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Did 'American Idol's' Judges' Panel Finally Land Its Ben Folds?

By Dustin Rowles | Videos | January 22, 2014 | Comments ()


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I don’t watch American Idol, and I haven’t since the Taylor Hicks season (who, by the way, made $2.5 million last year and has landed a running show in Vegas), so I have missed the clusterf*ck of judges that have occupied the judges’ panel since the original roster left. I follow the news enough to know that they have largely been a series of catastrophes, as American Idol’s ratings continue to dwindle and as the show’s cultural relevance erodes, taking a backseat of late to NBC’s The Voice.

That said, I’ve seen a few reviews for the new season, and they each seem to suggest that Harry Connick, Jr. has been a revelation for the singing competition, an instant success for the show, even if the ratings do not necessarily reflect that. Meanwhile, I have watched a couple of episodes of The Sing Off, strictly out of affection for Ben Folds, and while the show doesn’t do much for me, it is refreshing to see Ben provide some actual insights, real criticisms, and bring knowledge of music to bear. That seems to be what Connick is doing for Idol.

The clip below, which I stumbled upon this morning, is not enough to persuade me to watch the show, but it’s nice knowing that there’s some intelligence now on what is one of television’s most popular reality series. He’s impressive (and he’s not afraid to call out his co-judges).



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  • e jerry powell

    Okay, I am knocking Grace Adler out of this context, and I will have the rest of Leo Markus's babies. I always wanted Judith Ivey for a mother-in-law anyway.

    Music geekery is my most major turn-on.

    Take me back to my music school days!

    Oh, and Jennifer is jealous because Mrs. Connick is a damn sight prettier.

  • Orleanas

    Harry Connick, Jr. has been one of my crushes for I don't know how long or how it started, but that clip explains why. He is smart and that makes him extremely sexy. Add to the list that he sings jazz, and I don't think I'll ever get enough of him.

    Watching American Idol to get my fill of him is not gonna happen, though. But I'm glad that his stint on the show is going to get him some more exposure and possibly new fans. I just love him.

  • bimboden

    I haven't watched since Season 3 as well and I came back to get me a dose of Harry. I have to say... it's been totally worth it. I adore his candor, his musical knowledge, and his ever so ConnickJr-y smile. I'm totally in.

    postscript. Seeing Ryan Seacrest eat it over a bunch of chairs while trying to "play" football with one of the contestants has also made it enjoyable.

  • e jerry powell

    People causing Seacrest pain has always cleared my nasal allergies better than Allegra.

  • Guest

    I'm kinda surprised it took so long for Harry Connick, Jr. to be a judge. His talent and personality (not an insult / your opinion may vary) fit this kind of show perfectly.

    I'm still not going to watch.

  • Salad_Is_Murder

    Not even Harry Connick Jr., who I have loved forever, cannot get me to watch this show.

  • Naye

    I actually had some tingle down there at the header pick because there is not enough Harry in my world and that NEVER happens. But I still won't be watching lol

  • lurkette

    Let's get a couple more real musicians on there! (speaking as a musician who cringes whenever they pretend to know something about music). How about Diana Krall? Or Barry Manilow (Juilliard graduate)? Maybe even Quincy Jones, who's a performer and a producer. Or JLo's ex Marc Anthony, who is a good musician and an excellent producer as well--not just a pretty face and a good instrument.

    Wait, I forgot. They're probably not photogenic enough, and it's not really a music criticism show, it's a fantasy about dreaming about being a star, getting a shot at it, and being lucky enough to make America like you for some reason.

  • Devin McMusters

    You remind me, I live in a shell, safe from the past and doing okay.....but not very well.

  • e jerry powell

    In the past, they've preferred to use Manilow as a guest tribute-ee. At least that showed some respect for his music, if not him personally.

  • BAM

    Spot on. The premise is in the title.

  • mairimba

    Jennifer Lopez is getting LAWYERED? I might start watching this.

  • e jerry powell

    I wouldn't go that far, but teaching J.Lo. a thing or two is always good.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I haven't watched American Idol since season two, but I love Harry, and kudos to him for illustrating the astounding musical ignorance of "some" pop stars.

    The over reliance on melismas is one if the reasons I dislike most of the singing competitions on tv.

  • Yeah, my wife was watching the show last week and Connick Jr. seemed out of place in the best possible way. Smart, honest, precise. He actually judges talent rather than backstory or feelings or soul or whatever matters less than actually performing well.

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