I am of the mindset that American Idol will never be the same. There was something magical about the original judge’s panel: Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson. Granted, I am no Paula Abdul fan (for the love of everything holy, what is she on???), but somehow those three personalities together made American Idol a cultural phenomenon. And let’s not diminish its importance in the history of music. The discovery of Carrie Underwood alone makes me grateful for its existence.
Let me also say that I am a HUGE Ellen Degeneres fan. She has a certain likability that is impossible to match. She is consistently laugh-out-loud funny and manages to poke fun without being mean-spirited. A rare gift in a comedian. HOWEVER, and clearly she agrees since she stepped down noting it “wasn’t a fit,” American Idol is not the correct format for her talents. The ideal format for her is her daytime talk show where she runs the show and shines every day. So, despite my love for Ellen, the fact she is voluntarily stepping down and being replaced by Jennifer Lopez is welcome news. Always welcome news: that Kara DioGuardi is being fired. She wasn’t working and the four-panel judge format wasn’t working.
So the new panel is rumored to be: Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and the tried-and-true Randy Jackson. I don’t know much about Tyler’s demeanor, but I’m hopeful he’s an interesting character. And if you’re sad Ellen is moving on, here are five reasons JLo will make a better judge and therefore make it a better show:
1. Lopez has been there and done that. Is she the most talented singer/dancer/actress in the world? Kindly, no. But you know what she is the best at? Working hard to make dreams come true, which is what American Idol is all about. It seems JLo single-handedly willed herself from a big-bootied dancer on In Living Color to an A-List superstar. She’ll be able to spot the contestants who will do whatever it takes to make it.
2. I’m betting the notorious diva can be kind of mean. And let’s face it, Ellen doesn’t have a mean bone in her body. And don’t we want, in the absence of Simon Cowell, someone to be a little mean? Or maybe that’s just me…
3. Just like Ellen brought some well-needed buzz back to Idol, JLo will certainly do the same thing. Whether the buzz (and viewership) continues remains to be seen.
4. Lopez may bring a touch of the crazy like Abdul did. Not a “am I drunk or prescription-pilled up” kind of crazy, but perhaps some eccentricities that will be entertaining. Ellen doesn’t have a touch of the crazies. And JLo doesn’t have a “I need to be liked” personality — she’ll be happy to spar with the other judges. At the end of the day, Ellen just really really wants you to like her. Sort of like that Sally Field Oscar acceptance speech.
5. While Ellen is a personality and “star,” Lopez is a full-fledged international sensation — a true celebrity like the old days of Hollywood. Her wardrobe alone will be fascinating to see. The fact she’s willing to do Idol (perhaps to have a somewhat regular schedule to be with her twins?) will bring additional credibility to the show.
What do you think of the new lineup?