Before we get too carried away with a stuttering phenom from Cuba or a small-town selection
screamer (seriously, was that really “Gimme Shelter” he was singing?) or a
15-year old who sang a duet of “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Keith Urban (she
was good) all headed to Hollywood … let’s take a look at the judges – female
type in this instance.

In the 12-year history of AI, counting guest judges, there have been eight female judges – Paula Abdul,
Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Lopez, Kara DioGuardi, Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Katie Perry (guest) and Mary J. Blige (guest).

That’s about all we will say about Katie and Mary J. cause they were passing through on the way to
a paycheck. But for grins let’s rank the other six:

1 – Paula. She is and always will be the benchmark. Of course she had sidekick Simon to carry her along for the ride, but if he was Desi then she was Lucy and she played the role perfectly. Much too easy on the judging (she let sympathy for weak performances stand in the way of honesty) but she played into Simon’s role

2 – Jennifer. JayLo is well … the musical background, intelligence and looks gave her a nod over the rest of the field. And, more often than not, she wouldn’t sugarcoat a review of a performance. She was sweet about negativity, but it was negative nonetheless. Saw her in person once, and when asked to describe her by my wife I proclaimed, “One word – stunning!” Wife’s retort: “We’ve been married almost 30 years and you have never called me ‘stunning,’ Oops!

3 – Kara – industry background made her highly believable. She was a slow starter but once she warmed up to
the task she was very good and held her own with Simon.

4 – Ellen – much too often not as humorous as anticipated. Way too easy on the judging. Show and Ellen just didn’t mix. Not her fault.

5 – Mariah – jury is still out. But after four hours of the show it’s painfully obvious her link to Nicki and an alleged disdain for each other needs to go away. If you’ve seen one catfight you’ve seen them all. What we don’t need here is a reality show within a reality show.

6 – Nicki – oh, my…hers is a schtick that just doesn’t work. From Trinidad the real Onika Tanja Maraj once in awhile slides into that British accent, tries to outdo herself with outrageous looks (kinda like a circus performer), offers basically nothing to the critique except trying to go against the flow of the other judges on
occasion just for shock value. Her alleged feud with Mariah started as a yawner and has already put some folks to sleep (see the dip in opening show TV ratings for example)…

So far we are four hours into it and has there been a winner or even a Top 10 finisher to surface
yet? No winner, maybe a solo Top 10 person. But there is a long way to go until May.

There were 47 gold tickets passed out on Thursday in Chicago and hopefully the emphasis of AI (they go to Charlotte, N.C. next week) shifts away from the judges and back to where it belongs – the kids…