Tuesday's season premiere of "American Idol" ended with a Princess Leia imitator's tirade against the reality TV show's three-judge panel.
It was an appropriate ending for the kickoff episode, in which two hours of Philadelphia auditions yielded the inevitable mix of colorful personalities and vocal train wrecks. Memorable contestants included a hippie who reeked of incense and a male singer who sang a creepy stalker-like ode to judge Paula Abdul. (Among the verses: "If she were a bathtub, I'd caulk her.")
Then, of course, there was Ben -- who approached the judges in something that resembled a bikini. When they requested he wax his chest, he did so, only to have his take on the Pussycat Dolls abruptly denied.
Yet the show also featured some singers with actual promise. Like Brooke, the blond crooner who said she'd never seen an R-rated movie. And Kristy Lee, who specializes in cage fighting and horseback riding.
As promised, the producers appeared to renew their emphasis on contestant back stories, illustrated primarily by Angela, a singer whose daughter is suffering from an illness similar to cerebral palsy. She the judges' OK.
Get a full recap on the "American Idol" blog at www.ledger-enquirer.com. Tonight's two-hour episode features Dallas auditions and begins at 8 p.m. on Fox. Reporter Sonya Sorich will blog "live" throughout the show.