american idol judges Judging the 'American Idol' guest judgesWe’ve finally wrapped the guest judges on “American Idol.” How’d they all do?

One thing that hinders our judging of the guest judges is the fact that screentime is not always created equal.

By our (extremely scientific) calculations, we’ve seen 2 1/4 hours of Victoria Beckham, 1.5 hours of Mary J. Blige, 45 minutes each of Shania Twain and Kristin Chenoweth, about 30 minutes of Neil Patrick Harris, 20 minutes each of Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry and about five seconds of Joe Jonas.

Enough to judge how they did? It doesn’t matter, we’re going to judge anyway.

According to our guest judge polls, as of 8 a.m. PT Wednesday, Feb. 3, on a scale of Bad, Meh and Great, Victoria Beckham was the only “Meh,” Mary J. Blige, Avril Lavigne and Katy Perry all got “Bad,” Shania Twain, Kristin Chenoweth and Neil Patrick Harris all got “Great” and poor Joe Jonas got “I blinked and missed him.”

Those polls are actually fairly in line with our own feelings too, though we do think Mary J. was pretty amusing when she got the giggles. However, what this tells us is — budget the guest-judge time more effectively!

Victoria Beckham was fine. Nothing spectacular, but she had some interesting things to say. But not three hours of broadcast time worth of things. Likewise Mary J. Blige. Meanwhile, the combined total broadcast time of the three best judges (Shania, Kristin and Doogie) was 2.5 hours. And again with poor Joe Jonas. He said 40 words total in his stint on “Idol.” Seriously.

Here’s where we will commend “Idol,” though. It’s been 8 seasons and yet this season feels totally fresh. Some of that is Paula’s departure and Ellen’s arrival, some of that is that it’s Simon Cowell’s last season. But some of it is the arrival of the guest judges! It made each audition episode (which is, frankly, our least favorite part of “Idol”) new and interesting.

We think they should definitely keep this format for next year, especially in light of the fact that Simon will be gone. However, we think they need a more judicious hand deciding who had the best appearance as a guest judge and mete out the airtime accordingly.

Final “American Idol” guest judge grades

Shania Twain, A — if they need a full-time female judge, we’d call her.

Kristin Chenoweth, A- — ditto, plus she’s hilarious with Kara and with Simon gone, his annoyance at them wouldn’t be problematic.

Neil Patrick Harris, B+ — he’s only a B+ because we didn’t get to see as much of Doogie as we would’ve liked.

Victoria Beckham, B — she had a lot of good advice regarding image, which is a consideration for the contestants, but not enough music criticism to warrant being one of the better judges.

Katy Perry, B
– — she wasn’t afraid to stand up to the judges when she disagreed.

Mary J. Blige, C+ — what some people thought was rude others found hilarious. Much like Simon.

Avril Lavigne, C — we honestly are at a loss for what she brought to the table.

Joe Jonas, N/A — 40 words, people. 40.

What do you think? Do you agree with our assessment of the “Idol” guest judges?

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Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."