How Do 10 Seasons Of ‘American Idol’ Judges Rank On Our Kara Meter?
Not only is American Idol over for the year (congrats, Scotty McCreery), we’ve also hit upon an AI milestone: the end of the first ten seasons of the reality singing competition. It’s been quite a long haul since Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul first sat down together in front of TV cameras. And over the course of the show’s history, more than half-a-dozen faces have come and gone at the judges’ table.
Much like when we singled out the “Sanjaya” of each season of Idoland ranked them accordingly, we wanted to honor these noble entertainers who’ve attempted to steer America’s singing youth down the right path by ranking them on our special scale of “Karas” (named, of course, after divisive former judge Kara DioGuardi). We’ll let you decide whether a high score of Karas is a, uh, good or bad thing. (Note: it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out.) Judge: Randy Jackson Time Spent Administering Idol Justice: Ten seasons and counting (1-10)
With ten seasons of America’s favorite TV pastime under his belt, Randy is top dawg. And we’re not just talking about the fact that he’s the only judge to have lasted the entire duration of Idol — we also ranked him with the least amount of Karas! Whether he’s engaging in total Randy speak (“Yo, you know what was wrong with that performance? NOTHING!”) or telling it straight to the contestants (“For me it was a little pitchy”), Jackson has proven to be the durable rock of the ever-rotating lineup of judges on AI.
Judge: Simon Cowell Time Spent Administering Idol Justice: Nine seasons (1-9)
Oh, we love you, Simon, but let’s face it — you made America fall in love with your lethal mix of arrogant swagger, brazen honesty and the droll, bitchy quips dripping off your wicked tongue. And then you went and left us after Season 9. (To be honest, Simon appeared to have mentally checked out sometime around Season 7.) Yeah, we dig Steven Tyler and J.Lo, but really they’re just rebounds until we get another Cowell fix this fall via the US version of The X Factor. Just don’t break our hearts twice.
Judge: Paula Abdul Time Spent Administering Idol Justice: Eight seasons (1-8)
As far as the female judges on Idol go, Paula is forever our girl. And we really don’t need to go into why, do we? This clip alone says it all:
Of course, as entertaining as she is, we’re slapping the “Straight Up” songstress with two Karas for also ditching Idol, like Simon. Guess we’ll have to wait a few more months to see if those two can re-create the magic — not to mention their unique brand of icky/fascinating sexual tension — on The X Factor.
Judge: Kara DioGuardi Time Spent Administering Idol Justice: Two seasons (8-9)
Poor Kara had the thankless job being the first new AI judge to come along while the original three were still on the show. And not only did the songwriter spar with contestants like Bikini Girl, she also got into a bit of a dust-up with guest judge Katy Perry, with whom she had previously co-written Kelly Clarkson’s hit “I Do Not Hook Up,” during the Season 9 auditions. Whether she was difficult to get along with or America just didn’t like the song she wrote (“No Boundaries”) for Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, something about Ms. DioGuardi just never clicked. But, hey — at least she had a rockin’ bikini bod, right?
Judge: Elle DeGeneres Time Spent Administering Idol Justice: One season (9)
Hon, we love you. But stick with gettin’ jiggy in the aisles for housewives.
Judge: Jennifer Lopez Time Spent Administering Idol Justice: One season and counting (10)
On paper, J.Lo and Steven Tyler joining American Idol for its tenth season to replace three departing judges seemed like a last-ditch resort for a series that appeared to be ailing from as many woes as the record industry itself. What we actually witnessed on our TV screens over the past four months proved to be quite the opposite. Lopez and her fellow AI rookie not only had us saying “Simon who?” by the end of January, they also filled the aging dog-and-pony act with something we never knew we’d been missing all these years: kindness. True, the “On The Floor” singer comes with a lot of previously-accumulated tabloid baggage. But let’s get down to brass tacks — who didn’t enjoy the weekly fashion parade she rocked at the judges’ table?
Judge: Steven Tyler Time Spent Administering Idol Justice: One season and counting (10)
We’ve got nothing but love for Steven and his bad-boy rocker ways. He’s like the naughty kid who’s constantly swearing in class, hitting on the teacher and telling all the underclassmen (and underclasswomen) where babies come from…while wearing a three-foot-long fuchsia scarf! We’ve come to consider the Aerosmith frontman as the anti-Simon of this season; his mood is always up and his sense of humor is at times both off-color and infectious. Hell, we even love “(It) Feels So Good,” the new solo single he premiered on the show a couple weeks back. Our one gripe: get just a bit tougher with the contestants, Steven. They’re not always great.
Who’s your favorite judge to emerge out of the first ten seasons of American Idol? Let us know below!