What do American Idol, America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars all have in common?
OK, well, besides the incredible ability to indefinitely kill your brain cells typically used to hold the quadratic formula. In case you were wondering, that’s why you can never remember it.
The real answer – they all have judges. But not just your everyday, stern-faced, invisible personality judges. Nope – only the strong survive in the hamster-eat-hamster world of judging.
It’s time for the judges to get judged. Will they survive the scrutiny in this final edition of Cut to the Chase? Only Nostradamus would know. (Pity that he died in 1566, no?)
Let’s be honest. It doesn’t take much talent to be a judge. To prove this, we just take a random sampling of judges on popular reality competition shows.
Simon Cowell. Sharon Osbourne. Paula Abdul. See?
Talent aside, there are certain characteristics each judge must possess. First is a dislikeable likeability.
The meanest judge on every panel is the Brit. There’s no denying it. Yet, everyone seems to love the one everyone seems to hate. If only this carried over to American politics, we’d live in a utopia.
The rude, selfish, conceited, demeaning, arrogant jerk of a Brit will say you’re horrible when you probably weren’t.
Although, if you were horrible, you might as well change into a diaper and crawl into the fetal position with a bottle. It’d be less embarrassing that way.
To counterbalance the evilness of the Brit, we need to have the “all-American.” Let me be clear – the all-American does not necessarily need to be American. They just need to want to be American, like the Italian DWTS judge, Bruno Tonioli. Or David Hasselhoff.
A sense of empathy is required to be a judge, and since the Brits typically lack it (wouldn’t you love to see Simon perform a ballad?), the all-American must be brutally honest in a gentle, calm way.
Example: “Yo, dawg, that was hott. Totally killer, totally off da hook. You’re bringin’ down the house tonight!” or “Yo, man, I wasn’t feelin’ that one. Not feelin’ it at all. Tonight’s not your night, man.”
By incorporating clichés and early ‘90s language, Randy Jackson epitomizes honesty in a performance. Tonioli carries this over to ABC as so-called celebrities prance around a wooden floor. Over at NBC, the Hoff just proves to be an incredibly confusing human.
Alas, we need the female. Every judges’ table that has three seats must include one female. None would be sexist. Two would be over-bearing. Three would be apocalyptic.
A strong knowledge of the English language and an A+ in freshman composition should be required for the female judge. But why hold FOX up to such high standards when they can hire a semi-retired ex-Laker Girl?
Occasional unintelligibility aside, the female judge fills the role of the morale booster. At times, she can be harsh. But most of the time, the female must be able to find a glimmering light in an empty mineshaft 300 feet below ground.
Through careful analysis of judge placement, we can learn that reality television is slowly dying. When we put the future of mostly semi-talented individuals in the hands of grumpy, bitter judges, do we truly expect magic? Will we become a better society through the guidance of these figureheads? Is Paula Abdul sober?
Over the course of this year, I’ve discussed numerous topics in entertainment and pop culture. Most of the time, particularly now, you probably haven’t cared. But you read, and for that, I’m grateful.
Perhaps you disagreed with my top 10 game show hosts. Maybe you researched some of my notable deaths of 2007. It’s even possible I’ve energized your undying fear of Oprah – her world takeover is looming.
It’s been an honor to cut to the chase, and I thank you for welcoming my undeniable charm and arrogance, column after column.
By the way, the quadratic formula is the opposite of b, plus or minus the square root of the difference of b squared minus four times a times c all over two times a.
Just in case you were wondering.
Chris Stover can be reached at email@example.com.