Friday, July 13, 2012

Say it ain't so, J. Lo...!!! ...And Tyler, too?

I awoke this morning to the wailing and gnashing of teeth over the announced departure of Jennifer Lopez as American Idol judge, following the very recent announcement of Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler's pulling the eject lever as well. Through tears in my Honey-Nut Cheerios, I agonized over the "whys" and the "How could theys", and somehow struggled to make it through the day. And, since is my first blog about American Idol in three years, it is particularly a sad day for me. OK, sarcasm complete. I knew from the get-go that J. Lo and Steven Tyler, while amusing, and--at times--entertaining replacement judges, they both had "short-timer" written all over them. I never felt a sense of permanence when watching them. They always gave me a "guest judge" feel. To me, none of the other judges such as Kara Dioguardi, or Rosie O'Donnell (or was it Ellen DeGeneres?), or any of the other solons of the singing arts they put in the magic chairs had any of the chemistry, the pizzazz, or the magic of the original three. As wacky as Paula Abdul was, and as she almost never had a negative statement for the AI aspirants, she was not just a cast member, but she was part of the show. The same went for Simon Cowell. Yes, he was "The Mean Judge", but he basically stated what most of us were thinking about the contestants, and to me represented the audience's point of view. I even sensed a change in Randy Jackson as the chairs of his former colleagues were filled with these interlopers. Once Simon and Paula had departed, it was as if her had lost his focus or his purpose. He seemed to struggle with, "should I be the mean judge now?" or "Man, J. Lo's hot, but she's just not the whack-a-doo Paula was". He also looked bored. Which addresses the larger question: What is the relevance of American Idol after 10 years and 12 seasons? Was this thing supposed to last for decades, like American Bandstand? Would there be an Old Timer's Day for Idol finalists? The last few seasons, the winners seemed to be increasingly forgettable. True, it's led to the stardom of numerous talented (and untalented) performers, but at this point in time, and with identically-formatted competition shows inundating TV programming, what is the point of American Idol in 2012 and beyond? I don't know who holds the answer to that conundrum, but something tells me the answer can be found with Brian Dunkelman. Is it true he's pushing carts at the Ralph's on West Sunset?

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