Monday, July 16, 2012

Here Comes the Judge... or Judges...

by Jennifer AlLee

When it comes to reality TV, I enjoy shows where people have some kind of talent. (This is why I never, ever watch The Bachelor.) I've watched American Idol since mid-way through the first season, back when the hosts were Seacrest and Dunkleman. (Okay... fess up if you have to Google "Brian Dunkleman".) While Ryan Seacrest and the basic format of the show have stayed the same, the judges have changed, and keep on changing.

Both Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez recently announced that they are leaving the show after two years. This saddens me because I thought they brought a nice energy to the show. Even Randy Jackson seemed a little peppier with those two around. (By the way, it's rumored that Randy might also be stepping down as a judge and moving to mentor status. Stay tuned for further developments...)
So who's going to sit in those judges' chairs now? Mariah Carey is said to be on the short list, which would mean that she and her husband, Nick Cannon (America's Got Talent), would both be on TV talent shows. Some folks are saying AI needs to pull in a younger audience by bringing in folks like Britney Spears or Demi Lovato. Other names being thrown around are Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, and Adam Lambert.

Personally, I don't think any of those are good choices. Frankly, when it comes down to it, the judges don't really make a lot of difference in the competition once the public starts voting. The main roles of the judges are to (A) narrow the field down to the top 20, and (B) provide feedback to the contestants and entertainment to the audience. So, keeping that in mind and assuming there will need to be three new judges next season, here's who I would like to see:

Dolly Parton
Why? Because Dolly knows music. She's been in the business forever and she's worked with everybody. She's been on the show before as a mentor and did a bang up job. Best of all, the lady has a way with a phrase. Dolly can find new ways to tell people they don't sing well that no one's heard before.

Jimmy Iovine
Not only does the music producer know what he's talking about, he's entertaining. Jimmy's been great acting as a mentor and commentator the last two years. I say it's time to put him behind the big table!

Russell Brand
Russell could read the directions for changing smoke detector batteries and make me laugh. Yes I know, we had Ellen on the show, largely for comic relief, and it didn't go well. But that's because she was afraid of hurting people's feelings. I don't think that would be an issue for Russell. He's going to say whatever comes to mind, and for the most part, it will sound nice and friendly because of his English accent.

There you go... that's my dream panel. How about you? Who would you like to see as a judge?

JENNIFER ALLEE believes the most important thing a woman can do is find her identity in God – a theme that carries throughout her novels. A professional writer for over twenty years, she's done extensive freelance work for Concordia Publishing House, including skits, Bible activity pages, and over 100 contributions to their popular My Devotions series. Her novels include The Love of His Brother (Five Star, 11/07), The Pastor’s Wife (Abingdon Press, 2/10), The Mother Road (Abingdon Press, 4/12) and the upcoming A Wild Goose Chase Christmas (Abingdon Press, 11/12). She's a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, Christian Authors Network, and the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance.
Visit Jennifer's website at


  1. Oh fun, Jen! I'm NOT a big Idol fan at all, although it usually ends up on because someone else in the house is watching it.
    Given these choices, it's a tie for me between Dolly, who would provide her own version of comic relief, and Russell Brand, who is cute AND funny in that strange English way, although I don't know if anyone would take him seriously.

  2. Niki, I agree about not taking Russell seriously... but that's the point!

  3. Wow! If i could pick my dream judges? Dolly Parton was a really good suggestion, although once you have your own theme park, I'm not really sure you still do much reality tv. LOL. Could we get a Beatle and maybe Bono?

    Can't believe you never watch the Bachelor! That is prime romance novel research right there. You should try some season when it's a bachelorette. It's much more palatable to watch 25 guys swarming around one girl than the reverse.

  4. Dina, there's something about shows like The Bachelor, Toddlers & Tiaras, Dance Moms... anything that has people parading out the worst in them, that makes my skin crawl. I know the idea of The Bachelor is to find love, but how can you really be yourself when you know the camera is on you all the time. Having said that, I LOVE Survivor, and the folks on there often act like idiots. To each his own!

  5. Dolly would be a gold mine all around on Idol.Several years ago I lived and worked in Pigeon Forge TN.I was not much of a Dolly fan before that, but I have had a tremendous respect for her ever since. She is smart, savvy, gracious, talented, and incredibly big hearted. There's a reason why Sevier County TN loves her - she's earned it.

  6. this is a great thought provoker, Jen. I just figured that the show would die a painful death with a new turnover but you know, it might get better instead. I had my years of watching it and enjoying it with my mom but haven't seen it in many seasons.

    I'm clueless as to who is big in the music world but I did think Simon was the most trustworthy as far as talent went.
    As long as we're making this up, I agree with Dina and say Sir Paul and Bono and David Foster and Britney Spears and Dolly Parton and then I'll be watching :)

    I gave up my favorite reality show, The Amazing Race, long ago. oh well.

  7. I admit it. I forgot about Dunkelman.

    I like the suggestion of Dolly Parton too. Honestly I have no idea who else, except if they want to draw the teeny bopper crowd Justin Bieber (not that they could afford him) or one of the guys from One Direction.

  8. I will totally miss Steven Tyler. There's just a certain sweetness about him that showed he truly wanted to help. Who can replace him? And Jennifer Lopez - I really enjoyed her, too, for basically the same reasons.

    I don't think Adam Lambert has been around long enough to be a good judge. Maybe in the future. Not yet.

    Arsenio Hall? I really have no clue. I don't know that I'll watch without Steven. :-(



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