It was announced early this week that Ellen DeGeneres would be filling Paula Abdul’s spot on American Idol as the fourth judge along side Randy, Kara and Simon. This is an interesting choice by the Idol brass considering that they have been bringing in guest judges like Katy Perry and Joe Jonas for the audition rounds. Ellen is a funny lady but what does she know about music? Her only connection to the industry is that she plays music on her talk show and dances.
Ellen’s a safe play–a very middle of the road comic, with large appeal despite being a lesbian. She’ll be nice and warm towards the singers like Paula, but at least Paula had a successful career before befriending her pharmacist and could at least pull things out like pitch, melody and stage presence. It will take at least eight episodes for a chemistry to develop between the four judges, specifically Ellen and Simon, and the inevitable awkwardness that will proceed their rhythm will be amusing TV. My only hope is that Ellen calls out not only the contestants when they suck, but also Randy and Kara. The “dawg” shtick was lame three years ago and Kara needs to get over herself–anyone with GarageBand can be a successful songwriter. I think the Ellen experiment with inject some new life into the show, but as we already knew, Simon carries the show and is the only judge that matters.