it through to the next round. I used to love screaming “You’re going to Hollywood!” along with host Ryan Seacrest and “It’s a little pitchy, dawg” along with judge Randy Jackson. If I’m really being honest, I seem to remember the last time I watched being the season Mariah Carey was a judge. Yeah, a long, long time ago. Which makes it even more impressive that this clip that went viral in the past week caught my eye.
The clip really needs no introduction, but the praise for Lionel Richie needs to be documented for historic purposes. Back when I used to watch, if a legacy singer came into the room they were almost automatically pushed through in order to ride the ratings that their presence would bring. That was during the Simon Cowell days. Now in its 20th season with Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Richie on board to help guide the aspiring performers, things have changed. Well, almost.
In the clip below, Richie bucks the trend of catering to ratings by keeping it real with a genuine legacy–Grace Franklin, who happens to be the granddaughter of the late, great Aretha Franklin. Of course, his refreshing review was almost upended by a ratings-fueled walk-off by fellow judge Perry (a part of the show I don’t miss. At all). But he was not to be swerved. And it was the best thing I’ve seen on the show since the days when “She Bang” was the best-selling single of the season.
Much respect to the legendary Lionel. I probably still won’t watch the season, but it’s good to know the “Idols” are in good hands. Check the clip below to see how he saved Grace.