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American Idol 2013 Premiere: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

The 2013 season of American Idol debuted Wednesday night and the two hour opening show was anything but boring. From a contestant with only one leg to new judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj bickering, it certainly made for good television. Did we see the contestant that will take home the prize and earn the title of this year’s American Idol tonight? Well, here’s what you need to know about the premiere show.

1. American Idol is in its 12th Season

This year’s premiere show marks American Idol’s 12th season. Although there are about 37 other shows with the exact same concept, just with a different name and different judges, it is the original vocal reality TV show. From Kelly Clarkson to Carrie Underwood, we’ve seen many small-town singers become superstars overnight. So how will this season of American Idol fare? Last year’s season premiere earned a 7.4 rating, a drop from the previous year’s 9.8. Maybe the highly talked about new judges will help rake in viewers for this overly drawn out show.

2. The First Audition Show Took Place in New York City
This year’s opening audition show took place in New York City. Thousands of hopeful artists lined up waiting to find out if their dreams might have a chance at coming true, or if they would be utterly destroyed by the fate of four judges. While tonight showed some vocal disasters (why do they even let these guys get through to auditions?), we definitely saw some potential future American Idols. The premiere continues Thursday night with auditions taking place in Chicago.

3. Randy Jackson is the Only Original Judge Left

For the first eight seasons of American Idol, the judges were always Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul. After disputes between Abdul and the show over her salary, she broke the judging tradition and was the first of the judges to get replaced. For the show’s 12th season, the only remaining original judge that remains is Randy Jackson. This year, he is accompanied by diva Mariah Carey, pop star Nicki Minaj and country singer Keith Urban.

4. The Judges Predict a Girl Will Win This Year
Keep an eye on the female contestants this year because the judges predict a girl will win for the 2013 season of American Idol.

“Girls, do not disappoint the Dawg. I think it’s the girls’ year,” says judge Randy Jackson. “There are some talented boys, but I must say, I think the girls could really win one,” he adds. “We haven’t had a girl winner in so long.”

“The girls are exceptional. I mean, a girl will definitely win this year, I think,” Nicki Minaj agreed.

5. The Show Opened Up With Last Year’s Winner Phillip Phillips

Wednesday night’s premiere opened up with a performance by last year’s winner, Phillip Phillips. The American Idol sang the one song he’s known for, Home (seriously, does he sing anything else?). Phillips, whose performance style has been compared to Dave Matthews, beat out Jessica Sanchez for the prize last year and released the top selling song shortly after winning.

6. The One Legged Tap Dancer Didn’t Get to Hollywood
Time for the honorable mentions of the first show of the new season.

Tap dancer Evan Ruggiero was diagnosed with bone cancer when he was 19 and after 16 months of chemo, he was forced to amputate his leg. Ironic, right? Funny how life plays out sometimes. Though, losing his leg didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams of being an entertainer.

“Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean you can’t be the next American Idol,” Ruggiero said.

But while he was an inspiration to the judges and all of us at home, the judges weren’t impressed with his vocals. He sang Jason Mraz’s I’m Yours, and was also given a second chance by singing Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. Nicki says he has the potential to inspire a lot of people, but overall the judges didn’t think he was ready.

7. One Guy Almost Topped William Hung

You guys haven’t forgotten about William Hung yet, have you? He gained fame in 2004 after auditioning for American Idol with his horribly off-key rendition of Ricky Martin’s hit song, She Bangs. If you have, or for some reason you live under a rock and have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ve conveniently posted the infamous clip above. This year, we have Albert Chang, who gives an almost equally agonizing performance of The Phantom of the Opera. What made the audition 10 times better was Nicki’s response that seriously ticked off Mariah, “Your range is better than Mariah’s!” Was the the very beginning to Nicki and Mariah’s highly talked about fued?

8. Randy Personally Brought a Contestant to Auditions
New to the show this year is to let friends and family nominate contestants to which Randy Jackson personally delivers an invitation to auditions. First person to come in by way of this new auditioning technique is Jessica Kartalis of Staten Island, N.Y., nominated by her mother. Too bad she kind of sucks. First off, Kartalis starts off singing a capella in the wrong note, then she starts playing the guitar, which throws her even more off. Needless to say, she didn’t get through to the next round.

9. A Hot Exotic Girl Sang Horribly

Then there’s always that one person who’s so hot, couldn’t possibly utter anything else but soft, angelic tones from their vocal cords. Then their hottness plummets drastically when they open their mouths to sing. Rozanna Shindelman, an exotic 21-year-old from Staten Island, fits the bill and leaves the judges cringing. Maybe modeling would fit her career goals a bit better?

10. They Saved the Best for Last
Ashlee Feliciano comes from a family that fosters and adopts medically complex children and is as sweet as a button. She’s the kind of girl who you genuinely hope becomes the next American Idol. Fortunately for her (and us), she sings Corinne Bailey Rae’s Put Your Records On and kills it. Minaj raves about her performance, along with the other judges.

“I don’t think you understand what you just did,” Minaj says.

If anyone from Wednesday night’s show has a shot at becoming the next American Idol, I’d bet on Ashlee Feliciano.

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