Wednesday, September 09, 2009

American Idol: Ellen DeGeneres is the new fourth judge, replacing Paula Abdul

At NJ.com, my take on the big TV news of the day/night/week: Ellen DeGeneres is replacing Paula Abdul as the permanent fourth judge on "American Idol."

33 comments:

BigTed said...

How weird... though I can kind of see this working out. She'll basically be a witty fan on the panel, presumably making the kind of remarks we're thinking at home. (Okay, she'll probably be nicer than we would be.)

But I actually think this makes the role of someone like Kara Dio Guardi more important. She was brought on to be a musical expert who could tell the contestants exactly what they were doing right and wrong from a technical and performing perspective. At least, that's the theory... I understand that a lot of people don't think she's filled that job very well at all.

Coco Channel said...

Seriously? When she was a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance, she kept saying all of these one-liners that had nothing to do at all with the dancing. I love Ellen, but after watching her "judge" for two hours I wanted to gouge my eyes out with a seam ripper.

Now she's going to be a permanent judge? She'll be as much use on Idol as Kelly Rowland was to The Fashion Show. Despite all of her antics, at least Paula was a singer.

Gladly said...

Seriously? I thought this was some kind of Twitter hoax. I don't quite know what to think. Ellen's pretty entertaining, but I prefer my AI judges either bitchy or crazy, and Ellen's neither. There's no place for well-intentioned earnestness in the Idol format.

Undercover Black Man said...

Looking forward to Ellen on the show.

Dreading more of Kara.

Nicole said...

Considering Paula's comments weren't coherent half the time, at least Ellen will be funny. I didn't mind her on SYTYCD, but that is a more technical show whereas you don't need musical training to notice if someone is off key. Randy and Kara are supposed to be the musicians anyway, so let them critique on a more technical level. I still don't see the point of Kara, and I wonder if she will be the next Dunkelman.

I suspect Simon may be a bit jealous that he won't be the biggest star on the panel, but it is a great ratings idea, at least for the initial curiosity factor.

I do hope Ryan and Simon stop with the homophobic comments, and maybe Ellen's presence will nip that time waster so that the show doesn't consistently overrun its time slot.

Anonymous said...

For about 10 seconds, I considered watching Idol because Ellen will be on it.

Nah. Still hate this show. It's best viewed on fast-forward, the last few rounds, just dipping into the performances and omitting all of Randy's jive 'dawg' and 'pitchy' and Simon's "I certainly can't do it myself, but I can critique you in a really hostile way."

Jeez, Ellen, why would you want to get into this viper's nest, especially as it lapses into irrelevance as it ages??

JD said...

Agreed with Coco, I think Ellen's schtick is going to get old real quick if she does the same routine she did on SYTYCD. I really love Ellen, but she mostly just sits there in awe of having the best seat in the house when she judges (or at least did when she judged this summer). However, it's not like Paula gave the most eloquent advice either, so Ellen's contributions will be a little more understandable I guess.

Either way, I doubt Simon or Randy can use the "This is a singing competition" line anymore now that they have a comedian on the judging panel.

Robert said...

How to finish killing a franchise in one easy lesson.

(Best Show)Watch said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mario said...

She's a talentless hack with no respect for people who are better than her.

http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/strikebreaker_ellen_blasted_Wp0z90X8X7Fcetby2gYJBJ

That link has this story about how she treated Mitch Hurwitz, who was the head writer on her crappy sitcom before creating Arrested Development:

one former, unidentified, writer for her 2001-02 sitcom, "The Ellen Show," reports she treated her writers "like [bleep]."

"We'd watch her in rehearsals, smiling and winning us over with her charm and comic timing. Then the director would yell cut, her face would fall, and she'd level a glare at the writers. 'Why do you keep writing these unfunny jokes?' she'd hiss.

"Ellen frequently eviscerated the head writer and . . . boasted of the changes she'd make in season two, starting with his firing."


There are also stories of blatant plagiarism as well as the fact that she crossed the picket lines on the very first day of the writers' strike.

Let's be clear here: She thinks Mitch Hurwitz isn't funny. Her eye for talent and the hacks on AI deserve one another.

LA said...

I'm with Mario.

BigTed said...

"BestShowWatch": So you want the critic for a major newspaper, one of the best and most successful TV writers in the country, to contribute his "scribing talent" to your nonexistent website for free in exchange for "a bigger audience"?

Congratulations -- you've officially signaled the end of writing as a legitimate career choice. Sorry, kids, it's law school or nothing!

Mike F said...

Ellen was obviously right about the writers on her sit-com...because it got cancelled. Demanding excellence is an admirable quality in a leader.

As for this hire, I love it. Music is for the people, not only the music industry insiders. I'm confident Ellen will be a value-add to the show. But we'll see...

Now if only they'd consider removing Kara or at least her microphone...then I'd be happy.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Congratulations -- you've officially signaled the end of writing as a legitimate career choice. Sorry, kids, it's law school or nothing!

BigTed, this site has been spamming my blog with near-identical comments for the last couple of days. Ah, the internet...

erin said...

I'm with Coco, although I'm a much bigger fan of SYTYCD than AI, but I just found her to be a completely pointless judge on that show. Again, singing is different than dancing, but i think she'll only be there to add a joke or two and tell them they look nice. Snore.

srpad said...

I don't watch Idol so I don't have a dog in this hunt but I also don't live udner a rock so I can't help but be famiiar with the show and this seems like a strange choice. Ellen seems like much too big a personality for this gig. What they needed was a blank slate. Basically another Paula who was cheaper.

Hiring Ellen for Idol reminds me of Rosie joining The View and look how that turned out.

Brandy said...

On the flip side of the spam argument I always link through to NJ.com when it's a newspaper piece and they aren't getting a lot for that ad rev... but it's more than they would be getting if I never went to nj.com... and I never would were it not for the link backs. So, eh,

Newspapers need to figure out how to make money on the internet and I'm rooting hard for them, but having one of your columnist being read by a larger audience and directing people back to the newspaper's online content... that's got to be a good thing.

Horace the Fly said...

People like pie, and people like pickles, but that doesn't mean people like pickle pie. Ellen and AI are the wrong fit.

Rick said...

I'm right with you on this one, Alan. Four judges is one too many, but I would rather have Ellen than Randy or Kara.

Ellen is definitely funny enough to intentionally make up for Paula's unintentional blubbering. I would expect that she'll be okay stepping back to keep the show on time- If I remember correctly, her Oscar hosting gig was one of the first ones to come in on time.

Reading the comments over at NJ.com reminds me how nice a community you've built up over here. Sorry for your rough day over there, but congrats on eking out a civil corner of the internet over here.

Robin said...

I agree with Rick. I was really surprised at the comment issues at NJ.com.

I think srpad's Rosie analogy might unfortunately be accurate. I really like Ellen, but I can't imagine her interacting with the other 3 judges in a way that will mesh well. To me she's better and funnier as a one-person show.

But I haven't watched Idol since S2, and this probably won't make me change my mind. I still can't stand Ryan Seacrest.

Hatfield said...

Geez, what is wrong with people over there? And another question, why is it that most NJ.com stories have few to zero comments, but they all come out of the woodwork for American Idol?

As for Ellen's hiring, it may actually encourage me to watch the show. I was already planning to watch Katy Perry's turn (albeit on mute) and NPH's because he's brilliant, so why not?

Craig Ranapia said...

Hiring Ellen for Idol reminds me of Rosie joining The View and look how that turned out.

Um, apart from the fact they're both lesbians what exactly do they have in common? If anything, Ellen has always caught s**t for being TOO DAMN NICE -- not something, love her or hate her, I've heard many people say about O'Donnell. :)

And while I really want Ellen to do well, I have a horrible feeling this is going to end up like dancer/actor Paul Mercurio's sacking from the Australian version of Dancing With The Stars. Apparently, after seven series he just wasn't bitchy enough. Apparently, he was operating under the delusion you could offer a tough critique of the performances without being an abusive jerk.

Alan Sepinwall said...

If anything, Ellen has always caught s**t for being TOO DAMN NICE -- not something, love her or hate her, I've heard many people say about O'Donnell.

Except, you know, for that whole period of several years when she was known as "The Queen of Nice."

Alan Sepinwall said...

That said...

Hiring Ellen for Idol reminds me of Rosie joining The View and look how that turned out.

That worked out quite well for The View, which had a massive boost in ratings, and a creative reinvention that still guides it even now that Whoopi has replaced Rosie. If Ellen has as positive an effect on Idol, the producers will be laughing all the way to the bank.

Craig Ranapia said...

Except, you know, for that whole period of several years when she was known as "The Queen of Nice."

Um, your mileage may vary (as the kids say) but running a talk show where the host stops just short of giving her guests a lap dance and a muffin basket on air doesn't really fit my definition of "nice". :)

But snark aside, I'm just not seeing how the Rosie analogy works. If AI is looking for Simon Cowell with a uterus, then they've made the worse. call. ever. But, personally, I don't think she could be worse than the endless train wreck that was Paula Abdul, and just because Ellen's public persona isn't a queen be-atch doesn't mean she's not going to have a worthwhile (and interesting to watch) POV to bring to the table.

Craig Ranapia said...

One other thought: What will the presence of the most famous gay woman in America do in terms of Simon and Ryan Seacrest's ongoing homoerotic/homophobic banter?

Based on Simon Cowell's previous form, I suspect it will have no effect whatsoever. :)

srpad said...

"Um, apart from the fact they're both lesbians what exactly do they have in common?"

Wow. To be honest the fact that either was a lesbian never even occurred to me. I think you are letting the sludge from the other board color what I wrote. All I meant was they were both extremely big personalities that could easily dominate their new home to the detriment (whether actual or perceived) to all.


"That worked out quite well for The View, which had a massive boost in ratings, and a creative reinvention that still guides it even now that Whoopi has replaced Rosie. If Ellen has as positive an effect on Idol, the producers will be laughing all the way to the bank."

Interesting. You could easily be right but Idol, cash cow that it is, seems like a more delicate environment than a daytime talk show. I wonder if the potential disruption will help it thrive or tear the house down.

For the record I guess I need to say that I enjoy Ellen. I don’t watch her daytime show but I have liked her comedy; this just seems like a strange choice especially for a show that seems so afraid to mess with its own formula because of its success.

Craig Ranapia said...

srpad:

I'm absolutely (and sincerely) mortified if you thought I was accusing you of any kind of homophobia in your comment. Truly, not where I was coming from but please accept my apologies for giving that impression.

My point was that, apart from both being gay, they're such different people I wasn't seeing the comparison between Rosie on The View and Ellen on Idol. But I get where you're coming from now, and thanks for the clarification.

srpad said...

No worries!

Rick said...

"To be honest the fact that either was a lesbian never even occurred to me."

"please accept my apologies for giving that impression."

"No worries!"

That exchange, right there, is why this is such a nice place to visit.
Cheers to both of you for being civil on the web. There should be an award.

Groovymarlin said...

I don't watch Idol anymore, but I love me some Ellen. In fact, Ellen being on the show just might get me to give it another try. Maybe.

I also was appalled by the tenor of the comments on NJ.com. Even the ones you let through were kind of iffy, Alan (like the first one, where the dude called Ellen "fella"). Ugh, what is WRONG with people anyway?

TomV-Piscataway said...

Ellen's main problem will be that she never shuts up! How in the world are they going to have 4 judges this year and leave enough time to get performances in. I was looking forward to 3 judges again. Now she'll be doing that confused, bumbling schtick of hers, which has no place on this show.I really hope I'm wrong.

Sarah said...

I have to agree with so many upthread....She was *awful* on SYTYCD. I was dreading her comments after each performance, and I usually love Ellen. I think this will be a terrible fit, at least if she's even halfway how she was on SYTYCD.

Paula had some real knowledge of the industry and of singing, even though it was hard to understand what she was saying a lot of the time. I think her absence will be felt.