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American Idol Winner Voted on by America

Posted by on January 19, 2011 at 8:03 PM EST

american idol winnerAmerican Idol judges are meaningless after a certain point in the show; America votes for the winner.

Do the American Idol judges really matter? This is the question I find myself wondering as we prepare for American Idol’s big premiere tonight. The judges have been the main news topic as we head into this season of the show. With Simon, Ellen and Kara leaving and Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez coming on board it has been a pretty major change with the judges. But I find myself wondering how much they really matter to the show?

Sure, Simon Cowell was brutally honest and often times very funny. He was often the only real reason to even go to the judges. Once the finalists are selected and it is all opened up to audience (America) voting, the judges have no say in who gets sent home and who doesn’t. This leaves it wide open for outside groups like Vote for the Worst or any group put together support any particular candidate to mess with the system. So really, other than as a vehicle to eat time and make comments that might be constructive to the contestants, the judges really have no use beyond entertainment value once the fan voting starts.

You could make the argument that it is the judges who pick the finalists and who pluck these good singers out of the masses, but if you know how the system really works, the judges themselves only see a small number of actual singers.  Show producers are the ones that do the lion’s share of the work. When 15,000 different people show up, the actual judges only see a few hundred of them, show producers are the ones who sift through the masses and decide who gets in front of the judges. A person could think that those same producers could then narrow the field down to 15-20 and then let the public vote.

In the end having the judges on the show makes American Idol a better show, but I get this feeling that we often overthink their role in the show. I guess we will see this season just how much they influence the show. If Tyler and JLo do a very good job and help find and nurture some really good, talented singers then it is safe to say they play a big role in the show. If they just sit there and say the same few things over and over again (like Ellen and Paula before her) and we still get some good singers, then I think it is safe to say they are over rated.

Tune in tonight to see the new American Idol judges in action as of American Idol Season 10 kicks off.



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