‘American Idol’ judges call it how they hear it

By Kasey Minnick
February 8, 2007

Was there ever a time when you were at a karaoke night and someone got their hands on the microphone and what came out of their mouth could not remotely pass as singing? Did you just want to yell, “Please, just sit back down and save your breath?” Well, I have felt that many times and maybe this is why I love and can relate to the American Idol judges.

Idol is one of the nation’s phenomenon reality television shows and last year alone, there were more votes cast during the series finale than in past presidential elections. In a 2006 film making fun of American Idol, “American Dreamz,” this fact was used to make fun of the world we live in today. How can a reality show pull in more votes than someone running for office? This is sad to me, but it shows where many Americans’ priorities are.

From the Grammy Award-winning Kelly Clarkson, to multi-platinum country star Carrie Underwood, and last season’s gray-haired southerner Taylor Hicks, people always come back for more. But the question is, do people tune in to watch the talent, or lack thereof, or just love to hear Simon Cowell’s English accented insults? I think it is a combination of all three, but the remarks of the judges are definitely worsening from season to season.

Take Paula Abdul for instance. I would sit and scream at the television screen because she would always give her sweet words of encouragement when the contestant was downright terrible. Please Paula, just tell them how it is. Now, season six comes along and in walks a contestant who can’t hum, let alone sing and Paula is spinning in her chair trying to hold in her laughter. Her actions could stem from the recent accusations that there is more in her cup than just Coca-cola. To the right of her is Randy Jackson, who seems to be egging her on, and Simon, to the left, who stops the singer in mid-song because it was “bloody dreadful”. I love it.

If I were in the contestants’ shoes, I would not even want to put myself into that position. I would know of the competition from the past and know I couldn’t keep up with their vocals. Some of these people have to know how awful their talents are, so if they walk in front of these three judges, they are just asking for all of the harassment they are about to receive.

I sort of feel bad for the judges in a way. Yes, they are probably getting paid a ridiculous amount of money to simply sit there, but they should not have to go through this torture after six seasons. I am an avid viewer of the show and I think that the talent has by far decreased. This is why the judges’ words are worsening. I just hope that Paula, Simon and Randy’s judgments scare off those people who think they sound good at a karaoke bar after a few drinks in them.

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Kasey Minnick

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