American Idol Grades and Predictions

Currently, I am awaiting the finale of the tenth season of American Idol (2 minutes left!!). I am not a die hard American Idol fan. Over the years I have watched some seasons and have passed on others. It all really depended on the contestants for me.
This year, I would say I was an average viewer. I watched most of the audition episodes and then watched consistently during the Hollywood and Vegas weeks. When the Final 12 was announced, I watched the next several weeks. Then, as the NBA Playoffs started and Major League Baseball opened up, I started to decrease in my viewership. I want to say right now that I predicted that Lauren Alaina and Scotty McCreery would be the two finalists. Do not believe me? Check out my twitter account (www.twitter.com/brentr7). When the Final 12 was announced I thought it was pretty obvious that they had the most talent. You could fit all of my knowledge about who can sing and who can’t sing into a thimble but for some reason this one seemed obvious to me.
A big deal about this season centered around the judges. With Simon, Ellen, and Kara DioGuardi all leaving, Idol was going to have a much different feel. Of course, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler were brought in to join Randy Jackson, the sole remaining original judge, to once again form the original three person judging panel.
At the start of the season, I really enjoyed the style that both Tyler and Lopez brought and I thought the judging dynamic between the three was quite good. There actually seemed to be chemistry and I really enjoyed listening to the three talk with each other in deliberating whether to advance a contestant or not. However, as the season went on, especially after the Final 12 was chosen, it seemed like the judges always agreed on all performances and were always way too nice to the contestants. It became a game of who could articulate their praise the best. It got very predictable and an edge to the show seemed to be taken away. However, I do think this year’s judging panel was a big improvement over last year’s. I just wish that the strength that the judging panel came out with at the start of the show would have carried on throughout the whole season.
Briefly, I want to grade the performance of each judge during Season 10 (in order of where they sit).
Steven Tyler: I admit it, I am a Steven Tyler fan. I  think the guy is cool and I grew up listening to Aerosmith. I enjoyed his energy and it seemed like he really enjoyed his gig as a judge. I loved it when he would sing with the contestants and it was kind of fun to see how cracked out he was going to look for each particular show. Of course, his downfall would be that he offered way too much praise for the contestants. Also, it was pretty corny when he started saying those prepared lines after the contestants performed (i.e. “Well hellfire, save matches, f— a duck and see what hatches!”). Still thought he did a good overall job. Steven’s Grade: B
Jennifer Lopez: Jennifer Lopez was the MVP of the judging panel in my opinion. She gave thoughtful, specific feedback. That lady knows her stuff. She came across as likeable and smart. Just like Tyler, you could tell that she took the gig seriously. Hands down she seemed to have the most knowledge of ways contestants could improve for the next week. Again though, she did not give out as much of this knowledge as she should have because she sometimes got into the rut of praising the contestants too much. Damn, she was nice to look at.  Jennifer’s Grade: A-
Randy Jackson: Clearly the weakest link from the “original three” days of him, Paula, and Simon, I feel like he is still the weakest link today. Even though he has had a successful career as a record producer, he does not have the immediate credibility that someone like Tyler or Lopez holds. Despite his lack of credentials, I just think he is flat out annoying. I get so tired of hearing him open up his critiques with the female contestants by saying “You know dude…” or “Here’s the thing man…”. Come on Randy, this sounds flat out stupid. I don’t care if it is your so called trademark or what, show a little more respect. Randy tried to pick up the void that Simon left by assuming his reputation as the “tough judge” but I think he even failed at that as he fell into the same trap as the other two judges and dished out way too much praise. Sorry “dawg,” can’t say that you are my favorite judge. Randy’s Grade: C-
I really enjoy both Lauren and Scotty. Yes, I am a country music fan so it helps. I am amazed at the poise these two have shown considering Lauren is only 16 and Scotty is 17. It is a tough decision for me to say who I want to win but I feel like I am pulling for Lauren. I feel if she wins, it will help her career more.  I think Scotty is a lock either way for a solid career/contract. He really does have a can’t miss voice. Who do I think will win? Despite Lauren’s better performance last night, I believe the teen girls who give Idol such lofty ratings will put Scotty over the top. Look for Scotty McCreery to be the next American Idol. Don’t Blink