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.”