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American Idol Returns! Does It Still Glow in X Factor's Shadow?

Are you ready for the return of the original? The real deal?

American Idol, which has more competition than ever these days for people's interest, enjoyed its 11th season premiere tonight—but did you enjoy it?

There was the usual mixture of promising talent, such as 17-year-old David Leathers Jr., who blew the judges away right off the bat on the first day of auditions in Savannah, Ga., with his crystal-clear pipes, and 24-year-old Amy Brumfield, who's unemployed and lives in a tent in the woods of Tennessee—but can also sing!

But then...there were the others.

READ: Idol Crew Takes on The Voice and X Factor: "This Is the Show That Produces Stars!"

The others, like Jessica Whitely, who threatened promised to see the judges again at auditions in Texas. Like dapper Shaun Kraisman, who, though certainly cute, couldn't sing a lick. Or like Joshua Chavis, who strutted in claiming to sound like Brad Paisley but, um...didn't.

Mawuena Kodjo, of Togo, West Africa, via Nashville, tried his hand at Rascal Flatts, but his thick accent (and inability to carry a tune) gave him a bigger shot at being the next William Hung.

"Prove me wrong, dawg!" Randy offered when Mawuena told the judges that, in fact, he could sing. (Spoiler alert: Sweet guy, but he didn't prove Randy wrong.)

WATCH: American Idol Judges Dish on This Year's "Hard" Competition, Beyoncé's Baby and More!

And too bad Erica Nowak, the future ex-Mrs. Steven Tyler who went right for his rump when she scored a hug from the Aerosmith frontman, couldn't sing to the judges' satisfaction, because she was fun!

"I didn't get a golden ticket, but I got some of Steven Tyler's ass, and you can't ask for more than that," she joked outside. "By the way, he has an amazing behind."

But back to the ones who charmed with their voices.

Maybe Steven would have been more inclined to propose if Brittany Kerr—who he jokingly put through before she started singing—had wanted to be his future ex-wife.

READ: American Idol Finalist Brooke White Is Pregnant

Jennifer Lopez actually said no to the smokin' hot blonde, who ably covered a Joss Stone song. But thanks to the guys, Brittany's headed to Hollywood.

Colton Dixon didn't even mean to audition for the second year in a row (supposedly), but when 16-year-old Schuyler Dixon showed up without him, the judges made her go fetch her older brother. (Side note: It takes so much less time to get stuff done when there are only three judges instead of four.)

And this time, they both made it!

READ: Idol Alum James Durbin Ties the Knot

Stephanie Renae, one of the bevy of aspiring stars who started watching Idol when they were 8 or so, grew up idolizing Carrie Underwood—so it was heartwarming to see her not embarrass herself on "Inside Your Heaven."

Randy promised 25-year-old W.T. Thompson—an expectant father who quit his job in a federal prison to audition—that he would be "eaten alive" in Hollywood, but he and Jennifer put him through. And you can bet his wife's pregnant belly got a big kiss afterward!

Other ones to watch include heartthrob-in-the-making Phillip Phillips, Ashlee Altise, Shannon Magrane, Gabi Carruba, Brianna Faulk, Neco Starr, Molly Hunt and Elise Testone, the now-requisite Janis Joplin growler of the bunch.

Overall, 42 wannabe Carries and Scottys made it to Hollywood out of Savannah. Tune in tomorrow for Pittsburgh auditions!

So, this is American Idol this year. So thrilled? So entertained? So bored? Sound off in the comments section!

GALLERY: Hollywood Party Pics

(Originally published Jan. 18, 2012, at 7:30 p.m. PT)

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