Critiquing Randy Jackson — Can Judging Jump the Shark?
You had to feel for Kris Allen last week after watching his stirring rendition of "Falling Slowly" on American Idol. The crowd went nuts with each soaring note, and later we found that Paula Abdul, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell were quite pleased with his performance. Unfortunately for Allen, Randy Jackson critiqued his song first:
"A'ight, so check it out man, uh, dude — for me, for you tonight... I gotta tell you something, man. I don't know, it never really quite caught on for me. And yo, I love that song, but for me, it was pitchy from note one, for me."
Were we all listening to the same song? And for us, Randy, that critique could have been a bit more coherent — for us.
It's with increasing annoyance that we watch the four Idol judges criticize the contestants. At least Simon and Paula have been known to give helpful suggestions, when they can pull themselves away from drawing mustaches on each other. Kara can also offer some wisdom, when she isn't just parroting others' remarks. And then there's Randy...
Tuesday night, we hit new levels of frustration with Mr. "I worked on that record with Mariah Carey" Jackson. Several of his (rambling) criticisms made exactly the same point: He hated the song or arrangement, but loved that the competitor could really sing.
Jackson to Allison Iraheta: "Yo, a'ight, so I got two things: Where as for me, personally, I didn't love the arrangement — it was a little over-indulgent for me — [massive booing from the crowd] — But wait! Let me just say this: hang on, hang on. Let me just say this: You're one of the best singers in this competition."
Jackson to Matt Giraud: "Yo, a'ight, yo Matt, check it out, dawg, check it out. Bad stuff first: Didn't love the song choice, didn't love the arrangement, but this is... Let me say this: You can really sing, dude."
Jackson to Anoop Desai: "Little bit of a rough last note there, but let me just say this, man — what I've been saying all night. What I'm really happy about is that — sometimes we forget that this is a singing competition. The arrangement, all this kind of stuff, I didn't really love this one either, even though you were trying ... but dude, you can sing also!"
How are these criticisms helpful? We should hope that every aspiring Idol at this stage of the competition can sing. Doesn't Jackson have something more to contribute?
What do you think about Randy as a judge on American Idol?