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 women 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 myriad Got Talent’s, Voices’s, X-Factor‘s 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) and 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 judges, sometimes with an overhaul in between each season. And then there are the performers so out of place that were obviously hired ’cause everyone else turned them down: Demi Lovato, Khloe Kardashian (as a host) 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.

Magazines: Lara Bingle in Who—A Prized Tall Poppy Who Polarises.

 

Following on from Being Lara Bingle’s debut on Tuesday night, Bingle is profiled in this week’s Who. While the actual show wasn’t exactly what I’d hoped it would be, the article does address some issues about Bingle’s public persona and just how hateful some people find her.

For example, one of the early creators of the reality show, John McAvoy of Eyeworks, said he “was intrigued at the obsession with her… She polarises like almost nobody else.”

But why so?

Bingle herself thinks it’s because of “this tall-poppy syndrome in Australia, it’s never ending.” True that. Just look at Australia’s sweetheart Delta Goodrem, who has apparently gotten too big for her boots coaching other young singers on The Voice.

Perhaps the most insightful comments about how people see Bingle—as someone who’s capitalising on her looks as her primary skill, and should be hated for it, I think—come from her bestie, Hermione. She says her new boyfriend, fashion designer Gareth Moody, “is able to love both sides [of Lara, the public Lara and the very private Lara], and not many men in her life have ever been able to do that. Lara usually attracts men who have massive egos—she represents a prize, she is someone who feeds their egos.”

Brendan Fevola comes to mind…

Related: Shaming Lara Bingle.

Elsewhere: [MamaMia] Delta Goodrem: What’s With All the Hate?

Image via Who.

On the (Rest of the) Net.

Tyra Banks writes an open letter to girls in the modeling industry—and girls in general—about Vogue’s new eating disorder mandate. [Daily Beast]

Hot off the heels of his first Sydney and Melbourne shows, the beauty that is Prince’s “Kiss”. [One a Day]

Scarlett Johansson sets the “toilet paper rags” straight on her body image. [HuffPo]

I’m not a big Delta Goodrem fan, but since she’s been the victim of vitriol on The Voice, I’m starting to warm to her. I may not be a fan of Delta’s, but I do love me an underdog. [MamaMia]

Terry Richardson and “hipster sexism”. [Daily Life]

A Jezebel reporter infiltrates America’s “rape capital”, Missoula, Montana.

Are All Men Pedophiles?, asks a new documentary. [Buzzfeed]

Comedian Hasan Minhaj rips Ashton Kutcher and PopChips a new one for their brown-faced Indian impersonation. Not cool. [Best Week Ever]

Magazines: A Farewell to Feminism.

 

Ahh, Nicole Kidman. You either love her or you hate her.

In her most recent magazine interview, for W, in which she is featured alongside her co-star in Hemingway & Gellhorn, Clive Owen, she discusses the HBO movie about the tumultuous love life of two of America’s greatest writers. Kidman also had this to say about her marriage to Keith Urban:

“He says I’m raw… He thinks the world is not a great place for me because he fears that I’ll be hurt. He says, ‘That’s my job: I’ll protect you’.”

Yes, because one of the most lauded and famous actresses of our time, who was married to the basket case that is Tom Cruise and played such tortured souls as Virginia Woolf, a war activist (Vietnam) and a mother who has lost her son in a car accident needs to be sheltered from the world. And let me guess? She needs her husband’s approval before she buys anything with her millions and must always have dinner on the table for him (which is a bit hard when he’s currently in Australia for The Voice while she’s fiming Grace of Monaco). Because we’re still living in the time Hemingway & Gellhorn is set, didn’t you know?

Image via Pop Sugar.