One thing’s for sure—American Idol sure knows how to get some major press in its off-months. We’ve compiled a round-up of web reactions to Ellen’s departure, Kara’s alleged axing, and Jennifer Lopez’s possible premiere as an Idol judge. Check it out after the jump, as well as our reasoning on how Idol producers have got this judge switcheroo all wrong.
MTV pontificates why Kara should stay on Idol, even though fans don’t seem to like her. “Forget likeability. As with my politicians, I prefer my Idol judges to be competent rather than someone with whom I’d like to share a beer. And Kara was undoubtedly the most competent season nine judge, both understanding and communicating the key ingredients of a successful recording artist.”
MTV also spoke to various Idol experts, and none of them seem surprised that Ellen didn’t want to stay for another season. MJ from MJs Big Blog, for example, felt that DeGeneres “always seemed like the outcast that didn’t fit in and didn’t seem comfortable giving critiques… What she said was often of little value, her jokes were stale and the more I looked back on it the more uncomfortable it was.”
PopEater takes a look back at Ellen DeGeneres’ one year as judge, which started off strongly (“after the first episode aired, rave reviews poured in from all angles”) but quickly fizzled once the live shows started (“when Ellen tried to critique a contestant, she seemed nervous and uncertain”).
The Los Angeles Times is worried that fans have already lost their emotional identification with the show once they original three judge format started being tinkered with. They do note, however, that “if Lopez had a team of writers who could script her some wonderfully irreverent material, she might be able to hold her own as a talent judge.”
EW’s Ken Tucker just thinks Fox should straight up cancel the show (which, keep in mind, still draws huge ratings). Says Tucker: “The speculation that Jennifer Lopez might become the next judge probably won’t solve the problem Ellen articulated, which was that she (and, I’d say by extension, any well-established celebrity) tends to be reluctant to criticize a contestant with the same sharpness that a, y’know, real music critic might.”
MTV spoke to some Idol fans, who seem divided on Ellen’s departure. Some declare their love for the comedian no matter what she does, while others weren’t as impressed. Says one fan, “I liked her and I’m sad that she’s leaving because she brought a sense of humor to the show, but I think that she picked favorites and that she didn’t know enough about music.”
E! Online is proud of Ellen for knowing (and accepting) her limitations as a judge, and bowing out at the right time. They also state that on Idol, Ellen never really got to shine like she usually does: “It’s not that she wasn’t funny, or that she wasn’t clever, or that she wasn’t helpful. It’s that she wasn’t any of those things in sufficient quantity to rise above meh.”
And what’s Idolator’s take on all this? Say what you will about Ellen or Kara or any of the possible new, uber-famous judges—our main complaint is with the man to the far left: Why on Earth aren’t they getting rid of Randy Jackson?
We’re not blasting Randy personally—we bet he’s a nice, charming guy behind the scenes. In fact, we’re sure the show’s producers must like him an awful lot and have a strong relationship with him, which is probably the only reason there aren’t any rumors going around that he’ll be kicked off the show, too.
Jackson might be a swell guy and a talented performer, but the gatekeeper to the dawg house has been more of a seat filler than a judge the last few seasons. At his best, Jackson’s one-note remarks, ranging from “Man, that was TIGHT!” (good) or “It was just aight for me, dawg” (bad), are just setting the mood and warming up the other judges’ critiques. Unless Randy steps up and actually attempts to deliver solid criticisms, we’re hoping for a new name—somebody with access to a thesaurus, for example—to take his spot. (Speaking of, what happened to Chris Isaak’s Idol chances? Gone so soon from the running, are we?)
Of course, we may get our wish—Jackson’s contract is up after Season 10. And if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll focus on producing more of his own reality competitions. America’s Best Dance Crew is a hit for MTV, and he’s at least got enough personality to host a show, if not judge the contestants on it.
All of this rumormongering may be put to rest on Monday, when Fox has its annual Summer Press Tour panel. But what do you think of Idol‘s changes? Does this make you excited—or at least curious—to tune into Season 10? Or are you just holding out for The X Factor now?