Few shows have gone through as many permutations and growing pains as "American Idol". Fox's flagship talent show is back with (yet again) a tweaked cast.

With Randy Jackson's departure, it's now official that the only original cast member left is host Ryan Seacrest. In fact, the only face from last season besides the smarmy host is country star Keith Urban.

Jennifer Lopez is back after a year off, and musician/actor Harry Connick, Jr. joined the judging panel.

Personally, I think this may be one of the better judging lineups.

After last season's cringe-inducing awkwardness between Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, something had to change. And honestly, I think the producers made good choices.

Jennifer Lopez brings back the serious star power and a nurturing air to the panel.

But the star last night was Harry Connick, Jr. The guy killed it. National publications are heaping praise on the crooner, and I agree. He came off as funny, self deprecating, and down to earth. The kind of guy you'd want to hang out with and grab a beer.

I was trying to think of someone to say, "he's the best judge since..." but honestly, I couldn't think of any judging alums that were as entertaining to watch.

If you gave up on "Idol" after last season's weird go-round, I'd say to give it another chance. It's still a little heavy on corniness, with the tearjerker backstories and people who are put on TV just to be...well...strange (and "The Chamber"? Who's idea was that?), but my first impression after last night is to give it another chance. This may be one of the better judging panels that they've put together.

Did you watch "Idol" last night? What are your first impressions?

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