Ellen--One Season and Done

Major news on the American Idol Front: Ellen DeGeneres, who replaced Paula Abdul in season 9 of the Top Rated show, announced today that she will not participate in a  second season in the judge’s chair.

From her press release:

“A couple months ago, I let FOX and the American Idol producers know that this didn’t feel like the right fit for me. I told them I wouldn’t leave them in a bind and that I would hold off on doing anything until they were able to figure out where they wanted to take the panel next. It was a difficult decision to make, but my work schedule became more than I bargained for. I also realized this season that while I love discovering, supporting and nurturing young talent, it was hard for me to judge people and sometimes hurt their feelings. I loved the experience working on “Idol” and I am very grateful for the year I had. I am a huge fan of the show and will continue to be.”

I am a rather disappointed fan girl, but I do agree that this was not her cup of tea. Idol needs a David Foster/Harry Connick, Jr. type who really knows musical performance and industry inside and out and who isn’t afraid to be critical (but not as cruel) as Simon Cowell.

The Producers would also be wise to go back to a three judge format so that the judges have adequate time to critique each contestant… and hopefully end the show on time. When comparing the judges on Idol and my favorite talent show America’s Got Talent, it is like night and day. Piers, Sharon and Howie are critical when needed, praiseworthy when deserving, and truly show their knowledge of the business and how each act fits and doesn’t fit into it.  The Idol judges should really take note of what they are doing and retire boring phrases such as pitchy, and not feeling it, etc. The viewers can pretty much recite the Idol critiques from heart, and that is not a good thing.

Also, when the judges give a critique, they don’t need to go the next week and critique the contestants for DOING WHAT THEY WERE TOLD TO DO. The season 9 contestants were so confused this season, it was rather sad. And it is things like that which led to a major slip in ratings.

My wish for Idol: Reinvent yourself. Take the best of the best of the best and give them unified and thorough criticism to make them the best entertainers they can be. If American Idol can find judges that can do that, they will return to the top of Nielson Mountain… and remain there for a long, long time.