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Tinkering with American Idol
Will adding a fourth judge revitalize the show, or ruin it?
 

American Idol is getting some “long-overdue” new blood, said Andy Dehnart at MSNBC. Fox announced this week that it will be adding songwriter Kara DioGuardi to the panel of Idol judges in what is clearly an attempt to boost sagging ratings and revive the show’s reputation as a “hit-maker.” The change will instantly give Idol the “credibility, hipness, and vigor” it so desperately needs entering its eighth season.

This could prove to be a “massive misstep,” said Stuart Heritage in Hecklerspray. The “holy trinity” of the original judges—Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, and Paula Abdul—“just works.” If the producers had to tinker with the tried-and-true dynamic, the show is still such a “television sensation” that they could have signed up a music-industry giant, instead of a nobody.

There’s no doubt DioGuardi is “professionally qualified,” said Ted Casablanca in E! Online’s The Awful Truth blog. She has “written and produced pop tunes for just about everybody in the music biz.” The question is whether she is “bitch-ready.” 

Early signs are not encouraging, said Alan Sepinwall in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. In her first conference call with the media, DioGuardi “displayed little personality or spark that suggests she might be an improvement over Paula Abdul or Randy Jackson.”

DioGuardi’s not replacing anybody, said James Hibberd in The Hollywood Reporter. She’s supposed to add to what Simon, Randy, and Paula bring to the table. DioGuardi has composed songs for Kelly Clarkson, Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Santana, Pink, the Jonas Brothers, and Hillary Duff, so she should at least inject some youth appeal to an Idol audience that grows older every season.

 

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