There’s at least one of the American Idol judges that isn’t overly pleased with the current arrangement on the judging panel this season (Season 8) – namely the number. It seems that Paula Abdul liked things better when there were three judges. “Eye On Idol” reports she told OK magazine that the fourth judge just interrupted the flow of things.
In an upcoming edition of OK magazine (March 9), Paula Abdul opened up and said that, although she likes working with new judge and longtime friend, Kara DioGuardi, it takes too long for the comments on the performances with four judges and “we tried four judges before and it doesn’t work.”
American Idol tried on a fourth judge for size back in its second season. Radio personality Angie Martinez didn’t even make it to the airing of the show. This was attempted while Nigel Lythgoe produced the show, but over the summer he said that he didn’t like the idea of four judges and would have never hired Kara DioGuardi.
From a viewer’s perspective, four does not work, either. It adds an element of 50-50 that should not be there. In the past, where two of three judges were needed to send the contestant forward, the arrangement worked because the third judge was a tie-breaker. With four, there is the opportunity for an even split. Then what? Debate?
Then there were the episodes where a fourth judge was brought in as a guest judge. This was only done, if memory serves, on shows where the judges were allowed input but the final decision rested with the voting audience. In cases such as those, their input was simply another opinion. With the addition of DioGuardi, it is not only an opinion but an impediment.
Simon Cowell believes the fourth judge has slowed things down a bit as well. Last week’s live performance critiques went on far too long. “I’d almost fallen asleep at one point because it was taking so long to get to me,” Cowell told USA Today. “So we’re going to have to speed things up a little bit.”
And there has been a break in the chemistry on American Idol this season as well. The confrontations now look like everyone is either ganging up on stone-hearted Simon Cowell or it’s a boys-versus-girls issue. In the past, with Randy Jackson as the voice of moderation, he often sided with Paula Abdul against Simon Cowell but it never looked or sounded like Simon-bashing. (Not to say that Simon doesn’t deserve a little bashing now and again, but the look and feel of it is decidedly off.)
And this is taking nothing away from Kara DioGuardi as a judge. She is actually rather good at it and her opinions aren’t based on heartfelt sentiment that run to syrupy soliloquies and affirming nonsense. DioGuardi comes off as somewhat of a female Simon Cowell, but with a little more kindness. Her arguments with Simon aren’t as amusing, either.
Does this mean that Paula Abdul could be leaving the show? It is a possibility, considering that her contract with American Idol ends this season. She has hinted before at leaving the show. She made it plain to “Eye On Idol” before Season 8 began that when Simon Cowell left the show, she would follow.
Whether or not the producers of American Idol are listening to Paula Abdul (and remember: one of those producers is now Simon Cowell, so…) will not be clear until Season 9, so Paula’s opinion is just one of many in the middle of Season 8. But if it counts for anything, this avid American Idol viewer agrees with her…