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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, April 19, 2014

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Readers Blog: David Todd

The NEW American Idol: What do YOU think?

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IDOL JUDGES TURN THEIR NOSES UP AT ELLEN?

The auditions were very much the same as in years past.  Familiar Idol-wannabees are representing year-to-year as always.  What's different is not four judges, but which four judges.  We know this is Simon's last year.  This is Randy's ninth season.  Kara is settling in to her second year as a judge.  And, of course, there's Ellen.  Funny and fresh in the taped audition segments, I couldn't help "read into" the dynamics of last night's first LIVE voting competition featuring the top 12 ladies.  While the talents was what I have come to expect as a nine-season fan, a few of the girls stand out with quirky voices, the "indy" style and a scarce few have power-pipes we have come to expect from the Idol formula.  

What I noticed as a long-time fan was both HOW the judges were delivering their critique and WHAT they were saying.  The always confident Simon Cowel was his normal cutitng, but accurate self and seems to enjoy Ellen and the schtick they play.  Howver, if you have the chance to rewatch last night or see it going forward, notice how newly-hot Kara Dioguardi and the slim Randy Jackson are using their music insider language - repeatedly couching their comments as people who have been in the studio, who can speak to tone over strength of voice and where the industry would accept these new Idols.  It's seems like it is directed at the newest judge; maybe the pros don't see the value of Ellen.  

The same comments have come from friends who ask what she adds to the #1 show on TV (beating the Olympics)?  She reaches out to an older demographic and gives that goofy, fun side that Paula brought but without the booze/drug rumors - which, granted, may have been half of Paula's appeal.  I'm not turned off by the changes.  As I said, I'm Idol hardcore and have been since day one (I helped launch the first round of auditions here in Milwaukee at FOX with KISS-FM before Idol was even a show... 100 contestants at an expo hall at the State Fair.  You've come a long way, baby).  

What do you think about the future of an Ellen-filled, Simon-short American Idol? Speak up, Milwaukee!

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