February 10th, 2010
09:39 AM ET

Hollywood week kicks off on 'Idol'

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The first day of Hollywood week was brutal.

Folks were getting cut left and right. Some like Antonio “Skiiboski” Wheeler were not completely unexpected. Others who you had high hopes for that didn’t make it like Amedeo DiRocco were more surprising.

Then there were just the downright sad ones like the quaint Vanessa Wolfe whose back story included how it sucked to be stuck in her hometown, how it sucked to be her, how it sucked that she couldn’t even go to the local mall, etc. (you get the picture).

It was heartbreaking to watch Vanessa’s nerves get the best of her. I grew a little misty when she looked into the camera with tears streaking her face and said “I’m sorry Mama” after the judges gave her the ax.

But there were also quite a few bright spots on Tuesday’s episode.

Someone needs to just go ahead and sign Andrew Garcia to a record deal after his acoustic version of Paula Abdul’s “Straight Up.” It made me miss Paula a little bit more, if for no other reason then I would have loved to have seen her go nuts watching that performance.

I think America is going to dig Janell Wheeler if she can survive the group sing on Wednesday night. She’s all American with a funky edge to her voice.

Waitress Didi Benami took a huge chance singing a Kara DioGuardi song ,“Terrified,” but the performance was so on point and I loved it. And if Michael “Big Mike” Lynche really did get booted from the show for his dad’s loose lips, it really is a travesty because that dude can sing.

But even with all of the talent on the show, you know the real focus was on Ellen DeGeneres making her debut as a judge.

I thought she was funny and refreshing. It was nice to have some intentional humor for a change, and not a few laughs that could be attributed to a hot mess performance. Don’t get me wrong, I am still team Paula, but I’m willing to give Ellen a chance.

How about you? What did you think of Ellen’s first time up to bat?

soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Calgorn

    Ellen is a no talent hack that just wants to be the white Oprah but is to uninteresting to reach that goal. Idol is way past its prime. Stop watching this show people!!

    February 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. kathy

    I'm a fan of Ellen and I think she will be a great addition to AI. I too wanted to see more of the actual performances rather than talk and commercials but can also appreciate the time constraints. AI will NOT be the same without Simon but Howard Stern? Seriously???? I agree with other comments that someone with a background similar to Simon's would be the most appropriate replacement for him. Good suggestions: David Foster, Sharon or Kelly Osborne...but there have to be some other tremendously talented music-biz people out there. Sharon and Kelly have had some great exposure thanks to America's Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars, but let's not get side-tracked by that. They're not the only ones who could contribute to competent judging on AI. I will keep on watching...I love the show and am absolutely blown away by the number of talented people out there!

    February 11, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Flyin11

    Not a fan of Ellen. We don't need comedy relief. We need someone who knows how to judge and has a background in music. I'm not a fan of the group thing either. I think they should do away with the group thing as it doesn't help anyone. You are there for one reason and one reason only and that's to beat out the competition. Then they tell you that you need to get with 4 or 5 other people and sing together? Pretty stupid. Stupid when one or 2 other people could end up making you go home because they screwed up. When the competition gets to TV it's just you...there is no group singing...So why even have it? Maybe add in another round for something else. It just takes too much toll on people emotionally.

    February 11, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. aubz

    ....i still love paula!!!!

    February 10, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lori

    YES to Ellen....a big fat NO to Stern!

    February 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Stiffler

    Ellen has no place on the panel. She has absolutely no musical background. What a poor judge addition. Next you know it will be flava flave.

    February 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MM

    They have to kick people out if they are nervous, because it only gets worse from now on. So far, Ellen is okay. I am waiting to see what musical suggestion she has to say. The jury is out for right now.

    February 10, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. filmb

    ELLEN ROCKED!!! She is a great addition. She actually listens and pays attention to the wannabes as a whole. VERY CREDIBLE. To those who claim that Ellen has no musical background – did you ever actually hear a comment from any of the other judges that would be based in that??? – I thought so. Ellen has been in the business forever and she's the only one on that panel that seems real at the moment. With her smarts and flawless timing – can't wait for the live shows ;-0

    February 10, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Snarky

    On the news this morn they said Ellen was more of a replacement for Simon then for Paula and I agree. I like Ellen, I do, But she was a bit brutal last night. Paula was always much nicer and told people to go on with thier dreams. Ellen seemed to crush dreams like Simon does.

    February 10, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sandy

    I liked Ellen as a judge. She looked a little nervous at first. I think she was a little intimidated by Simon, but I thought she did pretty good. I think she will be an honest judge I like her sense of humor on the show and I think this is what the show needs. Kara is the judge that is nice now and lets people down easy. I didn't like her at first, but she's growing on me this season.

    February 10, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. CAROL

    Despite this being touted as a search for the next American idol, it is entertainment first, talent search second. Take it as that, and either enjoy or not. I like Ellen, and understand that she brings another form of entertainment to the show.

    February 10, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Laura

    To the comment above Sharon would be perfect, or Kelly!!!!!!!!!!

    February 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Laura

    I loved Ellen she's great on any show!! She is really underrated!! When Simon leaves the show will NEVER be the same and I think it will bomb bigtime. I think Howard Stern would be hilarious, come on people he will leave the filthy at the door, but he would push the envelope and the show will need something with Simon??? Victoria was amazing as usual, and Kara just isn't for me....sorry!!!

    February 10, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Patty

    I agree with Ryan. I won't be watching either with Ellen on the show.
    It's all about Ellen getting laughs and the attention. The show just isn't the same. But I do agree she deserves a chance.

    February 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ann

    I thought Ellen was rude, self-absorbed with being "funny" and obnoxious "step forward, step back, step to your left". Ha.

    But hey, at least Kara is no longer the worst judge.

    February 10, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Denise

    I thought Ellen was GREAT! Loved Her.....however, PLEASE DO NOT BRING HOWARD STERN to the show...if so, I am also OUT!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  17. MilwWI

    Loved Ellen! Glad Paula's gone!! Some interesting singers last night. Hope this is a good season!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Theresa

    With being the boss on her own show –didn't think she could handle playing 2nd fiddle!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Diana Ames

    I really enjoyed Ellen last night. I also loved David Beckhams wife (her name slips me) I thought she was very sincere.

    February 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  20. terry Virginia

    I say give the job to Jay Leno, he's looking!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  21. ontcan

    I think group day is an opportunity to really challenge the contestants and it's often very revealing as to their work ethic, creativity, versatility, and ability to perform and interact in groups, which happens very frequently throughout the final 12 shows and on the idol tour.

    February 10, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  22. ams

    This gal was awsome. Just what Idol needs for a shot in the arm. I'm on Team Ellen's team. You go girl........But I still miss Paula....ams, dearborn

    February 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Phyllis

    So is this what AI is all about now...the judges and not the talent???
    Personally I watch to see the kids and their talent. Couldn't give a crap about Ellen. AI has blown it ....BIG TIME!!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Danie

    I could care less who the judges are. When I watch the show, I am focused on the performers.

    February 10, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Shelley

    I think Ellen will be fine, but PLEASE, let's not have Howard Stern replace Simon! There have got to be better alternatives.

    February 10, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Sarah

    Ryan said: "Ellen isn't from the music industry. It was bad enough when they added Kara. Now her?"

    Maybe you should do a quick Wiki on Kara to check out her credible accomplishments in the music industry before you judge whether she is fit to be involved in AI. You might find her obnoxious or annoying, but she is a qualified singer and songwriter.

    As for Ellen, a true music fan is what AI has been missing all these years, and that's the credibility she brings to the table.

    February 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Jim

    Ellen was good. AI needs more performances and less talking. David Foster would be best to replace Simon. If Stearn gets the job, I'm done with Idol. Shania Twain would be good as well.

    February 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  28. joesalters

    I didn't care for for Paula Abdul at all and We will have to see about Ellen. Ellens day show would be gone if she didn't give away a bunch of stuff to her audience, I think she talks to much about her partner, She turning her show in to a gay majority following.

    February 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Susan

    I love Ellen, despite my husbands opinion! The show seemed really choppy and not showing much. They still have that God-awful group day thing. Seriously? If you are judge on you, then why do we have to have a group day? I think this every year!

    Did anyone else notice that they no longer have their Coca-Cola glasses..but they have been replace by Vita-Water?

    February 10, 2010 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Dale

    Ellen doesn't fit the mold and sticks out like a sore thumb. The addition of her has taken the show down a notch. I like Ellen and think she is a great spirit but this venue doesn't suit her and Idol will suffer for it I think...I know I won't be watching to the same extent....mind you Paula was no better.

    February 10, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
  31. Ed

    When will Idol actually have judges that are in the music industry and know what they are talking about. I am tired of non-musical judges telling people about music. Randy can also go. I think the show would much better.

    February 10, 2010 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
  32. Sara Michigan

    Loved Ellen! She did a great job, I have been excited from the beginning that she was going to be a judge and she did even better than I expected

    February 10, 2010 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  33. vallary

    I don't think the show will be the show with out Simon I really don't he is the show. but, I REALLY don't think Howard Stern will do anything for the show or network or fans, He has gottton to where he is now by having a awful mouth and he isn't easy to look either,, I think GENE SIMMONs would be good choice

    February 10, 2010 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  34. Suzanne

    Loved Ellen! She's funny and knows what it takes to please a crowd. I think a non-music industry person is a great change for the show. And, she makes Simon smile more!

    February 10, 2010 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  35. Lisa Allman

    I think an excellent replacement for Simon would be Sharon Osbourne!

    February 10, 2010 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
  36. Cory

    Ellen, OK, but the show is really watered down now from since its inception.

    Simon seems to be "over" the whole thing...you can tell he is ready to move on .... Once he is gone the judgment of raw talent will be slim...

    February 10, 2010 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  37. liz

    I really enjoyed last night. Ellen was funny and on-point. Kara was only mildly irritating. And there were several singers that I really liked. I LOVED that they spent more time (relatively) on good singers instead of train wrecks, SkiBo being the main exception.
    Good show. Reminded me why I watch every year. I had gotten so bored with the auditions that I missed the last few episodes. I may skip them all together next year.

    February 10, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  38. Tina

    LOVED Ellen! She's so real. I have to agree with Tom, though, about the Seacrest/Ford monopoly. It won't keep me from watching, but it DID get annoying.

    February 10, 2010 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
  39. Another Tom

    Ellen's debut was entertaining last night and I expect more from her going forward. Regarding "tom's" comments below, I agree that we didn't see enough of the performers but Producers only had one hour to process 200 voices. With the time limitation, Producers made the right decision to give us full performances by only the most outstanding, interwoven with poor performances by characters we met during the try-outs. Unlike "tom", I am just as drawn to watch this season as I have been in the past...perhaps moreso with the addition of Ellen

    February 10, 2010 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  40. Omaha Reader

    Love Ellen... Love AI... and now I love Ellen on AI!!.. 🙂

    February 10, 2010 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  41. rubi

    Love Ellen, i thought she was funny and serious about critiques and decision-making

    there are several very stand out singers/performers this year, didi, crystal, janell, the silver-haired chick (sorry cant remember her name), the young black country singer and a few really great guy singers too

    i can't wait to hear these people sing more

    February 10, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  42. bart barth

    Here we go again Dont watch Do watch....Everyweek we change our opinon of the show. Its great entertainment and what else is there to watch this time of the year. Go Ellen Make the show different and refreshing and Randy keep up your comments. The other two judges, well whatever.

    February 10, 2010 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  43. Beth

    Ellen did a great job last night! Her humor is so much nicer than Paula continually fighting w/Simon and acting goofy. Paula rarely let a contestant know if they were bad...even if they were she'd say either " I'm going to have to pass" or "I'm so sorry honey" which is a kind thing to say but not to the point of this competition. I think Ellen will be honest with her comments and not hurtful.

    February 10, 2010 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  44. Ryan

    Not interested. Not watching. Although Paula had her issues she was a staple on the show. Ellen isn't from the music industry. It was bad enough when they added Kara. Now her? Done.

    February 10, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  45. Hollie

    Ellen nailed it. We can't have Paula anymore, which sucks, so I am glad ellen is just being her amazing self. She is a great addition, just like I knew she would be! But if Howerd Stearn is added to the roster...I am OUT!

    PS: Poor Vanessa, I can pretty much gaurantee one of the judges told her to work hard and come back next year!

    February 10, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  46. Dave

    I was skeptical when I heard Ellen was going to be a judge, but I must say I was pleasantly surprised! I knew she was funny, but additionally she speaks her own mind, regardless of what the other three think... unlike Randy who always agrees with the opinions expressed before he makes his comments. (When Randy comments first, he usually says "Yeah... I don't kknnoooww..... what do you think, Kara?)

    February 10, 2010 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
  47. tom

    Boy that was boring – Seacrest Voice over – Seacrest Interview – Ford Commercial – poor contestants do something on the stage – Seacrest voiceover – Ford Commercial – You get the point....I thought it was "utterly atrocious" – there was no one I was given the chance to like because all the action was cut short to it in another Seacrest Voiceover – Seacrest Interview – Ford Commercial. AI sucks and I am glad that Simon Cowell will leave at the end so there is no reason to keep watching this extended Ford / Seacrest Commercial. Ellen was cut so badly that it seems she has nothing to offer to this show....sad sad sad. I will no longer watch...sorry Ford!

    February 10, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  48. headdivaincharge

    I am loving Ellen on this show! I think she is funny, fresh, and real. She does not pretend to know everything (anything) about music, she just knows what she likes. And so far, it seems what she likes is good! I am looking forward to see how this all plays out. But I do miss the drunken styling of a Miss Paula Abdul!

    February 10, 2010 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  49. dumbo

    ellen was pretty good, better than i expected. she was appropriately funny, honest in her criticism and didn't dominate the discussion. she deserves a chance, but those glasses???

    February 10, 2010 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  50. doris canavan

    loved her!!

    February 10, 2010 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
  51. Junie

    Jury is still out on Ellen. She seems to be taking it very seriously and I am not sure that is exactly what we want. I didn't see her being the kind and supportive one like Paula.. i.e., Vanessa. It is awful that some talented ones got booted because of nerves.

    February 10, 2010 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  52. dawn beeks

    I just Ellen's breath of fresh air! what a great choice to add her to the team....and I just loved the bit step forward, no go back, okay step to the left...awww you're all going thru. Just loved it.

    February 10, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |

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