Departing Idol Bandleader Rickey Minor Shares Your Concerns About Season 9

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Bandleader Rickey Minor generally acted with statesmanlike conduct when discussing his departure from American Idol and new gig with The Tonight Show. But in his excitement to fill Kevin Eubanks' chair, the venerable Idol maestro divulged candid tidbits about the performance level of this year's contestant crop. Validate our disappointment, jazzman!

In an interview with EW, the Louisiana native suggested that comparing season nine's contestant pool to older seasons begets disappointment.

"You're going to automatically compare the seasons as you go. The season of Carrie, the season of Daughtry, the season of Kelly... but it's a lot of pressure," says Minor, who also points out the season boasts more singer-songwriters. "The show is so huge, it's hard for anyone to really find their voice because of all the criticism, and you don't really know who you are. [After performances], I say to them, 'What happened? In rehearsal and sound check, you were ridiculous!' But the nerves start happening. They just have to break out of their shells."

In review: Officially, there's on-set concern for the contestants' overwhelming nervousness. While Crystal Bowersox's drive remains pretty undeterred, Minor's comment about past seasons makes you realize that if, say, season eight's fifth- and sixth-place finishers Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai competed this year, they'd have a hell of a better shot of winning. For all of their also-ran qualities, they weren't nervous or even awkward. Lee Dewyze and Aaron Kelly (hell, maybe all of the remaining dudes) would be an anxious pile of palpitations in comparison.

Rickey Minor Talks New Tonight Show Gig, Current Season of Idol [EW]



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