I have followed most past seasons of <i>American Idol</i>, and am watching the current one and for the

most part enjoying it. But the new judging rules seem couterintuitive and the new season is, it must be admitted, almost boring in comparison to previous seasons. Ratings are down, I read. This doesn't surprise me. I wanted to put a suggestion in the <i>American Idol</i> SUGGESTIONS box. I know there's no such thing, but pretend it exists! One of the most tiresome things is the way the judges repeat themselves in their pithy summations of their assessments of <i>Idol</i> performances. We not only know what the judges are going to say in most cases, but with what words they are going to say it! Their verbiage is now approximately ninety percent standby cliche, seven percent filler and three percent original thought. I got to thinking on this, and I realized what we need are an <i>American Idol</i> version of IATA codes. I used to work at DHL Worldwide Express back in the days before they swallowed Airborne and so many other competititors, and I helped them build their Evil Empire here in America. We used IATA codes to route all our domestic and international packages. I used to know most of them by heart, but no longer. And sometimes they change over time. What, you may ask, are IATA codes? I'll let Wikipedia explain: "An IATA airport code, also known an IATA location identifier, IATA station code or simply a location identifier[1], is a threeletter code designating many airports around the world, defined by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The characters prominently displayed on baggage tags attached at airport check-in desks are an example of a way these codes are used." For example, Dublin Airport is DUB. That one's easy enough. But they can't be duplicated so you have some odd ones for others. For example, Dubuque Airport can't have DUB also, so it is DBQ for Dubuque Regional Airport. Here are my suggestions for some IATA codes that <i>American Idol</i> judges might use to let us know where exactly <i>they are going</i> with their criticism, and save us the misery of that boilerplate verbiage they favor so much. Judges could press the appropriate buttons to cue these criticism codes which could show on a console in front of their judging desk, or possibly in some public part of the stage. Of course, this could unnerve any singer who chose to look at it, so the wisest thing to do would be for singers to ignore this while they sing, unless the show felt the additional pressure would be "interesting" and "funny." Judges could press one or several buttons to give a multipartite critical assessment.

And again we would hear less of their annoying voices. Okay, ready? How about we suggest the following codes to the show. SHK = "You sound like some sort of horrible karaoke singer" favorite slams.) DKD = "I don't know, Dawg" TWG = "That wasn't good." ABB= "That was basically your 'average bar band' performance." YAB= "You are a beautiful human being." for every performance.) (Paula would probably push this button (one of Simon's

(Randie would probably use this one to death.)

ALP= "A little pitchy." All the judges overruse this phrase. WTF= "What the f*&^ was THAT!?" HNL = "You have nice legs." starved Mr. Cowell.) (Many girls get told this by the apparently sex-

SUR= "Shut up, Ryan" (This would of course be for emcee Ryan. Simon tells him often enough and this could save him the breath and us the annoyance.) TGH = "I think you're going home after the vote, because of that terrible performance." YWF= "You were flat." (Self-explanatory.)

SWY = "I want to have sex with you." (All of the judges are nicer to people who screw up who are people they want to have sex with. Whether it's Paula, Randie, Simon or the new Cruella DeVille girl, it's always very obvious.) BAN = "The best we've seen all night." (All the judges tell several different people that on most nights. They're all Mr. and Mrs. Short Term Memory.) YAW = "You are a wannabe." (You're no Idol.) RTR= "You just raised the roof, (Dawg or Baby Girl!) YSB = "You sound like a Broadway singer" (We hate Broadway singers.) RCA = "You remind me of Clay Aiken." (Simon might as well have a Clay Aiken button because every other singer reminds him of Clay. I think there's a technical word for that? Oh that's right: LATENT HOMOSEXUALITY!) DER = "I didn't even remember you are on the show." You are "utterly forgettable." YTU= "You're too ugly to be the American Idol." See, the judges could hide behind a button and say this with less fear. They wouldn't have to mince their words or walk on glass with phrases like "I'm worried about your image" or "You don't look like a star at all." YDF= "You dress funny." (When a contestant looks like an eighties reject or a

motley clown, which is quite often surprisingly!) JNR= "You're just not ready yet." (Wait in line with 100,000 people again next year in the rain and you might do better.) YNF = "You're no Freddy (Mercury)." (Used for anyone foolish enought to take on a classic song by Queen.) FIS = "You just fu*&#$ up an iconic song." that classic. You don't have the pipes!) (What the fu*K were you thinking doing

IWT = "It wasn't terrible." (It wasn't good either and you're probably history.) IPM = "I was so bored with your performance I played with myself under the judges' table." TWM= "Too weird even for me." (This one would be only for Paula.) NBP= "That was not your best performance." YGB= "You're getting better each week." YGW= "You're getting worse each week." YNC = "You're no Celine Dion." (For women foolish enough to take on a Celine Dion song.) CBR= "That was so good it could be a recording just as you sang it now. We could release it and it would sell well." WTT = "My God! You are worse (or weirder) than Tatiana (del Toro)." HHF= "I hope you had fun up there singing!" (Because now you're so obviously going home.) YAS= "You are a special and wonderful human being." (You just know only Paula will get any use out of this button and hers will be worn down to a nub in no time.) TWT= "Now, that's what I'm talking about!" (Very good, dawg or baby girl.) YHG= "You have a wonderful and special gift." (Again, Paula will wear this button out.) YTG= "You're too gay to be the American Idol." (They will say the contestant lacks "an identifiable image" or "conviction" or "personality.") OOK = "Oops, you were out of key a lot!" NPE = "That song was not nearly pop enough. In fact, it wasn't even a pop song." YSO= "You sing old." (You try to be all grown up and we want you to be bubble gum pop. Be chipper and chirpier and more chipmunk-like in your vocal stylings.) STB = "That song was too big for you." SCO = "Sing country only or we will talk shit about you." (We are already market niching you. We own your soul.)

MOL= "You mouthed off to me last time that I gave you criticism and now you are going to pay for it." RDA= "Remember David Archuleta." (To be used whenever a contestant gets too cocky and acts as though he or she thinks they have the competition in the bag.) HYG= "How did you get here? How did you make it this far? You suck." YAM = "You are magical." ("Another special 'flake button' for Paula alone.") TAH= "I'm thinking about the Asian hooker I have back in my hotel room and can't wait to get out of here because your singing sucks." (This will be worn down on Randie and Simon's buttons most likely and possibly the new judge's as well. Paula prefers playing Mrs. Robinson with the contestants.)

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