The 1 Thing ‘American Idol’ Fans Hate About the Current Judges

American Idolthe groundbreaking catalyst to a slew of shows developed with similar star-making intentions — has been around since 2002, despite a few recent hiccups and a network change. Thus, the talent competition show, on a mission to discover the face and voice of America’s next star, has seen its fair share of judges.

From the OG three, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson, to the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, and Mariah Carey, the series has managed to land some buzzworthy judges for its sacred panel. 

American Idol judges
‘American Idol’ judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, along with Emmy(r) winning producer and host Ryan Seacrest | Photo by Josh Vertucci/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Fans used to complain that Simon was too mean, criticizing vocalists beyond necessity.  Years later, Minaj and Carey’s contentious relationship became fans’ new aggravation. However, the new judges — Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan — bring a problem all their own. And, as far as fans’ are concerned, they all share the same downfall. If you miss Nicki Minaj’s helpful criticism, and rare — yet meaningful — excited adulations, you’re not alone. 

Do the ‘American Idol’ judges even judge anymore? 

Many fans agree that Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan fail to provide constructive criticism, and mainly exist as seat fillers, offering nothing beyond reputations (and vastly different demographic followings) designed to help bolster the show’s audience. If you browse through online discussions concerning the matter, you will discover that most fans are experiencing the same dissatisfaction. One viewer stated:

…does anyone else remember when judges on this show actually… judged? When standing ovations meant something? Because Lionel, Luke and Katy haven’t given a single piece of constructive criticism all season. They tell every single contestant how great they did regardless of whether or not they actually sang well and have all said at least once so far that they “hate” judging or don’t want to say anything bad…

Reddit User

Other American Idol viewers agreed with the sentiment, arguing that the judges have come to mostly express positivity, which, while nice and all, doesn’t really help any of the contestants improve. One fan even argued that the showrunners, and the network, may be pushing them to behave this way, stating:

They have to be told to only say positive sh*it to make sure they drive the vote counts up. The fact they fu**ing ENCOURAGED Wade after he forgot lyrics to a song like we are the champions… It’s absolutely insulting to the contestants that absolutely no negative criticism is being said… Just give them all participation trophies and call it a season. I’m not wanting negative feedback for the sale of it, but help these kids get better and don’t just coddle them.

Reddit User

Fans argued that standing ovations no longer mean anything, and praise is taken for granted. When the original judges used to praise, it helped the audience pick who the best vocalists really were; now, fans argue that the judges don’t really serve a purpose to the series or the audience. 

When it comes to American Idol, fans feel that while Simon may have been an extreme criticizer, at least he didn’t pat everyone on the back and pretend all contestants were equally talented. The goal of the show is to find America’s next idol, not American’s handful of future semi-decent performers.