Tonight's episode of "American Idol" -- a giant filler show often dubbed "the best of the rest" -- officially marks the end of season nine's audition phase. Next week, the Hollywood rounds kick off.
This also means we're done with the guest judge portion of the season. Ellen DeGeneres will join the panel in Hollywood.
I think the guest judge experiment during auditions was unsuccessful. Most of the celebrities simply echoed comments already made by the rest of the panel. Of course, this could have been a result of poor editing.
Still, this season's audition shows seemed to highlight even fewer contestants than seasons past, and I attribute that partially to the extra camera time devoted to profiling the guest judges.
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If I had my way, we'd eliminate the four-judge format entirely. But that's not going to happen. So here's how I'd rank the guest judges of season nine:
1. Neil Patrick Harris: He was blunt, funny and more than willing to disagree with Simon Cowell. Doogie Howser resuscitated season nine's auditions at a critical time.
2. Katy Perry: Sure, some of her fights seemed a bit contrived, but you have to give Katy props for criticizing Kara DioGuardi's obsession with sob stories.
3. Avril Lavigne: I hated her hoodie, but she got bonus points for asking a married pastor if he was really cut out for a rock star's lifestyle.
4. Shania Twain: Not too memorable, but not too awful, either. I'm just glad she came out of hibernation.
5. Kristin Chenoweth: She only stayed for one day of judging, and mainly offered sunny thoughts and bright rainbows. But her optimism was refreshing.
6. Victoria Beckham: We saw her twice, but her judging appeal didn't increase at second glance. Her biggest contribution? Fashion insights. Oh well. Long live the Spice Girls.
7. Mary J. Blige: Nobody's doubting her star power, but this R&B diva needs to lighten up. She didn't appreciate Guitar Girl or "Pants on the Ground" guy.
8. Joe Jonas: He barely got 20 minutes of air time in the one-hour episode he shared with Neil Patrick Harris. Something tells me this will surface in a future Taylor Swift song.
Weigh in: Who was your most favorite/least favorite guest judge? More importantly, were the guest judges even necessary?