If you are like I am, you've come close to deleting this train-wreck of a season of Fox's "American Idol" off your DVR queue and reassigning the time to other shows. Why do I keep watching? I keep thinking something is going to happen to turn things around. I keep believing that it's just me, or the timing, or that this is just like last season and the season before that it took time for the singers to gel with the format and start to shine. Maybe they will, or maybe they won't. One thing is for certain, Randy Jackson, who used to be the voice of reason between two extremes, was not ready to fill Simon Cowell's shoes as the voice of the industry. He's undoubtedly capable of selecting great talent, but he doesn't seem as comfortable giving candid feedback, and this is really hurting the show, the contestants, and the 'enjoyment' factor of the show. Who didn't love to hiss at Simon's sometimes scathing scrutiny? His candid commentary and obvious favoritism toward his, well, favorites, annoyed the masses, yet it brought reality to this often unreal experience. In the history of "American Idol" it has launched careers of some great ones – usually people who didn't win – and also delivered some lemons – some intentional like last year's break out "Pants on the Ground" which was worth about a billions laughs.
My sincere hope in delivering this blog with my attempts to capture the essence of what made Simon's commentary so useful and great is to offer both the contestants and the fans that which has been sorely missing. I'm less qualified than Ellen DeGeneres was last season to actually offer critiques when it comes to music industry creds, but hey, you cannot blame me for trying. My personal opinion is that Simon actually made the show. He made it because he was realistic with everyone: contestants, fans, screaming fans, mothers, bloggers, journalists, and Ryan Seacrest. This season there has been nothing but love, love, love. That might be a kinder, gentler experience for the contestants and their devotees, but it's also been boring, boring, boring to watch. The contestants are not growing as much and their performances are lacking. The use of stage clutter as I call it also seems on the rise making it harder to tell if these people are truly capable of carrying the stage alone. We are down to eight, and some contestants still perform like a deer in headlights despite getting more, at least visible, support off screen from the industry experts. There should be a lot more real growth by now. Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler are incredible talents, but the producers made a terrible decision in selecting them to be the new judges. Instead, they should have culled through last year's guest judges used during the tryouts and picked someone to fill Simon's shoes and someone to fill Cara's / Paula's / Ellen's shoes leaving Randy to fill his own and quite well. In absence of that, at least these comments may at least bring a chuckle and maybe some reality to the critiques.