I never thought I’d say this about a show launched by Simon Cowell, but the ‘American Idol’ judges need to stop being so nice and start being helpful. Harry Connick Jr. — you, too!
The March 12 episode of American Idol was easily the best showing we’ve seen so far from our finalists — but I thought that the judges were way too soft on some performances that definitely could have used some constructive criticism. For example, as literally thrilling as it was to see that Majesty Rose was going to sing Idina Menzel‘s “Let It Go,” she kind of missed the mark and the judges didn’t call her on it. At the beginning of Idol‘s 13th season, Harry Connick Jr. was one of the most helpful and constructive judges we’ve seen on the show since, well, ever, but he seems to have softened — which is ultimately detrimental not only to the finalists but to the integrity of the show overall.
‘American Idol’ Judges Need To Start Giving More Constructive Criticism
On last week’s results show, Harry gave an explanation for what has seemed like “harsh” judging, telling us that he’s not going to “belabor the fact that [the contestants] are great,” which I thought was totally valid. It’s not helpful for the finalists to hear that they’re each shining stars — the competition is getting down to the wire and the hopefuls need to hear about what exactly in their performance was good, and why, and what was bad, and why.
Also, when the judges give blandly positive criticism, it’s not interesting television — it goes in one ear and out the other and I sometimes can’t even recall what was said. And it is literally my job to watch the show.
Keith Urban‘s critiques are kind of all over the map as far as their level of helpfulness, and it’s a given that Jennifer Lopez will be almost relentlessly positive — so I really rely on Harry for his criticism of the performances, and I’m sure that the voting audience do, as well! So, Harry, what happened between this week and last?
‘American Idol’ Judge Harry Connick Jr. Needs To Be ‘Harsh’ Again
As a point of comparison, the judges on The Voice may sometimes give negative criticism, but it’s always framed in a helpful way that allows for the contestants to grow and improve for next time. Last night on American Idol… not so much. When Jessica Meuse sang Simon & Garfunkel‘s “The Sound Of Silence” and told Ryan Seacrest that she’d sung the song a million times before as it has been a regular feature on her set lists, how did the judges not call her out on that? She should be trying to grow as a performer; not falling back on old standbys.
And the judges were super complimentary toward Majesty Rose for her performance of “Let It Go” from Frozen, but she totally missed a few of the high notes. And that’s fine! I love Majesty, and I love “Let It Go” — but the judges should have told her where she went wrong, because I’m not the only one who thought she missed the mark. (She should definitely make it through tonight’s elimination, though. If she gets cut, America and I are going to have a talk.)
How Simon Cowell used to judge and how Harry judges are two totally different things; where Simon was often unnecessarily harsh, Harry has been — up until now — the voice of reason and has been able to pinpoint for the contestants where their performances went wrong — or went great! I have to wonder if he’s buckling under the pressure to be “nice” in the face of the many “boo”s he receives from the studio audience. But come on, Harry! Stick to your guns!
What do you think, HollywoodLifers? Should the judges try harder to deliver more constructive criticism? Has Harry gone soft? Be sure to vote and let us know!
— Amanda Michelle Steiner