Tools Have A Life Expectancy, Too

Well, at least one part of the dire Season 12 prediction my friends at What Not to Sing won’t be coming true: both Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are gone from the judging panel. The rumor mill is even saying that they may make it a clean sweep and remove Randy as well.

Frankly, few serious Idol watchers will miss them. Both of them rendered valuable service to the Idol franchise by providing a healthy change of pace early in Season Ten. However, by the end of Season Eleven, just about everyone had had enough. The judging all season long was an abominable travesty, Steven Tyler seemed determined to outdo Paula in the “he said what?” department, J-Lo was shaking what God gave her, and Randy… was Randy.

Final judgment on whether this is a good or bad thing will, of course, depend on who replaces them. I’m not thrilled with any of the names coming out so far. Mariah Carey is potentially interesting, but I’m not particularly interested in seeing another A-list star who could use the good publicity who will eventually leave when she’s not paid a year or so down the road. (However, Randy leaving would make a Mariah judgeship more likely. See my reasoning below.)

Adam Lambert… no. Has anyone forgotten where and what the Idol audience is made up of nowadays? He has his (very) vocal fans, and there are quite a few Idol pundits who adore him. But let’s face it: the Idol viewing and voting audience is disproportionately socially conservative. I cannot imagine a worse fit for that audience than Adam Lambert. I’m not passing any moral judgment on either group, but merely stating the obvious: they won’t get along. Idol would be stupid to court a controversy like this. I could go on with names floating around, but I suspect that almost all of those rumors have been planted by PR people, just to get the name of their charges in the media. But that’s just the cynical me at work.

I think the Idolsphere is going to be surprised with who ends up in the panel next year. If Randy goes, an A-lister is going to be necessary – and Mariah Carey fits the bill. If Randy goes, Mariah’s probably in. (I have a hard time seeing them both on the Idol panel.) I fully expect, however, that one of the remaining slots – and maybe both – are going to go to Kara DioGuardi types – people who may be well known within the industry but not outside of it. (Fox would also approve of the lower pay those types would get.) Ultimately, though, what matters is whether the new crop of Idol judges can actually do their jobs – i.e., give tough, but fair criticism when needed, but fulsome praise if it is deserved. And in that department, well… there’s no other way to go but up.

4 Responses to “Tools Have A Life Expectancy, Too”

  1. Sue says:

    I think that the judges did a good job of revitalizing Idol in their first year when there was less competition from other singing shows. They also did a better job of picking talent than was done in many years. How much better is impossible to tell since they did so little judging.

    Idol has to figure out how to avoid the WGWG winner. Every year they’ve gotten lower scores on the What Not to Sing scale. This is despite the fact that the overall scores for the season have risen over the past 3 years. I picked P2 to win as soon as the final 13 were announced. The last 2 winners, however, have had decent sales in a tough record industry.

  2. I really liked the addition of the vocal coaching that was shown this past year. I think that added a lot to improved performances from the less experienced singers so that the shows got better each week. Please don’t lose that.
    The judges should be someone interesting with knowledge of the music industry and/or performing plus an interest in helping young singers improve their performances. No Simon Cowell meanness or ego PLEASE. The judges should not try to influence voters by overpraise or over negativity. Judge helpfully – for the performers and viewers.
    One nit pick – do the singers really have a variety of songs to choose or do the producers give them a short list to pick from? Can they chose some of the songs the judges say they should sing or are they limited to a few that have been “cleared”? Let the viewers know what they had to choose from.
    The singers are the reason I watch. I like them having to sing all varieties of songs to show their vocal abilities , especially the classics that have lasted over the years because a good singer and good songs go together no matter what the genre. Bring back some theme weeks while helping the singers establish their unique style.
    Less tryouts, especially bad ones, more Hollywood week to show why some did not make it through, and equal time for each contestant asking for votes to be shown from tryout and through Hollywood.
    Finally, please do something about the voting so it is more meaningful. Try limiting the number of times someone can vote.

  3. lenk says:

    I like how when we get down to it, Idol’s about the politics.

  4. Cup of Joe says:

    Well, I knew that there should’ve been a clean sweep of the judging panel. I just didn’t see it coming that it would happen midway during the season, most particularly, before the end of the fourth epoch. But hey, if anything, the change in the judging panel is what would be the so-called “Foreshadowing Moment of the Next Epoch.”

    As for the judges, I hope that Mariah Carey actually brings something unique and useful to the table rather than the checked-out attitude of Steven, the famewhoring narcissism and pettiness to female competitors of J.Lo and the pathetic and nonsensical “musical knowledge” of Randy.
    There is a point that Idol may benefit from behind-the-scenes folks of the music industry. Or maybe someone known in the Idolsphere: think a respected blogger like Jim Cantiello, Michael Slezak or MJ Santillini. Now THAT would some power-judging group.