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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Who should get paid $38 million to be a judge on ‘American Idol’?

I don’t pretend to understand why audiences find the modern Gong Show freak show American Idol so enthralling, so I don’t even know where to begin thinking about this bit of news. According to a scoop at Deadline Hollywood, the rumor that Howard Stern would be replacing Simon Cowell as a judge on that show shall not come to pass. But:

According to my sources close to the show, the new judge will be announced at the end of the current run. Whoever gets the gig will have a sweet deal: 19 Entertainment, the London-based company which created American Idol, has a budget of $38 million to spend on Cowell’s replacement.

I’ve heard some people say that they like American Idol because “some of those contestants have amazing voices!” But if audiences just wanted to listen to good music, they’d just listen to good music. I find the conclusion inescapble that audiences instead love seeing people be humiliated in front of millions of viewers. Certainly, that’s what Cowell is “good” at, isn’t it? People tune in to hear him berate contestants, right? How can the “entertainment” that Cowell provides be replaced?

Who should get paid $38 million to be a judge on American Idol? Should it be someone with the power and willingness to, I dunno, waterboard losing contestants? Perhaps Dick Cheney should be the new judge.

Any other suggestions?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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  • JoshDM

    Someone who is qualified to judge sound quality and who can let people down easy.

  • RyanT

    I think both answers to why people watch American Idol is a bit naive and/or incomplete. Yes, there are those who watch for Simon to berate audiences and yes, there are those who watch for the kids with the “good” voices, but I think the heart of the show is the journey of the contestants year in and year out. It also allows people to connect with one or two (or more), to get invested in their successes as a reality show contestant and then as a musical artist. There’s also something to being part of a national conversation. It IS the biggest show out there and so it’s the one show that at least everyone can sort of converse about. In fact as I write this, it’s reminding me a lot about the Olympics… rooting for someone, watching their journey, widespread conversation, etc.

    But back to your REAL QOTD of who they should hire to replace Simon… certainly Simon’s personality is SUCH an integral part of the show and while I don’t think they have to follow such a strict template (see other reality shows getting their own headstrong British badmouths to try and capture some of the Idol magic), they should get Simon with as big a personality as Simon.

    For some reason I keep thinking about… well if for some reason they have to replace Dr. House on House, can they even do that? Forget that he’s the title character, but how would one do that?

  • RyanT

    Snow day is making me type crazily…

    “Yes, there are those who watch for Simon to berate audiences…”

    Of course I meant to say “berate the contestants…”

    “…they should get Simon with as big a personality as Simon.”

    And similarly “they should get someone with as big…”

  • Orangutan

    they should get someone with as big a personality as Simon.

    Gordon Ramsey.

  • Orangutan

    Gah, the snow day curse strikes me too!

  • Christina

    Paul Lynde is who we really need in that spot, but unfortunately he’s otherwise engaged.

  • drewryce

    Mickey Stevenson

    Resume: former Motown producer/writer/head of A&R discovered Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves
    wrote Dancing in the Streets, etc

    Just for a change, let’s have someone in there that actually has an eye for talent

  • Lisa

    You think American Idol is bad, you’re getting the godawful and infinitely a million times worse X factor soon.

    The audition rounds of American Idol are quite Gong Show. What happens is that the producers screen all the singers that go into the auditions, so if you do get a chance to perform in front of the panel, that maybe encourages you that you’re in with a chance to go to Hollywood. I think that’s cruel – making fun of people and their dreams on national tv. I swear the panel only see a couple of singers a day – it always annoys me when they do those “I’m so tired we’ve been working since dawn” montages of the panel when they probably see a fraction of the people that turn up.

    The latter stages of the competition do throw up some great singers – I love Elliott Yamin! but I think that the dice is loaded in favour of the contestants the producers want to win – so why vote when there’s so little choice?

    Anyway rant over back to your initial question why are they just getting rid of Simon – why not a clean sweap – all Randy says is that was a little pitchy, dawg and Kara is weird. Nigel Lythgoe? he was the original Simon Cowell.

  • heh. If Paul Lynde were alive and hosting, I’d have to watch. Maybe it’s for the best that he won’t be on the show. B)

  • Muzz

    38 million?
    Oh, me clearly.

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