02:09 - Source: CNNMoney
'American Idol': Best and worst moments

Story highlights

Show makes its return

Viewers split on judge performances

CNN  — 

“American Idol” returned Sunday on a new network with new judges, but was there the same old love for the singing competition?

ABC launched its reboot of the reality series, this time around with celebrity judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

As per usual, viewers were treated to auditions in different cities (New York, Nashville and Orlando) and lots of inspiring stories about how some of the contestants came to be there.

But was it, as host Ryan Seacrest said during the episode, “off to a picture-perfect start”?

It depends on who you ask.

Some fans enjoyed the shows new “kinder, gentler” judging in which there was no snark – just encouragement.

Still others didn’t go for the decided lack of a Simon Cowell-type judge who was known to be blunt in his criticisms.

There were also complaints that the new judges lacked chemistry.

But some viewers felt the new group of judges nailed it.

The premiere stretched over two hours and gave quite a bit of time to the back stories of some of the contestants.

Too much time, some complained.

One person who seemed not to get as much airtime as usual was Seacrest.

Seacrest has been defending himself against an allegation of sexual harassment which first came to light in November.

Related: Ryan Seacrest calls being accused of misconduct ‘gut-wrenching’

The accusation did not stop him from working the red carpet on Oscars night, as his employer for that gig E! opted not to replace him.