With all this switching and swapping these reality show judges are doing lately, it's hard to retain the Talent Competition as a legitimate guilty pleasure. As reality shows in general begin to gorge their way out of existence (only to make room for more), we'll wonder how the world of reality judges became such a chaotic scene. The celebrity coaches, mentors, and experts are dancing on our nerves - and here's why…
Answering the call…
Have you noticed that the judges making remorseful exits are also coincidentally kicking off new tours or promoting a new album? It's natural that celebrity musicians would want to continue their work. But it makes us wonder whether their addition to the panels was just a grand and clever gimmick. Part of the reason we loved "American Idol's" humble beginnings is because Randy, Paula, and Simon anchored the show. These days, the judges' popularity seems to dictate how the entire season will go.
The contestants are mere afterthoughts.
With all the slicing and dicing going on with the pros, it's hard to keep our attention on the people we're supposed to be scrutinizing: the contestants. Sure, we're still rooting for our favorite amateur performers. But there can only be one winner. And unfortunately, many of the good ones get lost in the shuffle. This is probably why the singers you often root for end up on the Island of Lost Geniuses. For the most part, we only hear about them if they've done something scandalous or have pulled a major coup in the music world.
If the world votes on the winner, what's the use of having judges? We hate to believe that the "screening" process we're watching is an entertainment formality. As much as we're willing to admit that half the stuff we see on TV isn't real, we still hate hidden agendas. Take season 4 of "The Voice" for instance, whose sudden lean in the country music direction sparked conspiracy theories. Could America suddenly have renewed love for country fare? It's possible. But it does give the voting process cause for pause.
We're also starting to grow fuzzy on just exactly who's qualified to tell hopeful superstars that they need to go back to the drawing board. Is it the number of years in the business? Records sold? Biggest fan base? The criteria for a proper judges' panel has become a debate more entertaining than the actual performances.
It should probably be addressed that these mega-watt celebrity collaborations are also horning in on the talent. Guest appearances are a necessary evil on reality competitions. We expect the pros to serve as examples. But somewhere along the line, we've grown more excited about the musical guest surprises than we are about discovering the next great talent.