'Idol' : Who's the Best Judge of Talent?

Vote for Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez or Randy Jackson

Photo: Michael becker/FOX

After months of anticipation, American Idol‘s tenth season debuted Wednesday with its new panel of judges. With plenty of hype, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler were introduced and then took their seats next to Randy Jackson at the first auditions of the season in New Jersey.

The trio agreed more than disagreed and sent more than 50 contestants through to Hollywood. Though in some cases, like that of musical theatre student Kenzie Palmer, 15, of West Middlesex, Penn., Lopez seemed to turn Tyler and Jackson’s votes from no to yes.

“You guys are crazy,” Lopez said after Palmer’s audition. “She’s beautiful, she’s only 15 … She’s giving us some energy and you guys are like, ‘I’m not feeling it.’ ” The men, of course, had decided to put her through.

At times, Lopez struggled with saying ‘no’ to hopeful singers – like Achille Lovele, 25, from Ivory Coast, who butchered Madonna‘s “Dress You Up” – that weren’t cut out for the competition.

At others, she seemed swayed by heartfelt pleading for a golden ticket. Ashley Sullivan, 25, of Springfield, Mass., sang “Gimme Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie and, despite being told she wasn’t right for Idol, burst into tears and begged on her knees to go to Hollywood, hoping to be “the first showtunes pop star.” The judges, led by Lopez, caved, though Randy, for the record, thought his costars were “crazy.”

Tyler had his share of favored contestants but also wasn’t afraid to call out the ones without talent. He told a boy scout, Chris Cordeiro, 18, of North Arlington, N.J., “You scared everybody in the room,” and later asked another contestant, “Did you eat a lot of paint chips as a child?”

Jackson seemed to be his usual self, though he’s now confidently situated to the far right of the panel in the spot formerly occupied by Simon Cowell.

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