(NEW YORK) — American Idol debuted on ABC Sunday night and a couple of former Idol contestants were among those watching to see what the reboot had in store.
First season runner-up Justin Guarini and season 10 winner Scotty McCreery both tuned in, and shared their thoughts on the new season on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday. Afterwards, they told ABC Radio that they’re fans of this season’s feel-good approach.
“I love that they really focused on the talented folks,” Justin says. “Even the people who were quote-unquote not so good, were still pretty decent. No one was there as a joke.”
Even though it’s much too early to have a winning pick, the two did name their favorites of the night. Justin went with fellow Philly native Dennis Lorenzo, who sang an Allen Stone tune, while Scotty was a fan of Congolese immigrant Ron Bultongez, who sang James Bay’s “Let It Go.”
Having been through the whirlwind process before, Justin and Scotty have some advice for the contestants, especially the younger ones.
“I would say what I’ve learned — two things — that it’s show business, not show friendship,” Justin says. “You have to run yourself like you are your own business. And then secondly, you have to know who you are.”
Meaning, have a clear sense of everything from what kind of music you want to sing, to how you want to dress.
Scotty, who was just 16 when he auditioned, advises the young contestants to “take advice” and “listen” to the people with more experience than you. He adds, “But always make that final call and be true to yourself and just try to mold the advice into what you think you want to be.”
Scotty will be appearing this season as a mentor on the show, while Justin will be covering it as a special correspondent for 6ABC Action News in Philadelphia.
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