After the Season 12 feud to end all feuds between dueling divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj, all signs pointed to American Idol coming to a pitiful end. But the producers refused to back down (this show is still an advertising cash cow, after all). Despite the failing ratings and general lack of interest, Idol powered on to Season 13 and, believe it or not, we're happy that's the case!

So many things have given this season a fresh feel, including the oh-so-adorbs Harry Connick, Jr. Let's face it, folks. That guy has done a lot toward saving the show. But there's another major change that has also helped give Idol a whole new take on reality TV life: the lack of silly auditions.

When Idol first started way back in June 2002, Ryan Seacrest had ridonkulous highlights and a sidekick named Brian Dunkleman (remember him?). Simon Cowell was on his way to becoming a household name, Paula Abdul was winning fans over as the "nice" judge, and Randy Jackson was working "dawg" into our daily vernacular. But beside the hosts and judges, Idol had a reputation for airing the silliest of auditions.

While we love ourselves a good banana suit and were happy to welcome back Pants on the Ground this season, by and large the silly auditions grew tiresome. And it was easy to see the judges were beginning to hate them, too. 

Fast-forward to this season, and we've seen maybe one or two somewhat silly auditions (including the return of Pants). Overall, though, the show has focused on the real talent hiding in small towns all over the country, and that’s pretty amazing to see.

The judges are (mostly) spot-on with their critiques and the talent is top-notch. Harry continues to hold everyone to high technical standards while Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban, although more likely to coddle a contestant, keep their comments fairly straightforward.

In the end, the new season gives us music lovers a chance to enjoy some incredibly gifted artists and skip the stupid. By cutting out the dumb auditions, we get to watch the real stars from the very beginning and based on what we've seen so far, we think the talent this year may just be the best in Idol history. Yeah, we said it.

What do you think? Do you miss the silly auditions or do you like the fairly serious approach Idol has taken for Season 13? Sound off in the comments!