Has American Idol Jumped The Dawg?


When a TV show like American Idol has been around as long as it has the question is bound to come up: Has Idol jumped the shark?* Or as I think is more appropriate, has it jumped The Dawg? An article posted on CNN.com sure seems to think so and they don’t hold back from pointing the blame directly at the decision to mix up the judges with the addition of Kara, dropping Paula, and then picking up Ellen:

So who are we to blame? To trace the mess, we have to go even beyond the year B.E., or “Before Ellen.”

“Two years ago, before Kara [DioGuardi] came, [‘Idol’] felt like a juggernaut, like it was indestructible, and it was going to be the number one show until the end of time, and everyone had to watch it because it was that powerful,” said Glenn Gamboa, a pop music writer for Newsday who covers the show. “Once they started tinkering, people started realizing that ‘Oh, it’s not that powerful, and maybe I don’t have to watch, or I don’t have to get all that involved.’

Abdul was arguably the heart of “Idol,” and her goofy sweetness proved a perfect foil for Simon Cowell’s acerbic wit and brutal critiques.

“I am starting to wonder if Paula was really brilliant and the one picking all of the talent,” Della Terza said.

I haven’t been the biggest fan of judge remixing with the additions of Kara and Ellen. It’s not that I think they’re bad, just that they’re unnecessary. With the pending departure of Simon would I feel better about the future of the show if Paula was still sobbing and slurring behind that desk each week? Absolutely.

But American Idol is bigger than the judges. This show is about the talent and its evolution through the season as we watch the singers grow in to something exciting. Perhaps it’s the relative absence of that potential spark this year that has everyone nervous and when it returns so will the show’s pulse. Until then we’ll have to wait and wonder, has American Idol jumped The Dawg? Vote below!

* For the unfamiliar, “jump the shark” is a phrase referring to the peak point in a television series, or as the phrase-coiner Jon Hein puts it, “It’s a moment. A defining moment when you know that your favorite television program has reached its peak. That instant that you know from now on…it’s all downhill.”




  1. I think the downfall of Idol’s popularity for me is the addition of Ellen who has no musical experience to bring, only the fact that she is a fan as millions out here who also can express opinions. Some out here can evaluate better than what seems to be Ellen’s trend so far, “I really like you.”

  2. I am fast losing interest in “American Idol” since Paula’s departure.
    I have been watching “So You Think You Can Dance”,for the past 4 seasons.In my opinion it is a far better showcase of American talent. Fortunately it has top quality Judges, as well as world class teachers in their genre, to put the dancers through their routines.All in all a far more entertaining show.

  3. In my opinion is not Ellen’s addition what is making the show go to the tank, for me is Kara who is trying to copy Paula in every way, flirting with Simon and trying to be sweet when she is nothing but a two faced person. Her attitude is aggressive toward the contestants and more to the good looking girls. Since she came as fourth judge the show started to sink… as you can see I dont like her at all. Ellen is great by the way, always positive and always trying to encourage the contestants. She finds something good in everyone even their singing is not the best she tries to motivate them. Maybe she does not possess a musical degree but she is showing kindness and humanity which in my opinion is far better than to be hypocritical.

  4. I think that didi should do lisa mitchell coin laundry or and erykah badu song. think it would suit her voice and get the crowd ging.

  5. omg! I can’t believe it. I am a little behind with american idol and have to watch it online. I have said from the beginning that lilly scott is my favorite and that i woudl love to see her do change goona come by lauren hill, but I just watched this past weeks performance and wow. can’t believe that she did. that. crazy! havent’ watched the judges comments yet, hope they are good. now that is what i am talking about. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Idol is over. With the three judges:Simon, Paula and Randy. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I think the producers forgot that when they added Kara as a fourth. she just never fit. Then Paula left and they added Ellen. That was the strangest of all. The women has difficulty completing a sentence. She is inappropriately tries to be funny (notice I said trying) she is not funny. She has no knowlege of music and that is very apparent in her comments. This is the worst Idol season ever. Usually by now I have picked out one or two favorites. This year none. Out of 100,000 wannabees these were the 24 they picked? Unbelieveable. I record so I can fastfoward and watch the disaster in half the time. Don’t ask me why I bother at all. I am not sure why.

  7. I feel this is the last year of Idol…I have been a faithful watcher for years now, and even I cannot sit through the talent this year..I keep leaving the room, and I can hear it, but I am not watching it..if someone sounds good, I step back in the room, but never for very long..the start of the downfall was when they brought Kara in..they did not need it. the show was perfect with the three original judges, and this year with Ellen, it is so weird to watch the judges..the judges seem to be competing with each other, too…if they cannot figure out how to get Paula back, then Idol is over…and what a way to go out, after discovering Adam Lambert…last year was fabulous..had everyone glued to their seats..this year, it is so boring, even I cannot stand to sit and and watch it…too bad, it was a wonderful run, but its over now..

  8. I would like it better without Kara. Three judges is enough… But, in fact, I think there should be no opinions of the judges once phone voting begins. The judges sway the voters. It should be just what it is without their comments. After all, they have an opinion just like everyone else, so we are better off not hearing theirs so we can judge for ourselves. Anyone agree?

  9. The biggest mistake was to get rid of Paula, and to be quite truthful, after Adam Lambert how can you top that, no one can match to his talents, viewers are looking, for someone exciting like Adam, someone with fantastic vocals, unique, great performer with great imagination, loveable, knows what he is al about, lsomeone who kept us glued to the screen with anticipation of what his next performance is going to be. All this years contestants, sorry guys, you are nothing new.

  10. i say start over with new judges. ellen sweet and kind she really hates to hurt anyones feelings. and simon rally dont want to be there you can see it in his eyes. and kara my god what she did to that man! is sexual harrasment, telling him to take off his shirt. every time he comes on she like a female dog in heat…

  11. who you think be a good judge 1gene simmon. 2billy joel 3 olivia newton john 4 reba 5 pat benatar. add some you think ould be a god judge i like to see gene simmon

  12. Kara is bringing the show down. There is no chemistry between the judges and quite frankly..simon and kara are very rude to ellen. I cant stand how fake Kara is with her head bopping, and snake like movement of her neck. The way she snuggles up to simon and stares at him like she is in love is so unprofessional, not to mention disrespectful to her husband. Get rid of kara.

  13. For me, Idol is all about supporting your favorite. When the ultimate favorite arrives that has the whole package, there is no other reason to watch. After so many seasons maybe that has arrived for everyone. For me, that person is Danny Gokey, he was the whole package and my person of choice…no one to compare in Season 9.

  14. What is up with Americas favorite program, or at least it use to be. Now it is so awful,I don’t record it anymore and can barely get through most performances. This is the best talent they could find?
    Ellen brings nothing to the show and Simon wants to leave….thats telling. I miss whacky Paula and Kara could’nt fill her shoes. Why fix something that was not broken? The new stage hides the audience or is it to protect the judges from flying fruit…maybe the contestants. the instruments they play during performances for the most part so downplay the singing.Is it to hide the fact most can’t sing?
    I think the show has shot itself in the foot.

  15. I think something phenomenal happened last year, that is really hard to match. Last year had sooooo much raw talent. Kris, Adam, Danny, Allison, Matt, Anoop. Anyone of them could have beat this crowd. What does it mean? Did the judges just not pick the best that was out there to compete, or did last year just set the bar so high. I agree Adam really challenged everybody, because he just had it all. Believe me, I saw the tour, and those kids were all really good. Also, I don’t understand how a talent like Jason Castro’s brother Michael, didn’t make it to the top 24, and then I hear these singers. I think this is the last year for Idol, I will probably stop listening until the last few weeks, and hopefully these kids will have a chance to grow some. So far, not good. But, it is the judges that picked the original talent, where were their brains?

  16. ASHELY (the writer) why is your blood so hot when you mention Haeley ’s name? Pls be careful next time, you may die of hatred before you know it

  17. @Tugamena: Actually, I wrote this post (see my name at the top next to ‘posted by’ ?).

    There’s no hate in this post (much less a mention of Haeley). It’s a discussion point for how fans feel about the current direction of the show and a very valid question to ask if such a great show has lost its bearings.

  18. @ Matt, Sorry that I had to put this coment here. I actually commented on the other article that Ashley wrote. And since there was a new article, I thought I had to paste it here for her to see should she not go back to the previous article.

    Sorry Matt didn’t mean any harm sweetheart

  19. Personally, I think this year, thers no talent on AI, here in Africa, we have always waited 4 AI with a lot of enthusiasm, but what do we get this year? A lot of crap.

    Sometimes I ask myself, what do these judges look at, do they see what we do not see?
    I ve seen a lot of people who sang well during auditions and in the end they didn’t make it thru to the top 24…….All we have now is a bunch of singer wannabees.

    I can say guys are much better that the ladies……. Arggg can’t even start

  20. MARTA, I agree with. One can see that Ellen is not exposed to music indusrty or rather she really hasn’t got much experience on music, however and to be honest, she s really been good so far, I take ma hat off to her.

    Sometimes these judges goes with what the 1st one says, at it is absolutely rudiculous

  21. I though my life was over last year when Idol season was over. Now that is has resumed, I don’t find myself as “attached” as before. I can’t put my finger on it but something is missing this year. Maybe it is Paula……? I don’t know but it is definitely not the same. heck I like the 70’s dude who rocked the stage and was the 1st guy to get eliminated, so what do I know?!!!!!!!!!!!


  23. Hi to Phyllis and the others who posted,

    This time Phyllis, I am not in agreement with you – usually our comments are so much alike, but I am having a hard time this year getting excited about the talent and the judges. I was for Ellen all the way when it was announced because I really like her, but so far, I haven’t heard much from her related to being a good judge – she either repeats and then adds, “I really like you,” or she disagrees, but doesn’t give the reason – she seems like she is floundering. Paula was a little dippy and had trouble getting things out at times, but she was pretty good about talent some- to- most of the time. I know I am going through Adam withdrawal, and the excitement that he brought, but there are so few this year who can sing a whole song without pitch problems or they have no stage presence at all. I was with you earlier in the season (I know it just started) when I too said, let’s see what they can do — and they may surprise us, but each week it seems like a let-down because most of them are not getting it. I think the judges have given some good critique – especially Simon, as usual – I think he is pushing them to step up to the plate.

    I like Casey, Andrew Garcia, and Siobhan – not in that order, but they stand out a little for me – I can see one of them in the top. Initially I liked Katie Stevens, but so far, I have agreed with the judges on song choice and issues with not being current.

    I really liked Danny Gokey last week – I never was a huge fan, but he was great when Idol was on tour and his singing and performance last week was uplifting, musical and entertaining – he really improved, and it shows that these kids can too. That is my 2 cents, for what it is worth!

  24. If I don’t count the judge mess and switching. And If I don’t count that there is less talent in the top 24, but only look at the most talented ones, then it’s still pretty ok. I like Siobhan, Cyrstal and maybe one other. But I guess if you are a girl hell bent on having a heart throb, then you are out of luck. And Casey while ok, isn’t one of our best idols. That leaves maybe Andrew?? But if girls can enjoy the other girls singing, we have at least 2 that are good. Not to say there are no good guy singers, but I’m saying if you want to pick the very best ones, they are girls this year.

  25. Another thing I’m noticing is the comments here are mostly from girls. And some of them say the talent last year was great, but we haven’t much this year. They must be only looking at the male side? It’s quite obvious that Siobhan is amazing for starters. Then there are 2 or so girls that could also be considered really good.


  27. Dee I loved your comment about Kara. I was thinking the same thing she looks like she’s having a female erection when her neck bones stick out and her head moves back and forth. I miss Paula so bad. I really think Simon is going because he misses her too!!!!!!! But she will be siiting along side Simon next year, and you bet my new show will be the X FACTOR!!!!!

  28. Let’s hope tonight someone, or more than one, knocks our socks off. I am waiting for someone to WOW us….. I don’t know if we will ever see another show like last Year’s and I know that I have really tried not to compare and then be let down, I am really trying to see and hear some talent. They may surprse us yet!!!

    Phyllis, I am really trying to enjoy the show, too! Let’s keep hoping for a star.

  29. I’ve come to the same conclusion as some of you: Paula was the one with the eye for talent. How else can you explain the mediocre talent this year? There are four good female singers and about four good males. If they don’t end up in the final 12, it won’t be worth watching. Also, Kara does seem to be trying to be Paula instead of being herself and it’s turning everyone off. The chemistry between Simon and Paula was just there, not forced. And everyone loves Ellen but she doesn’t bring anything to the show as a judge. Simon seems so irritated that his critiques are useless, not constructive,and Katelyn, who is very talented, gave a shockingly mediocre performance because she was trying to follow Simon’s advice. It’s like Simon is trying to sabotage the show since he’s leaving (or trying to eliminate any real competition for Crystal).

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