Before the live shows even began on American Idol, MK Nobilette had already made headlines for being the show's first openly gay contestant to make it past the early rounds.
"I'm very obviously gay," Nobilette told judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr., shortly before she was ushered into the Top 30. And with those words, the frequent "are-they-or-aren't-they" aura that has pervaded Idol for 13 seasons, from Clay Aiken to Adam Lambert, was... if not shattered, at least dented a little.
It's not easy being a Gleek. At least, it wasn't earlier this season. Aside from the sudden and tragic death of star Cory Monteith, and the subsequent sudden and tragic death of his character Finn Hudson, the Fox musical comedy (Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox) felt a bit, well, off-key in the first part of Season 5. The story lines started to feel either predictable or haphazard, the music was bland and most of the theme episodes like The Beatles two-part tribute or "Previously Unaired Christmas," lacked a real purpose or message.
Thankfully, the show returned from its extended hiatus re-energized and looking — and more importantly sounding — like its old self. After weeks of letting Season 5 collect virtual dust on the DVR, here are eight reasons why it's time to ...
Tuesday was Ladies' Night on American Idol, but on Wednesday the judges turned their attention to the guys. "We just have a new breed of musician and singer coming up," judge Jennifer Lopez told Ryan Seacrest before the performances began.
The show repeated its head-scratching formula from Tuesday, only allowing 10 of the Top 15 guys to perform on stage, with virtually no explanation for viewers as to why the remaining five got cut. Former judge Randy Jackson, as well as alums Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry, also all returned as mentors.
Randy Jackson returns to American Idol tonight in his new role as mentor, guiding the contestants through Rush Week. The 31 remaining hopefuls will cycle through Jackson's workshop, a series of classes focusing on vocal skills, styling and social-media training. Former finalists Adam Lambert and Chris Daughtry will also be around to field questions. Idol's top dawg breaks down the intensive two-day process.
TV Guide Magazine: Why did you want to come back for this workshop?
Jackson: Being a judge, you don't have that closeness with the kids. I know they have a trillion questions, so I really wanted to prepare them for the show and make it informative. You've got all these people at the top of their fields who want to help. This is for the rest of the [contestants'] lives, so they have to take advantage. It's like a college-prep course, and I'm the dean!
Can American Idol continue its winning revamp? The reality competition series has already introduced Harry Connick Jr. to the new judging panel, guitar-accompanied auditions, The Chamber, abbreviated Hollywood rounds and even a viewer-decided semifinalist vote. As Idol enters Rush Week -- airing Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (8/7c, Fox) -- more changes are on the way to revitalize the teenaged show.