Now Patti isn't the only person saying stuff like this - I just couldn't resist the opportunity to remind everyone that the woman could rock her hair like a peacock, (that's what a "New Attitude" will do). Comments like this are funny to me for a few reasons. Lots of people have said that AI is "too mean" and that some judges, Ellen DeGeneres, in particular, doesn't have the cred to sit in judgement. But think about it. Consumers of downloads, CDs, etc., are for the most part "non-musicians". Doesn't that earn us a place at the table? We're going to end up being the judge anyway (AI is a contest and the general public is asked to vote, regardless of musical training or knowledge). We'll also eventually "vote" with our wallets.
And the claim that these judges say mean things pales in comparison to the painful realities of actual show business. One of the most valuable things a performer can receive (sometimes even more valuable than the opportunity itself) is ADVICE. AI is a lesson in how to handle this - and how to move forward.
At the age of 8 I was dancing with the Tennessee Ballet Company and believe me, even at that age, the real world doesn't pad criticism with any niceties. My German teacher explained to me after a particularly aggressive lashing regarding my turn out and posture (hot tears rolling down my cheeks) that I was lucky. The rest of the class was simply not even good enough to waste her time critiquing. That incident at such an early age prepared me (though, not always - sometimes it is chemistry) for dealing with criticism and direction. Personally, I judge the contestants on how well they receive and apply the valuable criticism they receive.
There are simple facts. Some people "have it", and some people don't. Doesn't matter how badly they "want it", they got to "have it" first. If we spoon feed all of the "have-nots" we'd have even more crap on the radio to listen to, and a lot fewer people waiting tables at restaurants. I wish they were even harsher. These people are performing live on television 2-3 nights a week, we should be asking ourselves are they worth it?