Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

Time crunch muzzles “Idol” judges

April 15, 2009

USA/“American Idol” fans were robbed of one of the show’s biggest draws on Tuesday night, after the producers decreed that only two judges would evaluate each performance.

Calling the change “unfortunate,” judge Simon Cowell said just two judges would speak at a time because the show ran several minutes long last week. Many viewers with digital video recorders had complained because they missed the show’s final performance by Adam Lambert.

Cowell blamed the switch on “the girls” — meaning female judges Kara DioGuardi and Paula Abdul — whom he said spoke too much last week.

Cowell may or may not have been joking, but whatever the reason for the shift, it was the viewers who were punished. Cowell’s brutally honest comments are among the most anticipated moments of each week’s show, so when only Randy Jackson and DioGuardi gave their opinions viewers might have felt something was missing. Not to belittle DioGuardi and Jackson, but there’s a reason there are USA/four judges, right?

Whether the show keeps the new format next week is unclear, but it does beg the question: why did producers add a fourth judge (DioGuardi) this season if there wasn’t enough time for all four opinions?

At the beginning of this season of “Idol,” the two female judges clashed publicly after Abdul complained in a magazine interview that listening to four opinions slowed the pace of the show. At the time, DioGuardi said she was disappointed by Abdul’s comment.

But was Paula right? Has four become a crowd at the judges’ table? And are you outraged or relieved by the two-judges-per-performance shift?


My wife and I HATE the fact that only two judges speak about anyone contestant. We love the comments of both Randy and Simon and feel the show loses a GREAT deal when they both can’t speak.

Get rid of some of the pre-performance stuff about the contestants. Shorten Ryan’s after performance contents. But don’t stop the judges from commenting. I RUINS the best part of the show other than the performances themselves!

Be wise here or you will lose us as viewers sooner than later.

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

Absolutely ridiculous, I could care less what those two judges think, leaving out Simon and Paula’s opinion was the worst thing this show could have done!

******Paula and Simon are entertaining and engaging when they are giving their opinions!!!!!!!!*****

Posted by Suzie | Report as abusive

I was one of the angry DVR viewers but thank goodness recorded Fringe so did not miss it. It was not fair to Adam and it was the 2nd time he was cut off. I am glad they addressed the issue but Simon tells it like it is 99% of the time so I hated the way they chose to handle it and missed his input. Go back to three judges, and weed out the one whose opinion does not seem to matter anymore.

Posted by Diana | Report as abusive

Four judges is annoying, but Paula is excruciating to listen to – so I’m thinking they brought on Kara to phase Paula out… well here’s hoping anyway!! Simon is the only opinion I like hearing, so I hate the two at a time format, and can’t believe they still ran over! Hard to believe they can’t time it out better. If it weren’t for Adam I’d say this show was in the dumps.

Posted by Luna | Report as abusive

Simon not being able to give out his Criticisms was the biggest mistake the show can make. He’s the only judge with credible comments (I mean who can stand’s Paula’s excessive Hyperboles or Kara’s judgement blunders).

I still wonder how they even came up with the 2 at a time format when they had 3 judges for 7 seasons past and at this point of the competition they should already have the experience and knowledge on which parts of the show that they need to trim in order to save on time.

Posted by anne | Report as abusive

I missed the other judges. I thought that Kris Allen was the best last night and would like to have heard the other judges instead of Randy’s opinion which was off.

I hope they bring back the 4 judges opinion instead of 2.

Posted by Harry | Report as abusive

If the two judges permitted to critic the contestants had been Randy and Simon there would be no problem. Kara and Paula add nothing to the show except window dressing, and even that is debatable. The two women are more focused on not hurting feelings than they are about real and honest critical analysis of the performances.

If there isn’t time for Simon to speak then perhaps we should vote off one of the judges.

Posted by Mike H. | Report as abusive

I feel Idol has jumped the shark this year. Adding Kara as a judge and then the whole thing with the judges being able to save someone. That along with the fact that the cast of singers is not interesting in any way, other than perhaps 2 or 3 of them.

Idol should give back to the viewers this year and drop all the extras they thougth would bring viewers back. This viewer is very close to bailing out.

Posted by Pat | Report as abusive

the show is getting more and more ridiculous. Paula and Kara should be taken off the show in the next season. I can’t stand their lies about contestants. Is this show about the contestants or the judges? Seems like this show is more about the judges and it is getting really ridiculous.

Posted by mary linner | Report as abusive

I can’t stand only two of them juding. I wish they would just extend the one hour show to two, take out the pre singing talks with Ryan, and make each judge fit a comment in an allotted time. The thing we see the judges this year are fooling around more with each other than listening to the singing. Take one of the girl judges out, and lengthing the time the singers get to sing. One minute 30 seconds is just not enough time, 2 mins maybe. Instead of a debate about which to keep, make them write down yes or no, and show it. If they all agree yeah, if not sorry go home.

Posted by amber | Report as abusive

It’s Paula that babbles incessantly. Grasping the thread of her thoughts is difficult. She’s the one who should be checked –Simon tries to.

I agree with Peter make Ryan save some time I’m tired of his comments anyway and I don’t feel Kara has contributed many enlightening comments. Four has made it more tedious.


Four judges are too many. Drop one of the women next season. I hate only hearing 2 judges at a time. Bad idea. I always want to hear Simon and Randy.

I feel the judges “save” vote has been handled badly. It is done in a way that just hurts feelings. It is not a bad idea to have this vote, but use it more wisely, especially near the end of the competition–the last 5 or 6—when all of the singers are good.

Posted by Jackie | Report as abusive

I am utterly outraged! I cannot believe they made such a stupid decision. The critiques of the judges, particularly Simon’s, are ESSENTIAL elements of the show. Why don’t they just make the show longer. It’s two hours half the time anyway, or he’s a novel idea…go back to three judges! It’s obvious that someone new is running the show. The whole stupid thing with the judges walking onto the stage is just indulgent and annoying. The sound is always off. Whoever Idol hired to make these decisions is an absolute idiot and should be fired.

Posted by Willow | Report as abusive

of course paula was right! four judges it’s just not working, they really need to get rid of Kara; simon and paula are very entertaining to watch, the show just wouldn’t be the same without one of those two.

Posted by mi | Report as abusive

maybe it is too ridiculous!!!!and i wish i keep the original format that it the best for us .kara is very excellent and i hope she will appear on the next season show.simon is the big symbol in the show,altough sometime he saye very brutlly comment to the comtest!!!


I don’t have a problem with four judges and the various personalities are good. The reason it runs long has more to do with all the non-related outside performers they have added on the shows. I would rather see more of those in the competition and quicker eliminations.

Posted by Brian | Report as abusive

I like Kara, but we don’t need four judges. It is overkill.

Posted by Greta | Report as abusive

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