Ellen Makes Her Debut on American Idol

by Ruth Anne Boulet

Welcome back, American Idol fans. I haven’t been blogging this season, but now that Ellen is making her debut, I have to weigh in.

Let me start by saying I like Ellen. I remember going to a house party when she came out on her sitcom. However, I wasn’t thrilled when she was selected as the new judge on American Idol. I want actual singing critiques, not wisecracks. I don’t want to see her do her little dance or crack one-liners. I’m hoping she’s got something to say about how people sing.

So we’ve got 181 people in Hollywood. Hollywood week whittles that down to 24. That means I almost have as much of a chance being in the Top 24, and I’m not even there.

Ellen gets a special introduction by Seacrest. She claims she’s qualified because she knows the pressure of trying to entertain a live audience. Ok. I’ll grant you that Ellen, but being an entertainer is only part of the equation. That’s the part of the equation that usually gets filled in later.

First comes whittling away those folks that only sound good in comparison to the crappy people around him or her. Now, in a room filled with some great singers, those that are just good sound drastically worse. At this point, a great singer can learn stage presence. Someone with great stage presence can’t necessarily be taught how to sing.

Throughout the episode, Ellen doesn’t offer all that much. She makes an occasional quip, but overall this first day of Hollywood week seems to just want to introduce us to Ellen as a judge. She doesn’t make a lot of waves, although she does make a quip to Simon about leaving once his sits next to her. It’s a very non-offensive mellow way to start Hollywood Week.

Hey — does anyone else think the Vitamin Water glasses look like beer with a massive head?

By the end of this episode, about half of the contestants are gone after singing a portion of one song. The ones that are still in the running towards becoming America’s American Idol will have to suffer the humiliation of the group sing. It looks like a painful experience, but great TV. We’ll see how Ellen fits in to that bit of great TV tomorrow.