'The Tonight Show' welcomes ex-'American Idol' bandleader Rickey Minor

rickey-minor-tonight-show.jpgMonday marked the beginning of a new era on "The Tonight Show."

Rickey Minor, the former music director for "American Idol," took over for Kevin Eubanks as the NBC show's bandleader on Monday night (June 7). He did a brief comedy piece with host Jay Leno -- about all the, ahem, hits NBC has on its schedule -- and received a hearty hello from Leno when the show actually started, as well as compliments on his wife's attractiveness.

You can see all that in the clip below, but you'll hear precious little music. To our ears, though, the "Tonight Show" band sounded pretty good Monday night -- not that it didn't during Eubanks' tenure -- with guitars and horns trading off as the front-and-center sound. (We particularly liked the choice of the Foo Fighters' "The Pretender" going into the commercial break after the Headlines segment.)

NBC announced in April that Minor would take over for Eubanks, who had been with Leno for his entire run on "The Tonight Show" (and Leno's prime-time show earlier this season), first as a guitar player and then as bandleader starting in 1995. "Idol" will also be seeking a new music director with Minor's departure.

What did you think of Minor's "Tonight Show" debut?



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Photo credit: NBC