The Changing Face of the Reality Singing Competition.

american idol judging panel jlo steven tyler randy jackson

There was a time, ten or so years ago, when American, and then Australian Idol, hit our screens and was judged by washed-up middle-aged music industry big wigs, like Simon Cowell, Mark Holden, Ian “Dicko” Dickson and the token female on the panel, Marcia Hines and Paula Abdul. These judges were mostly respected, if unfamiliar to Idol’s target demographic. Apart from Abdul’s “Opposites Attract”, I wouldn’t have known any of them from a bar of soap.

Not only was this before Britney, J.Lo, Mariah et al. demanded millions to sit in the judging chair, but it was also prior to the influx of talent shows; reality shows in general, really. Now we have a myriad of Got Talent’s, The Voice, The X-Factor and the truckload of former and current stars it brings with it.

x factor australia judges

For every Britney and Christina, whose careers have been languishing in the pop wasteland for the last few years and could be helped by a judging role, there’s a Nicki Minaj, whose choice to judge the latest season of American Idol in the prime of her career baffles me. And we can’t forget Jennifer Lopez, who was the epitome of irrelevance prior to taking on the gig, and is now once again one of the highest earning performers in the industry (thanks, in no small part, to her franchise of perfumes), deservedly so, as I saw her in concert last year and she is the consummate performer. Closer to home, Guy Sebastian, a reality singing competition winner himself, had a sprinkling of top ten and number one hits in the last few years, but really hit the big time with the Eve and Lupe Fiasco collaborations, “Who’s That Girl?” and “Battle Scars”, respectively, released after his turn as a judge on The X Factor.

x factor judging panel britney spears demi lovato simon cowell

So the “expert” record industry execs have pretty much gone the way of Dicko, albeit with the mainstays Cowell (The X Factor in the U.S.), L.A. Reid (ditto) and Randy Jackson from the original series of Idol, to make way for younger, sexier and more relevant, sometimes with an overhaul in between each season. And then there’s just the question marks that were obviously hired ’cause everyone else turned them down: Demi Lovato, Khloe Kardashian (tenuous) and, arguably, Nicki Minaj.

I think the new season of Idol’s focus on the feud between Mariah Carey and Minaj hinders not only the show (it’s about the TALENT), but also Nicki’s career in the long run. 2012 was perhaps Minaj’s strongest year to date, with “Superbass” being certified platinum, and “Starships” dominating the airways. While she’s never had a number one hit on the U.S. Billboard charts, Minaj was infiltrating pop culture at warp speed, so to her it might have seemed logical to dominate reality television as well. But, to me, singing competition judging panels are the domain of has-beens; people who’ve been down a similar road and can offer advice on the highs and lows of stardom. Who knows? Maybe Minaj will be the one to change that.

What do you think? Do you long for the no-frills early days of Idol, or are you all for big names on the judging panel overshadowing the talent?

Images via People, Wikipedia, Digital Spy.

On the Net: Nine Lives.

Tavi Gevinson wished she was a cat, so she could have nine lives to fulfill all her dreams:

“I would have a life to fulfill my fashion dreams, one to fulfill my acting dreams, one for guitar, one for writing, one for movie directing, one for photography, one for fine arts, one for a normal life, and one for teaching…

“Also I could poop in a box.”

Lately I’ve felt like I’m barely existing (and this could be attributed to Mercury being in retrograde), let alone fulfilling the copious amount of dreams I have.

I remember at the end of my first year of uni I wrote a list of all my dream jobs, in case writing didn’t work out for me. I’d been exposed to so many new things during that first year that I was somewhat questioning my decision to be a writer. So, instead of facing my future, I pondered the unreality…

Wedding Planner.

Being a wedding planner would combine my love of aesthetics, organisation, bossing people around, flowers, location-scouting and weddings in general. Matthew McConaughey is just a bonus.

Wrestler.

I’ve loved professional wrestling for ten years now. I never desired to be a pumped-up, over-inflated ring decoration until World Wrestling Entertainment starting doing their annual Tribute to the Troops Christmas show in war-torn Afghanistan and Iraq, and I saw the dedication and emotion that goes into the mission, by both the troops and the WWE Superstars.

I still have no desire to be a pumped-up, over-inflated ring decoration; I would much rather be an actual professionally-trained, fight to the death pinfall/submission, respected female wrestler. Except for the fact that I have asthma, am not flexible, and get hurt too easily!

Historian.

After reading over-hyped works of fiction like The Da Vinci Code and The Historian, I thought being an historian wouldn’t be so bad. You get to fight vampires and unearth “the greatest cover-up in human history”. Or I could just be a character in a Stephenie Meyer work!

Big Cat Trainer.

Tavi wanted to be a cat, I wanted to train them. Not your everyday domestic housecats either.

Mia Freedman.

Okay, so I can’t actually be Mia Freedman, but I can continue in my unadulterated admiration for her. In all seriousness, her current career as blogger, author and media commentator is highly coveted, in my opinion.

Australian Idol Contestant. (I guess that would be X Factor contestant now…)

So this isn’t really a “job” per se, and I don’t really have the skills for it, ie. a voice. However, I do have a mental catalogue of the songs I would sing if I did have said skills. “Need You Tonight” by INXS, anyone…?

Magazine Editor.

When I was still interested in working in magazines in Sydney, I thought being the editor of Cosmo was definitely in my stars. Fast-forward a few years: not so much. A lot of the magazines I envisioned myself working for have gone so far downhill that I think the blogosphere and freelancing are where it’s at.

Small Business Owner.

As recently as last year I wanted to have my own small business within the next couple of years. That’s not my focus anymore, but I do see myself owning some kind of business in the future. All that’s left now is to decide what line of business that might be. It’s a Romy & Michele conundrum.

Stylist.

I would die to be a Rachel Zoe wannabe, but from what little exposure to the fashion world I have had, I’ve drawn the conclusion that it is far too pretentious for me. As Whitney Port said, “They’re just clothes.”

Okay, so some of those are more within reach than others, and some aren’t actually all that impossible. It would be awesome to be something like a big cat trainer or a wedding planner, but in all honesty, I think of myself as a go-getter-type person, and if I really wanted to be an editor or an historian, I would be fighting tooth and nail (hey, maybe I wouldn’t make such a bad wrestler after all!) to be, instead of working away on this here blog.

[The Style Rookie] Dreams.

[Gala Darling] How To Survive Mercury in Retrograde.

Images via YouTube, All Movie Photo, Amazelabs, The Business Bakery, Purseblog.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

The beauty of Milhouse.

Mercury’s in retrograde. No wonder everything in my life has been up shit creek lately: friends, family, home life and, especially, work life. Here’s how to survive it.

Lots of good stuff on Musings of an Inappropriate Woman this week, where Rachel Hills writes on friendship and sameness in the life of an expat, “lessons in feminist activism” and her thoughts on teens and sexuality on TV:

“… The New York Observer’s Nate Freeman…, bafflingly, draws from this exchange that the characters on Skins get laid more often than the actors who play them because they don’t own web-enabled mobile phones. I’d be more inclined to suggest that they get laid more often because they’re fictional, and from a narrative drama perspective, having sex is more interesting than not having it. As one of my interview subjects put it: ‘Television is not an accurate portrayal of real life, but that’s kind of what we all like it for.’”

The joys of op-shopping for party favours.

“Giving The Big Bang Theory a Fair Chance.”

Spoiler Alert: Big Love Was About Feminism All Along.”

Control underwear is “Just a Girdle By Another Name”. Thoughts?

Gwyneth Paltrow puts her foot in it… again!

One of my favourite past Australian Idol contestants, Em Rusciano, who now presents for The 7pm Project, writes—hilariously—on the self-help book for MamaMia.

Also at MamaMia, Rick Morton on the app to “cure” homosexuality:

“Mobility guilt, yours for free.

“The app is mostly a direct port of information available on the website but, importantly, it’s available while you’re out and about in case you are overcome with sexual urges and need to keep your hands busy fiddling with an iPhone instead of, you know, the same sex.”

Mel Evans doesn’t like Belle de Work Expérience‘s take on Cosmo.

Image via Simpson Crazy.