American Idol: Defamer suggests dropping the judges altogether!

We talked in another post today about Jennifer Lopez being ditched as an American Idol judge and Mariah Carey as a possible replacement. The celebrity website Defamer has come up with another idea – get rid of the judges altogether.

I like this kind of out of the box thinking. It’s possibly driven by Nigel Lythgoe’s recent comments where he publicly wished that there was less furore over who’d be judging this year and more focus on the contestants. Yeah, why not dispose of the judges altogether?

Well, for one thing, I wouldn’t miss transcribing their comments every week – Randy Jackson’s banalities and Ellen DeGeneres’s tiresome quips. Kara DioGuardi had a tendency to ramble a bit, but there was good advice at the heart of what she said. Simon could be a little bit more sensationalist, but his comments were generally spot on.

Here’s an excerpt from the Defamer article:

The fallacy is that we somehow need the judges for something other than padding out the hour with their pre-scripted remarks. These shows are about us expressing our own opinions with votes, and we don’t need someone to tell us those opinions are right or wrong (another fundamentally American point of view). It’s even worse because we know exactly what each judge is going to say before it comes out of their mouth. Randy says it’s “pitchy” and then says “dog” a bunch of times, Simon hates it in a mean way (and then everyone boos, no matter if what he says is the truth), Kara tries to sound smart but ends up looking like a fool, and Ellen says something funny tries not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

I’d be torn. We’re so used to the judging panel format that to see a talent show without them would feel alien. At first, anyway. What would the show do with all that time? Well, focus on the contestants for a start. Show us their rehearsals, show us proper background on the contestants – where they’re from, why they live and breathe music, why we should like them.

Why not show us the industry side of things? Give each singer a selection of original songs to choose from – from different songwriters, or give them a co-writer to create a song from scratch. Over the course of a few weeks, show us the song being rehearsed and polished and work up to a performance of that. Sell the songs on iTunes to determine who’s the most popular.

When you think about it, American Idol pioneered this judging panel format ten years ago. Maybe they need to lead the field again and drop the tedious mouthpieces giving their opinions. And if you must have a judge – why not bring in a celebrity guest each week to give their opinion on where a performance excelled and where it sucked?

I like it, Defamer. Keep up the good, original thinking!

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