Last night we got the ‘official’ news of what anyone who remotely follows popular television programming has known for weeks – Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are joining Randy Jackson to make up the panel for the new season of American Idol.
As I have stated before, my family is of the opinion that Idol has been on a pretty drastic slide since … well, even before Paula left, since they started having more obvious ‘plants’ (Carly Smithson) in the line-up.
But with the departure of Paula, the foundering uselessness of Kara Dioguardi and the bizarre choice of obvious non-music-person Ellen DeGeneres and move to four judges … it became dreadfully tiresome. There were always at least two people saying the exact same thing, and too much focus on the judges.
With Simon leaving, Ellen quitting and Kara being dumped, there was an obvious need for someone to fill in the table. The hope was that rather than more of the same they would try something new … and in a way they did – but not the way most fans of the show would have liked! Let’s look at the table … and figure out the roles:
Randy Jackson – he is a musician with some past production cred, but no one anyone ever heard of before Idol. And since he is known more for his quirky lines such as ‘dawg’, ‘you worked it out’, ‘wot’, and so on, as he was for ever having anything useful to say. Randy will be Randy.
Steven Tyler – the singer of a band that has had more bad years than good and is largely living off the legacy of great songs from 35-40 years ago and a half-dozen hits since, and has backed into pseudo-‘legend’ status simply by existing so long. Tyler himself is not particularly articulate, and I remember thinking back in the early 70’s in Boston that he was just crazy and/or drugged out like Peter Wolfe of J Giels. To this day he still never sounds coherent, insightful or musically intelligent. In other words … Tyler will be Paula!
Jennifer Lopez – What does it mean when someone who has just completed poorly guarded negotiations showing how difficult and demanding she is, including being reportedly dumped over ‘diva demands’, spreads statements about how she is NOT going to be a diva? Um, yeah. I see ‘J Lo’ like Kara – drastically oversold. She had a few hit songs, a few mildly successful films, and gets entirely too much attention for some reason I can’t discern. Since we already have Randy and Paula, American Idol needs Lopez to be Simon … but as she has already said “I don’t think I will ever, as an artist, put down another artist.”. So much for that. Here is my guess: Lopez will be Kara!
And so we have useless, incoherent and the dawg. Wow … doesn’t THAT look promising.
Actually it is even worse: Steve Tyler is going to be as old as the GRANDPARENTS of many contestants, hasn’t had a real hit in a decade, and most recent success is based more on nostalgia than quality. Jennifer Lopez is one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood while holding the distinction of never having a movie make more than $100 million! She is also out of touch with the current pop music scene and has struggled since having a few hits a decade ago. She hasn’t had a top 10 hit since 2003, and her 2005 album opened at #2 and immediately plummeted – never to return to the charts! These guys are as bad as the has-beens they have mentoring!
So what would I do if I could have filled those two chairs? Quite simple – pick the two best guest judges from last season – Katy Perry and Neil Patrick Harris.
For me Katy Perry was a revelation – she was smart and insightful with useful criticism that was pointed without being mean, and always spot on. I mean, here is a woman who is smart enough to know she has very limited natural talent in the field she makes a living – she doesn’t sing well, doesn’t act well, and doesn’t dance well. She parlays her limited range and bubble-gum sexiness to great advantage.
Perhaps because of that she had razor insights into what the contestants offered and actually said things of value. While the others (OK, Randy and Kara) fawned over every sob story, she said:
“This is not a Lifetime movie. … Everyone’s got an amazing story.”
“Don’t ever put someone through because you feel bad,”
That’s right – she was handing out judging instructions … as a guest!
At the same time she is quirky and you never know what she might say – or wear! She would make a great combination of Simon and Paula! Unfortunately now she’s too busy selling her new record, getting married, and showing her cleavage to Elmo:
As for Neil Patrick Harris … I don’t think I was alone in assuming that he would go the usual way of the teen star – drugs, rehab and a life of mediocrity. Yet he just keeps getting better every time he opens his mouth! I need go no further than what he said when preparing to be guest judge:
“My goal today is to shatter the dreams of thousands. If I can make two or three dozen people cry, I’ll have done my job,”
Yet he was also very articulate with his criticism and a very warm person. At times he was Simon, and at other times he reminded me of the 2 or 3 times Kara said something in her first season that reflected why she got the job. Plus he brought a sense of style and wit that the show has never had.
But alas, he is signed elsewhere … and was never asked.
I think that they should now seat the judges at a round table with a vortex insignia in the center, because with this trilogy of irrelevant and clueless judges, American Idol will surely complete its descent into the death spiral!