$18 million. That’s, reportedly, what it’s going to take to get vocal-powerhouse Mariah Carey to sit on the beloved American Idol judging panel.
I haven’t indulged in an episode of American Idol since its fifth season when popular-rocker Chris Daughtry, now of the band Daughtry, a very solid singer and performer, got voted off the show prematurely. With talks of Mariah Carey joining the show, however, after two seasons of Jennifer Lopez, aka J. Lo, one season of Ellen DeGeneres, only Heaven knows why; Kara DioGuardi, and several seasons of Paula Abdul, I plan to set my U-verse to record the show, which is now gearing up for its 12th season.
In an effort to increase ratings, which dropped by 23 percent last season according to USA Today, it seems that Idol has done something they have never done before -- they’ve hired a judge who can actually sing. Rubin Postaer and Associates’ Entertainment Specialist David Scardino said Idol needs to do something to address the decline in viewership and the judges are the “one thing they can control.”
Today’s artists have to have it all: the looks, the dance moves, the sex appeal, the personality… just about everything is required except a great voice.
If I had to save my life by naming two Paula Abdul songs I would die a slow death. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t even know the title to the one song I do know by her; that catchy, “Straight up now tell me do you really want to love me forever, oh, oh, oh...”song. Now J.Lo -- I love me some J. Lo -- I like some of her music, but I love her feature roles in The Back-up Plan, Monster-In-Law, Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner and Enough. Who doesn’t love her in the true-life story of Selena, the Mexican-American singer shot at the age of 23; or her fly-girl dance moves on the show “In Living Color?” I’m sure she, like Abdul, added some spunk to the judging panel, along with some sweetness, likability and immediate recognition -- I’m sure most of the show’s viewers didn’t have a clue who Simon Cowell or Randy Jackson were before the show got popular.
Lopez is a star and that’s all there is to it; she’s pretty and she’s talented, but she can’t sing like Mariah.
I’ve always thought there should have been at least one standout singer on the show. DioGuardi, like Cowell and Jackson, has had years of experience in the business and has written some well known songs for Christina Aguilera, Ashlee Simpson, Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani; still she is not known for her singing. Heck, Cowell and Jackson, know their stuff, but they can’t sing either. I like some of Aerosmith’s songs; their lead singer Steven Tyler was also on the show, but he’s not a crossover star like Lopez and Carey.
I haven’t heard anything from an American Idol winner since Jordan Sparks and she still isn’t what most consider a breakout star. Maybe we’ll have a few more Kelly Clarkson’s, Jennifer Hudson’s, Carrie Underwood’s and Fantasia Barrino’s, with the help of Carey, who has a five-octave vocal range, a 20-year music career, five Grammy awards, 18 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, more than 200 records sold and one of the most recognized Christmas albums that (I pray) will never cease to be resurrected.
With more singing shows on TV, such as The Voice and X-Factor, American Idol needs big-name starts to get on board. The Voice has three current artists: Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Cee-lo Green. Aguilera has always been the standout vocalist from the teeny-bopper scene that emerged in the 1990s, although she has in some ways trailed acts like the less-vocally gifted Brittney Spears, who is set to judge the American version of X-Factor in the fall.
Ultimately, the judges, and chemistry between the judges, fall second to the types of talent featured on American Idol. If the talent isn’t compelling then the show is a bust no matter who is judging, but it is safe to say that American Idol walks its talk -- it has found talented music idols for various musical genres since its creation in 2002.