Katy Perry: I'll be a straight shooter on American Idol

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"American Idol" is back, with three new judges.

As usual, the first episodes of "American Idol" will revolve around the auditions, so those have been pretaped.

The judges, moreover, possess undeniable charm.

CAST: The judges this season are Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. They also seem to be thrilled with the gig itself.

Two years isn't a long absence for a show that supposedly ended, but "American Idol" is back. "So I'm excited for the people who are talented and have a dream and don't know any other way to make it". Like the original American Idol, we have to sit through a round of auditions before we get to the actual competitors.

This show wasn't a competition, but rather just a performance showcase for artists. On occasion, the runner up lucks out and is given a recording contract as well, but they don't get the luxury of calling themselves an "American Idol".

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The show opened with an inspiring monologue by none other than Carrie Underwood, before bringing back other alums like Jordin Sparks, Ruben Studdard and Kris Allen at the show's Orlando, Florida auditions at - you guessed it - Disneyworld. The hopeful musician will not only walk away with the title of "American Idol", but their life will change forever. Call it American Idol Disney, or The Voice: Wish Upon a Star Edition, or, if you want to keep things musical, just sing its title to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club theme: A-M-E R-I-C A-N-I-D-O-L!

My hope, however, was that ABC's iteration of "American Idol" would find a way - or at least meaningfully attempt to find a way - to overcome those challenges and make viewers care.

ABC's ratings expectations are in line with the current climate. "Idol" remains in its own league when it comes to building emotional "narratives".

While American Idol is still the show that locks one of the two exit doors and only uses footage of that mistake against the bad singers, it is also still the show that finds and elevates young vocal talent. Aspiring singers audition to go to Hollywood, and then on to the live rounds, where America will decide their fate. We do see a few awful auditions.

While the show might not be a completely flawless format for new artists, Alaina is still thrilled to see it returning in 2018, after being off the air for two years.

If ABC has set lower expectations, then those can nearly certainly be met - not necessarily aspiring to become the music competition version of "America's Funniest Home Videos", but a franchise that can match or marginally improve upon those waning days on Fox. "And one more time - this is so tough", he said, getting choked up as he looked into the camera.

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