As reality TV competitions attempt to stay cool in a seriously over-saturated marketplace, networks keep aiming for bigger and bigger names to sit at the judges’ table. With Fox recently signing Britney Spears and Demi Lovato, and Howard Stern making his judging debut on NBC, it’s clear that the celeb status of judges is reaching new heights. But how many of these are actually qualified to give criticism on the matter at hand or know how to do it in an entertaining way? Whether you love these celebrities or hate them, they need to stick to what they do best: anything but judging.
Maybe we’re being a little unfair by deciding Spears will be awful as a judge on The X Factor before she even starts filming, but we’ve just got a feeling. There’s no doubt that she’s got a name known the world over and had considerable talent in the prime of her career. But considering the spectacle she made when she lost her marbles (and hair), and the fact that her recent hits show off the talent of producers and synthesizers rather then her singing ability, we’re not sure she’ll have much constructive criticism for the talent show’s hopefuls. Honestly, most of us would rather judge her than watch her judge someone else.
His premiere on America’s Got Talent wasn’t a disaster, but he also didn’t make much of an impact. We’re torn between arguing that the renowned shock jock’s just not a good fit for the family-friendly talent show or that he really should’ve brought the heat and envelope-pushing jokes a little bit more. While he did comment on a male stripper’s man boobs and small package, he was mostly what many celebrity judges end up being: a nice, boring seat-filler. Even if you’re not a Stern fan, you have to at least give him credit when he’s on his radio show for being memorable. We doubt we’ll be able to say the same after his stint on America’s Got Talent.
When Paula Abdul left American Idol, presumably to spend her days drinking spiked Coca-Cola in the comfort of her own home, beloved comedian Ellen DeGeneres took her place. Most people thought she would be great as a new judge — she’s funny, spirited, and entertaining. But something about that Idol stage took away her sparkle. Ellen’s definitely talented, but she had no background in singing, so she had very little feedback to give to contestants. She was also afraid to give any negative comments, even when a performance was obviously bad, so you could always expect her to say something sweet, followed by a funny little joke if the audience was lucky. Ellen saw the mismatch and left the show after just a season to concentrate on her delightful talk show, Ellen. Thank goodness.
You would think the celebrity judges (or mentors, as they call them) on the fashion design show, Fashion Star, would be people the public consider fashion icons. So why choose Jessica Simpson, a girl who is routinely blasted in the media for her poor fashion choices? Her comments on contestants’ designs are far from insightful, often just saying that she wants the outfit for herself — not necessarily a compliment since the outfits she wears are normally criticized. We’ll admit she’s got a great line of shoes, so maybe she should stick to that and … well, whatever else it is that she does.
We haven’t seen much of anything good from Suri’s mom since her Dawson’s Creek days, so it wasn’t too surprising when she left a lot to be desired as a guest judge on So You Think You Can Dance. She was pretty, of course, but couldn’t give technical feedback that the dancers needed. She could’ve just as easily not been there and had the same effect. Luckily, the show’s format has celebrity judges on for just one or two episodes each, so no one was subjected to Holmes’ feedback for more than a night. We’d like to say we’re glad she went back to her day job of making movies, but considering her most recent role was the Adam Sandler movie, Jack and Jill, we’re thinking she just needs to take a break from everything.
Technically, America’s Next Top Model is pretty much Banks’ day job, but can we just get her to stop already? She started out annoying and has only gotten more ridiculous as the show has progressed through 18 (yeah, you read that right) seasons. Banks makes up new words to explain what she wants contestants to learn (smize, anyone?), pretends to be a photographer, and generally just gets on everyone’s nerves. Considering the show’s winners really haven’t achieved any fame, we say it’s time to take the show and Tyra off the air.
Especially when combined with fellow The Voice judge Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine is hard to take. The four celebrities on the show act as both judge and coach who choose singers for their team. Since they are in competition with each other’s teams, Levine and Aguilera are prone to bickering on stage, talking over each other, and just generally acting like children. All the singers have a wealth of knowledge about technique and the industry, to be sure, but Levine and some of the other coaches could use some coaching on how to be entertaining without crossing the line into irritating.
If there’s one celebrity judge we definitely want to stick to her day job, it’s Judge Judy Sheindlin. Her day job is shutting down sassy idiots with ridiculous legal problems, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. The other reality show judges on this list could learn a thing or two from Judge Judy about being smart, classy, and tough when it’s called for. In fact, why don’t we get Judy on one of these talent competitions?