Somehow, theshow has pulled me back in. I blew it off completely last year, after it was resuscitated and switched networks, but I caught some of the auditions this year and enjoyed the less-snarky format. Also, the all-musician judge panel — veterans of the scene with the scars to prove it — has a no-nonsense, but encouraging, edge.
It’s a modest pleasure, with emphasis on “modest,” and I’m also glad to see the show doesn’t have the over-reliance on oldie music that it once did. These contestants are modern artists, even if by near-necessity they skew toward the singer-songwriter model, and there is a depth here that I haven’t always seen in the past. The pageant-kid wing has been tamped down, although it still has a few representatives, and the raw amateurs with some chops but no stage skills are being politely trimmed here in the early stages.
This is a singing show now, not a cultural juggernaut, and I suspect it may not be around next year if its ratings sink again. But it’s a pleasant way to kill a few hours a week, and there is some real talent here that I’d be glad to see in person. Really, that should be enough.