Golden Ticket: Idol judges need to explain the unexplainable
Want to know why American Idol is struggling in the ratings and is losing viewers every year?
Tonight’s episode showed why.
This is not the best 15 guys and 15 girls the show could have. There’s no way. There is a specific lineup and cast of characters the producers want filled. Talent is secondary. If that statement was false, Idol would have a well organized website that told you who got kicked off, when they got kicked off and in situations like tonight, why they got kicked off.
J-Lo, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban constantly said they wanted “original voices” and people with a different sound. Well that’s complete horseshit when you break down the final 15, or 16.
There are five very specific categories for the guys and one of them only has one guy because the only thing I could put Spencer Lloyd in was the “Hunk” category. There are four WGWGs, six black dudes who all sound the same and five southern rockers. That’s not variety.
For the girls, there are two black girls with guitars – and if Majesty Rose and Marrialle Sellars aren’t in the Top 13, I’ll be shocked – four WGWGs, two white soloists, three artsy chicks and four black power singers. We don’t have country (Brandy Neelly is, OK, but she’s not Janelle Arthur). And there isn’t a lot of difference in voices in the categories except the WGWGs – Jesse Meuse is a BAB, MK Nobilette has a new sound, Austin Wolfe is the prototypical WGWG and if there is a more versatile talent than Kenzie Hall, we haven’t seen it.
Yes, it was disappointing seeing some artists go home. For all he’s been through, Savion Wright’s elimination was heartbreaking, but there’ no way from what we’ve seen that you can say the soft-singing Ethan Harris sounded better. He got in because of Connick’s dude-boner over him despite the fact that his voice is softer than Charmin and he’s got no shot of getting through. David Oliver Willis should have lubed up for tonight, because he got fucked again. I have no idea why the producers are so dead set on not having him on. I don’t think they were worried about having two black dudes with guitars, because he and CJ Harris – who got his spot two minutes in along with Casey Thrasher, who IMO shouldn’t have – have much different sounds. I just can’t figure out why he wasn’t in.
It’s hard to have a problem with the rest of the guys. Briston Maroney has an original sound – and a smoking hot mom – but he definitely deserved his slot and so did Caleb Johnson; the only thing that was weird about Johnson’s inclusion was Dexter Roberts was already in, giving the show its fill of chubby southern rockers.
The biggest bullshit was the cop out at the end. Neco Starr has been a favorite of mine since he sang on group night with Philip Phillips. I thought he deserved a spot over youngster Jordan Brisbane and daddy of the year Maurice Townsend (Not gonna put him over 90s R&B star George Lovett or my skinny soul brother man crush Emmanuel Zidor). I didn’t think Ben Briley should have been in simply because he wasn’t the best of the southern rockers. If the judges really wanted him in, the needed to kick out Dexter Roberts, Caleb Johnson or Casey Thrasher (gotta keep CJ because he’s the black southern rocker and that’s different).
Every word the judges uttered about how tough a decision it was was a lie. They’re trying to get ratings. They had no problem kicking out DOW and Savion – not to mention Ryan Nisbett, Ethan Thompson, CJ Jones and other talented dudes who we never found out how they fared – but they can’t decide between two mediocre contestants?
The girls side wasn’t nearly as bad as the guys. Marrialle Sellars got in and she deserved her spot; a lot of the hate spewed toward her was because the producers put her one audition as the featured spot in two episodes. Not her fault. Majesty Rose was a no-brainer, as was Kenzie Hall. Austin Wolfe was great in auditions and it wasn’t shocking at all to see her in.
Geena Gina Jena Asciutto (no problem stealing my joke Idol) was good. I like some others that didn’t get in more, but her selection didn’t offend me.
But the rest?
I don’t think Briana Oakley didn’t deserve a spot; problem is you can’t tell me she sounds different than Malaya Watson, Andrina Brogden or Bria Anai Johnson, all of whom got in Wednesday. At best that makes her the fourth-best of that group and fourth best don’t win Idol. Brandy Neelly wasn’t good enough. Maybe she was. Her makeup was so distracting I never gave her a shot but I’d be amazed if she somehow gets in.
I’m more curious as to some of the people who disappeared. Uh, Tessa Kate? Probably the most original sound of all the auditions, and we don’t know what happened to her. It would have been nice to know what the hell happened to Sheryl Crow lookalike Jocelyn Baker, not to mention Taylor Stearns or Remi Wolf, who was absolutely fantastic every time she was on screen. And where did Paula Hunt go? Megan Miller, who got past group night over DRI favorite Alyssa Siebken? Where’d she go?
Bottom line – if Idol wants to improve its viewership, it needs to have the judging process be more open. Fans deserve to know why someone got in and why someone didn’t. Perhaps the real entertainment media should start covering and asking more questions and being, you know, journalists instead of kissing ass.
I write these things because I’m a journalist first, a fan second, and this show would be so much better if it was covered like a pro sports team. And in pro sports, the people who make decisions have to tell the fans why they made those.
For Idol to not do this is a shame. And it’s ruining the product.