Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content


Jay Leno welcomes Rickey Minor to 'The Tonight Show'

Posted on

Former American Idol music director Rickey Minor made his debut as The Tonight Show’s new band leader last night in a cold open bit that ended with a punchline about his being excited to join a network that pumps out so many hits [cue Jay Leno‘s raised eyebrow].

Minor’s presence was subdued, and though I was never a huge Kevin Eubanks fan (are there huge Kevin Eubanks fans?), I will say I noticed the absence of his innocuous wit (if not his polite laughs) during the monologue. I suspect Minor will ease his way into a more prominent role as time goes by. He looked nice, though. And the music sounded as good as it did with Eubanks — perhaps Minor’s arrangements featured a bit more horns than Eubanks’ more guitar-centric numbers? I’m reaching here.

Anyone miss Eubanks last night? What’d we think of Minor’s music? Who’s the best late-night band leader in the biz?

More from EW.com:

‘American Idol’ music director Rickey Minor’s out. Should he have gotten a montage?

Rickey Minor talks new ‘Tonight Show’ gig, current season of ‘Idol’

Kevin Eubanks says good-bye to ‘The Tonight Show’

Rickey Minor to replace Kevin Eubanks on ‘The Tonight Show’