Currently doing press for his new movie, Dolphin Tale 2, judge Harry Connick Jr. revealed to the QMI agency, that he and his fellow judges, Jennifer Lopez and Keith Urban took a different strategy when choosing hopefuls this time around:
“I think Jen and Keith and I have raised the bar a little bit,” he says, noting that Kansas City has produced some of the best auditions so far.
“We all realize that the people you see on the day of the audition are not going to change that much. Even if you find this diamond in the rough, it’s not like they’re going to explode into this seasoned performer in six months.
“As much as we thought that would happen last year, it didn’t happen. People who were timid, you think they’re going to start coming out of their shell, but it really doesn’t work like that…
“So we’re really looking for people who are fairly extraordinary on the first day, because what you see on that day is what you are going to see at the finale.”
The judges are admitting that production failed to put together a compelling cast last season. Indeed, many of the hopefuls were like deer in the headlights when they took the big Idol stage (Sam Woolf, I’m looking at you) and didn’t improve much as the season wore on. Ratings dropped at viewers checked out of a ho-hum season.
As much as some fans bitched and snarked, Idol ALWAYS benefited by casting so-called “ringers”–those contestants with experience under their belts. They often made for compelling TV, even if they didn’t ultimately take the crown.
A singer who has a measure of maturity and is comfortable and charismatic on stage in front of TV cameras and huge audiences is really a must. We’ll see if the casting improves for season 14. If it does, it may be too little too late for an aging franchise that has already lost it’s luster.