After months of hype led by the now-infamous leaked "feud" video between new judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, American Idol season 12 finally arrived on our TV screens last night. So what's the verdict so far?
The new panel of Nicki, Mariah, Keith Urban and returning judge Randy Jackson delivered plenty of "oh-my-god" moments that often overshadowed the contestants themselves.
First up, there's the obvious (and probably staged) tension between Mariah and Nicki, which bubbled over when the 'Starships' singer calling Mariah a "b----" not once, but three times. Watch the catty moment above was it uncalled for?
While Mariah and Nicki showed softer sides with some contestants, it was Aussie superstar Keith whose previous experience on The Voice Australia who brought the most natural, down-to-earth charm. Just check out how cute and polite he gets when he spills a drink on Nicki in this video:
Judges may change, but Idol's premise of finding the "next big thing" in music is still the same. The premiere's New York auditions featured huge talent, from a former Israeli pop star to a partly deaf singer to a one-legged dancer-turned-singer:
And then there's the obligatory embarrassing auditions:
Despite all the hoo-ha about the latest season, ratings in the US dropped 19 percent lower than the 2012 season's debut, with an audience of 17.8 million. Network Ten fast-tracked the show to Australian audiences just hours after the US premiere only time will tell if that was a good move for the struggling network.
American Idol airs at 7.30pm on Thursdays, and 8pm on Fridays on Network Ten.