"Where were YOU when it all started?"
That is, apparently, the question.
To answer, American Idol opened with clips of contestants' home videos, showing them as wee children singing along to Kelly Clarkson during season one. Ryan, through voiceovers, kept talking about how this - tonight, this season - has been 10 years in the making. Except I counted the winners we've had so far and this year's champion will be number 11.
I fully admit to being less-than-spectacular at math, but we're in year 11, Ryan. So this has been 11 years in the making, no? Ryan also told us that some of these contestants had been waiting their entire lives for this moment. All 15 years of their lives. They were practically born for this very moment. Yesterday. All of them.
New this year is the "Contestant Cam." Some contestants have been given small camcorders to record their journeys to auditions and beyond. And the first time the Contestant Cam is debuted we're given a lovely shot of a car full of sleeping people headed to Savannah. Nice! I'm sure they're all loving that their drool stains have been immortalized forever. I know I'd love that.
Not new this year are the crazy antics of Steven Tyler, starting with this gem:
News reporter: How's Savannah treating you?
Steven Tyler: Oh, Savannah's treating me great, but I didn't know you knew her.
And then there was "This is the earliest I've ever been late."
(Excuse me, what?)
But there was also: "You got the confidence, but you ain't got the song. Your pitch is all over the place, but you threw the ball."
Well, Steven, that almost sounds like a lyric. A bad one, but still. A lyric. Go run that past Joe and the boys and see how they like it. Y'all are due for some new music, right?
And how about that time former MLB pitcher Joe Magrane showed up with his daughter, Shannon Magrane, and asked Steven how "Beantown" was. Steven's reply?
"Beautiful! Hot, humid, and happening. Just like your daughter."
Yes. That happened. And no. Joe Magrane didn't look pleased that Skeevy Steven had just called his 15-year old "hot." But she, like Idol winner Jordin Sparks, whose father was also a professional athlete, she had talent and received a golden ticket to Hollywood.
Oh, Steven. I do love you in a somewhat unhealthy way, but could you please stop hitting on everything in a skirt under the age of 25?
Other notable contestants from the Savannah round were:
Amy Brumfield. She lives in a tent. All the time. Sort of on purpose. And she can sing. She reminds me of Crystal Bowersox without the toddler. (And, speaking as a mom, the idea of a toddler living in a tent gives new meaning to the term "wild child.")
Colton and Schyler Dixon. A brother-sister duo who first auditioned last year. Both made it through to Hollywood but were cut before the live shows. Tonight Faux Hawk and Feathers, respectively named thanks to their coifs, made it through to Hollywood once again. Except Faux Hawk hadn't planned to audition and was all but forced to sing when Feathers revealed that her brother was out in the hall for moral support. I don't expect that either of them will make it to the live shows this time around either, but they weren't bad.
Lauren Mink. A day camp operator for adults with special needs. It's my own personal Idol rule that if they show me someone whose story makes me cry, that person better be able to sing. There is nothing NOT Kleenex-worthy about a woman who devotes her time to working with special needs adults and watching them all interact. That is prime tear-making television. Luckily for me (and Idol), Mink delivered, so Randy and Co. delivered her a golden ticket.
Finally - and I'm calling it now, this guy's going far - Phillip Phillips (Junior). While I don't think his parents, or rather his grandparents, bothered to say his name out loud more than once before signing his birth certificate, Phillips is one to watch. He started with a rendition of "Superstition" that was great. And then he brought out his guitar and got REALLY great singing "Thriller." I'd buy his album, people. In a heartbeat.
Overall, 42 contestants received tickets to Hollywood from the auditions in Savannah. I think we saw less than 20 of those actual auditions, despite the fact that this was a two hour show.
Of those we did see tonight, who were your favorites? Did the judges get any wrong? (Not even the Laker girl??) Are you totally grossed out by Steven or do you just laugh at his crazy?
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.