Friday, July 30, 2010
Will the shake-up of American Idol's judges bring back the beat or now is it too late?
Big news stirring up the never quite calm waters of American Idol today,as Ellen hands in her notice as a judge,with talk of Jennifer Lopez being signed on to take her spot.
If that wasn't enough,major league buzz in show biz quarters is that judge Kara Dioguardi(who first came on board for Paula Abdul's last year on the panel)has been fired and that Aerosmith's lead singer Steven Tyler is the front-runner to replace her. Talk about a whole lot of shaking going on there,folks!
The final tidbit of AI info is that the judges panel will go back to it's traditional three person format,sandwiching Randy Jackson between these two new players in the competitive TV game. In some ways,this is good to hear since the four judges set-up was not a great idea to begin with and as many speculated,Kara's placement on the panel was seen as the producer's wake-up call to Paula and her increasingly wacky ways. Instead of shaping up,Paula chose to ship out.
Having Kara fully take over,however,was hardly an improvement. Her off-putting manner and quickness to form rivalries with other females on the show(including guest judges and contestants alike)made her not only far from endearing,people were starting to wish that Paula was back,baggage and all there:
Ellen,on the other hand,did her best to fit into Idol's groove but her innate sweetness and lack of first hand experience in the music world just kept her a square peg by the end of last season's run. Also,she did joke about staying as long as Simon would and with him leaving(a major blow to the show,in my opinion),maybe she wasn't really kidding after all.
You do have to give kudos to Ellen for taking such a risk and being smart enough to know when to quit. While it's scary to tackle something new,staying with it despite the fact that this different sphere is not suitable to you or your special skills merely to save face is even scarier to watch.
Thanks for trying,Ellen and we'll be happier talking about the show with you than seeing you struggle to be part of it:
As for their replacements,the selections are somewhat sensible. Both Lopez and Tyler are credible people when it comes to giving music related critique strictly due to their resumes alone but will have anything really to say when the time comes?
Jennifer Lopez has bounced around in several pop culture spheres and managed to hold on to some star power but not as much as she once held. She has made plenty of career savvy moves in the past but also her fair share of lousy choices(Gigli and Monster in Law being at least two of them committed to film)as well.
In a way,it's a shame she can't be on So You Think You Can Dance. JLo did start out as a dancer in the beginning of her career and it's still her strongest card in the deck there:
Steven Tyler certainly is a guy with plenty of stories to tell but will all of his worldly(and then some)experience make him a good judge? His true strengths are in singing rather than talking,which is the main part and parcel of this gig.
Tyler may be a very good fit despite that ,however,since his past history shows a willingness to help out other artists in the field (especially up and coming ones) and a playful style of showmanship which could as fun to watch as any Aerosmith concert has been.
I'm not sure if he and Lopez would play well together,yet the odds are in favor of them doing so since Tyler's no stranger to doing his best in unexpected duets:
While the flurry of pop culture frenzy surrounding all of these new changes to American Idol is pretty interesting,the big elephant in the room is how the show will survive without the snark of Simon Cowell. Either one of the new judges might be able to fill that void but it could also be seen as high and mighty celebs sneering at regular people,if not done the right way.
Simon's bluntness and down to earth take on things made him a personality,with part of that appeal being that he wasn't a celeb in the first place.
Over time,we began to see that Simon wasn't just being mean for the hell of it,that he really did know what he was talking about and does truly appreciate real talent when he sees it.Makes you really pity the fool who brazenly thinks he or she can easily follow that act with the same audience(which has been dwindling quite a bit lately). This might herald the end of the AI era,which could be the right choice for all concerned to ultimately make.
We might as well enjoy Idol while it lasts,or until the music becomes too unbearable to listen to,whichever comes first. I just hope the new judges are prepared to deal with the plethora of bad singing that comes with the audition rounds or their ears may turn into vestigial organs as self defense,which can be troublesome once the noise stops:
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