American Idol judge behaving badly: Steven Tyler puckers up in Aspen

American Idol judge Steven Tyler is engaged, but isn't ready to let go of his lover-boy image just yet. Keep your eyes on American Idol contestant Haley Smith.

Jonathan Alcorn / Reuters
Musician Steven Tyler (l) and singer Jennifer Lopez, co-hosts of American Idol, snuggle up during the FOX Winter TCA Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif.

Wednesday night's American Idol began with overexcited, 24-year-old, Jenni Schick, a writhing, coquettish, ball of energy who freely discussed her desire to kiss various celebrities.  And though Idol host Ryan Seacrest did not join the ranks of smooch-worthy Adam Levine, Lady Gaga, and Steven Tyler on Jenni's list; he did make the list of people Jenni's boyfriend would like to kiss. Hmmm.

So, Jenni bounds into her audition and immediately expresses her desire to lock lips with Steven Tyler.  Steven shows an amazing amount of restraint for an over 60 man whose days of young girls throwing themselves at him must have an expiry, and makes her sing for him first. There was a lot riding on Jenni's audition: The affections of both Ryan Seacrest and Steven Tyler, and its also safe to say that after this performance, Jenni is no longer going to have her job as Virginia elementary school music teacher.

Her cover of Pat Benatar's, "Heartbreaker", manages to (just) earn her not a ticket to Hollywood and a full-on-the-lips smooch from Steven.  Being engaged (to model Erin Brady), Steven really should have played a little harder to get.  Perhaps Ryan could offer some lessons on boundaries.

Despite Steven Tyler and his loose lips, there was something special about American Idol's auditions in Aspen.  Not only were the contestants entertaining and some even talented, but the entire judging panel seemed more likeable.  Maybe, it's the altitude?  Maybe JLo, Steven, and Randy are best served chilled?  Whatever the reason, there was faint glimmer of promise in the judge's on this episode – and it was a sight for sore eyes.

Richie Law was certainly happy to see the judges in his neck of the woods.  He's obviously been practicing his best Scotty McCreery (Season 10 Idol winner) impression for the past year.  And while he has a good (deep) voice, he should have been denied a ticket to Hollywood on the grounds that Idol 't doesn't need a Scotty 2.0 this year.  Idol should be holding out for the truly original contestants.

I'm talking about vegetarian, sausage-maker Haley Smith.  Haley breezed into the audition with the relaxed mellow air of a true flower child, which did her so much more justice than the slightly maniacal pre-audition clip of her professing her love for nature, complete with unstable laugh.  The judges were digging her 60's vibe, man.  The free love continued, especially after Haley's performance of Rufus's, "Tell Me Something Good."  And that they did. Not only did the judges give her a ticket to Hollywood but Steven Tyler expressed his honor at being able to hear her sing.

The judges weren't so unanimous when it came to self-proclaimed Vintage Glitter Queen, Angie Zeiderman's cabaret performance.  Jennifer respected Angie's show tune's chutzpah but Randy scoffed, claiming it was an instant turn off.  Both Angie and Jennifer were determined to prove Randy wrong, so Angie offered a beautiful rendition of "Blue Bayou," instead.  Thankfully, this was enough to change Randy's mind and Angie earned her golden ticket to Hollywood and was one step closer to opening for her own idol, Lady Gaga.

Of course, she'll have to get in line behind Jenni.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to