Stillwater News Press


August 2, 2010

Who cares who the next "American Idol" judge is?

The show is no longer compelling television

STILLWATER, Okla. — Do I care who will replace Simon Cowell on “American Idol”? Do I care that Ellen DeGeneres is leaving after only one season?

I’m trying to care, but I just can’t muster up enough enthusiasm for the show any more.

I used to be a big fan, back in the first and second season. I remember seeing Kelly Clarkson sing “Stuff Like That There” in season one and being hooked.

I watched the third season pretty religiously and most of the fourth season. Then I began missing shows and not really caring, until last season — was it really the ninth? — I just stopped watching somewhere in the middle.

“American Idol” is old. It’s tired. Last season was frankly boring. Adam Lambert was the only interesting thing about the season before, and he lost.

Some interesting names have been tossed around for Simon replacements — Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr., Bret Michaels, Steven Tyler, Chris Isaak. I like some of them and their music, but do I want to watch them critique aspiring singers every week? Meh.

Many of the singers who make it to the finals may be technically better than those in the first couple of seasons, but they’re too aware to be interesting. They’re more polished and assured, but that means you don’t get to see them grow. Too many of them end the season at exactly the same level they started — even the winners, which leaves you wondering why they didn’t have a contract before.

Of course, when the season ends and the winner goes on to record an album and it fails, you know why. Watching doesn’t necessarily mean buying or listening. Then the winner is dropped from his label and the only time you see him is on future seasons of “Idol.” It’s not always true, but mostly.

Taylor who? Jordin who? Seriously, I forgot all about Jordin Sparks until just now. I don’t remember anything about her. But then, I don’t even remember who competed last season. Did I mention it was boring?

So, yeah, for now, I’m not really interested in who replaces Simon, who replaces Ellen — or if the show even keeps a fourth judge.

Of course, that could change if the producers hire someone knowledgeable who will say what he (or she) thinks and if the judges (and producers) manage to find some people who (1) can sing, (2) aren’t dull as ditchwater and (3) can up their game throughout the season and come out of it better than they went into it.

I’ll give it a chance, but I’m not going to be disappointed when the show disappears in a few years.

Laura Wilson can be e-mailed at

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