I’ll admit it – I haven’t been watching American Idol this year. I blame it on not having working cable, but from what I’ve been hearing the ratings have been going down the past couple of years anyway. Awkward first auditions? Pretty people singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough?” Been there, done that.
So the producers have made some changes to this year’s Idol: Less mean judging, and the addition of “ringers” – contestants that previously had recording contracts. And the addition of this year’s token Asian American contestant – Ramiele Malubay.
American Idol has never been good to Asian Americans: William Hung. That Filipino guy in the pimp suit. That guy who was the anti-William Hung, but got eliminated in the first round anyway. Sanjaya. But even though the women officially sing for the first time tonight, Ramiele has gotten early buzz – she’s the third most searched for contestant on Yahoo! and has been profiled heavily in the Philippines media. Whether Ramiele will be the next Jasmine Trias (who later produced platinum albums overseas) or the next Melinda Lira (who single-handedly wins for the most awkward Idol elimination, ever) remains to be seen.
Update: American Idol uber-blogger Rickey has MP3’s and videos of her first performance.