By Tim Parks
All right, so yo, okay, check it out, dawgs and dawgettes, which I am assuming would be Randy Jackson’s way of referring to members of the female gender. Unfortunately, I don’t have my Randy Jackson-to-English dictionary.
But, that’s okay – neither does he! Really: “dope”? I feel like I’ve slipped into a “Hot Tub Time Machine” every time he says that word and I am transported back to the ’90s. And that can’t be – I wasn’t even born then.
Okay, diatribes and delusions aside (uh-huh), what I am trying to convey is “What is up with ‘American Idol’ this season?”
I realize Season 9 has been fraught with change. From the absence of Paula Abdul, the addition of Ellen DeGeneres, and Simon Cowell’s announcement that it’s his last season to where I think the true problem lies: The guest judges that came on board prior to DeGeneres’ debut during Hollywood Week have left us with some just-okay singers who pale in comparison to last year’s bunch of talent. J’accuse! What did you do to “American Idol”?
So let’s start there – and this is “That’s Entertainment!”
Part of the problem with this inconsistent season is there have been too many cooks in the kitchen opinion-wise. Perhaps with time these performers will thicken upon standing, as one of my favorite recipes calls for. Okay, you got me, it’s for Kraft Macaroni and “Cheese” – there, are you happy now? Are you? Great! Now I’m hungry.
Someone else in that state is celebrity judge Victoria Beckham. She had a real eye and not ear for talent with her penchant for telling people they looked great. Huh? Memo to Posh: This is not “America’s Next Top Model,” toots, as the hopefuls need to sound great. No wonder she was referred to in certain circles as “Useless Spice.”
Mary J. Blige, Katy Perry and Shania Twain, please take a step forward – you made it through. I’m not going to make fun of you, although Twain’s cougar tactics toward Chicago candidate John Park were weirdly unprofessional. You Canadians should know our sexual harassment laws, okay? Or “eh” as is the case with this gal who apparently isn’t easily impressed much. No means no!
Speaking of no: Avril Lavigne was also a judge. Why? To highlight to the potential winner not to let your career fade away so much that you are reduced to doing Proactiv commercials? Yeah, that’s punk. Naturally, I know Katy (we’re tight) did spots for having spots, too. But she’s a pop star, so it’s fine in my book – besides, she’s not a poser.
And I’ll just assume Joe Jonas and his almost unibrow are the “quiet” members of The Jonas Brothers, as I didn’t hear a lot of assessments coming from him.
And then we had Neil Patrick Harris – what can’t that man do? He’s an actor, entertainer and award show host. But perhaps he shouldn’t put “celebrity judge” on his résumé, because in the words of Kara DioGuardi regarding failed performances, “Sweetie, that wasn’t good.” As shouldn’t (and this kills me – don’t hate me, Boo!) former “Pushing Daisies” star Kristin Chenoweth. Yes, both have musical backgrounds, but c’mon, couldn’t they have brought on past contestants like Justin Guarini or Taylor Hicks? It’s not like they’re busy. Guess it’s true that opinions are like, well, you get the gist, which the celebri-judges certainly didn’t.
Many Americans also held one about “Dancing Machine” DeGeneres being selected to fill out the panel. Ellen, as she is commonly known (unless you’re Jackson, then it’s simply “E” – c’mon, Randy, sound out the rest, it rhymes with Helen) took a lot of flak about her judgment duties.
If you’re DioGuardi, Ellen is just, ahem, one of the “guys,” as she referred to her on-air. Yes, we know why she’s saying that – and her hair is just short because she is juggling judging and her talk show, so it’s simply easier to manage.
Did you think I was going to mention something else? What? 1997 and Time magazine covers are a blur to me.
Anyway, people believed she was not the right choice to fill Abdul’s vacated seat. Unfortunately, Courtney Love is too busy fading into obscurity to provide the same loopy commentary that the “Straight Up” singer gave on a weekly basis. Then again, so is Abdul.
Ellen (we are also tight) has said she merely represents we the people at home. Show of hands – how many of you are currently hosting anything other than the occasional cocktail party? I didn’t think so. But I love her and think she’s doing a great job thus far. Plus she’s cognizant of her surroundings.
How come Cowell’s making this his last season and heading up the U.S. version of his Brit hit “X Factor,” which is essentially the same show? I know a certain brunette former panelist who might need a job!
I can’t imagine a televised world where Simon doesn’t live and rip people to shreds, and I certainly can’t stomach one of his possible replacements, Howard Stern. On paper it sounds like a good fit, but Stern is just obnoxious, and, sorry, seems to be a little too perverted for primetime. He would probably keep around the hotter female contestants to see if they’d make out with each other for a nice shiny quarter.
Cowell may be crass, but most times his observations are dead on, and the program is going to be lackluster without him. And when are he and Seacrest going to “work things out”? You could cut their sexual tension with a spork – reminiscent of the first season of “Moonlighting.”
And I have a criticism to the panel of judges: when dealing with your own remarks, make up your mind! Do you want young contestants to be young? Is it only okay to give a song a makeover if it’s from Abdul’s glory days? Poor Tim Urban caught hell for his reggae version of The Rolling Stones’ “Under My Thumb” (it wasn’t that bad), while Andrew Garcia cannot seem to recapture his mojo from Hollywood Week with his cover of Abdul’s “Straight Up.”
I have termed this ninth edition of the singing competition as “The Year of the Weird Chick,” as some of the ladies have that certain je ne sais quoi. These gals aren’t your typical “Idol” types, which DioGuardi (isn’t that an airport in NYC? She’s really going places!) loves to point out. Lacey Brown, Siobhan Magnus, Lilly Scott and Crystal Bowersox all have that quality, which sets them apart from some cookie-cutter contestants of the past and present – I’m talking to you, Katie Stevens.
I have a seven-word acknowledgement to the show’s makeover team regarding Bowersox: Thank you for buying her tooth whitener! Because prior to that, it wasn’t pretty in HD.
But I think she has a great voice, as do Didi Benami (bye-bye) and Magnus. And I want a woman to win this year for sure – that hasn’t happened since Jordin Sparks in 2007.
As for the guys, why do so many people love Michael “Big Mike” Lynche? I find him annoying and feel as though he is somewhat skating on the whole “my wife had a baby during Hollywood Week” story. It’s not like he gave birth – or did he? For a personal trainer, he’s kinda, well, large, and not in a good way.
Casey James is one of those Posh Spice creations; some weeks he’s right on the money song-wise, others he’s just nice to look at. Actually, DioGuardi had a hand (or two) in selecting him and probably took a trip to HR for her “interest” in him.
The Internet is abuzz that Urban is the new Sanjaya – could it be his hair helmet? Um, yes. One of the youngest hopefuls, 16-year-old Aaron Kelly, is this season’s David Archuleta, and finally, there is someone shorter than Seacrest. By the by, his mom’s name is Kelly Kelly … moving on … Lee Dewyze is very Daughtry-esque and looks like he may have messed himself a time or two on stage, he’s always so nervous.
Listen, as an “artist” I am all about people realizing their dreams and this show is a great platform for singers to do so. However, as a consumer I don’t want to drop my hard-earned scratch on a dud performer, k? And as a television junkie, I just want to be entertained – is that so wrong? I want to be wowed by vocal prowess and performances that knock your socks off – hey, that’s where they went. In a nutshell, get it together “Idol” and I’ll stay tuned.
And that’s entertainment!