Everyone knows the story of Charles Darwin, best remembered as the guy who espoused evolution. The most important thing we learned from him is that all things, over the course of time, must change. For example, just as the dinosaurs evolved into the species we know today as That One Shark That Was in Jaws, so American Idol has evolved from A Show Where People Go to Become Famous into A Show Where Already Famous People Go to Die.
In the beginning, American Idol created Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and American Idol saw Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and they were pretty good. In the seventh season, American Idol rested, which pretty much went on for the next three seasons until both Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell left and it looked like American Idol was just about dead. Two thirds of the original judges were gone, leaving only sad old Randy Jackson, the judge everybody least cared about in the first place; the show hadn't crowned a relevant winner in six years; and there were more important shows to watch, such as the hilarious CBS comedy $h*! My Dad Says, which, sadly, was canceled mid-season. In the meantime, American Idol found its saving grace, and it came in the form of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, the latter of whom was both terrible and wondrous to watch, if only by virtue of the fact that he came on to, like, every chick the show put in front of him. And now, after just one season, both J. Lo and Ste-Ty (just coined that one now) are leaving the show. And that's perfectly okay.
Idol is evolving quickly these days — for the past several years, the show has seen judge shake-ups every season — but all that indicates is a deeper, more important evolution at play: Idol is no longer about the contestants, but about the judges. Specifically, it's about watching washed-up famous people give terrible advice to young people who don't know any better. And if those washed-up famous people mistakenly believe — as J. Lo evidently does — that the swan song of American Idol is somehow going to rekindle their washed-up careers, that's fantastic, because it keeps more washed-up celebrities coming.
Witness: Next year's potential batch is, like, whoa. Charlie Sheen? Aretha Franklin? Adam Lambert? JK, who gives a shit about Adam Lambert — but Mariah Carey? Charlie Sheen? Aretha Franklin? Who will possibly bring on Pattly LaBelle as a sidekick? Even before her judgeship was the whisper of a rumor, Aretha proved she'd be awesome at the job when she got all O NO YOU DINT at Kathie Lee Gifford after Gifford suggested last week that she might be too old for it.
"I am very well known to young adults, tweens and teens," Franklin retorted, possibly echoed by ten backup singers. "Their parents play my music, and I take care of my business whenever I sign on the dotted line." Propers! Also, as Ste-Ty proves, Idol is going to need at least one borderline-psychotic weird old lecher in a judgeship moving forward. So, basically, it's perfect.
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Adam Lambert, GTFO.