I spent a good portion of this evening trying to first verify and then figure out how I felt about the news that Ellen Degeneres has been named the newest judge on American Idol, replacing my hero, Paula Abdul.
On the one hand, I love Ellen. My love of Ellen goes waaaaaaaaaaaaay back to the mid 1980's when I happened to catch her on an HBO Young Comedian's Special. She was the only female comedian on the special, and I can remember sitting and just laughing my ass off at her wry humor. So, yes, I loved Ellen before she was gay! I was a fan of her sitcom. I paid money to see Mr. Wrong. (I did!) While I haven't spent a tremendous amount of time watching her talk show, that mostly stems from the fact that I am working when it's on and, to be quite honest about it, I'm just not that big of a fan of talk shows. I've caught some of it here and there and have consistently found her charming, and I wish I liked talk shows more so that I could watch her.
Ellen is a charming woman -- engaging, funny, and intelligent. She is inspiring in her strength and passion. I've often said that, if I were a lesbian, she would be my absolute dream woman (well, Ellen or Queen Latifah -- I have quite a girl crush on Queen Latifah). She has found a way to be funny and sarcastic while still maintaining a level of respect and empathy that is quite remarkable and rare in most comedians.
So that's the one hand......
But here's the other. Ellen is a comedian. She's not a singer or a musician. The biggest claim to musical fame she has is her goofy dancing. So what exactly does she bring to the judge's table on a show designed to judge musical talent? I mean, isn't this really just like asking, say, me to be the fourth judge? And if that's the case, why didn't Fox just ask ME? I mean, seriously! I bet I'm a helluva lot cheaper than Ellen, and I suspect that my ability to judge music is akin to hers. Okay, Ellen will probably have an easier time controlling herself sitting next to Simon (I think he's dreamy, so sue me!). And Ellen will probably be able to keep herself from bitch slapping Randy Jackson when he says for the 999th time in one episode, "Dude, you can sing." (We know, Jackass. That's why they're on the damn show!) So maybe she's a slightly better choice than I would be.
As incoherent and rambling and enabling as Paula could be (God love her), the fact of the matter still remains that she was able, every once in awhile, to give a legitimate, technical critique. (I felt like she really stepped up her game this past season.) And aren't there at least a few other washed up 80s/90s songstresses who would be willing to shepherd along the next generation of stars of VH1's "Where Are They Now?" I personally was dreaming of Cyndi Lauper and her neon orange hair sitting there between Simon and Kara. Or what about Taylor Dayne? Jody Watley? Deborah Gibson? Tiffany? Robin Sparkles?
At this point, I'm curious enough to be excited and yet still a bit wary that my beloved Idol may have jumped the shark so hard that it's about to crash into the lifeguard tower. And when it does crash, where am I suppoed to get my blog fodder come January-May? Huh? Ponder that, Ginger Fans!!