A Matter of Chemistry: Reality TV Shows That Just Don't Work Without Their Original Judges

Yahoo Contributor Network

When it comes to a reality TV lineup, nothing is more important than chemistry. Good chemistry can make all the difference between a show that is great or unbearable.

While the chemistry between contestants is important, the chemistry between judges is arguably even more crucial. From cooking competitions to singing contests, these reality TV shows have all deviated from their "classic" lineup of judges -- and the results weren't good.

"Top Chef"

The traditional lineup of "Top Chef" judges includes Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons. These three have great chemistry together and can crack jokes as easily as cracking an egg.

But these three core judges don't participate in "Top Chef" spinoffs like "Top Chef Masters." Sadly, the judges of "Top Chef Masters" are a bit stuffy and lack the verve of the classic "Top Chef" judges' table. James Oseland may know food, but he doesn't always make for entertaining TV.

"American Idol"

"Idol" has had a slew of different judges over the years, but none of the lineups were as consistently entertaining as the trio of Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul, and Simon Cowell. But beyond being entertaining, the original lineup of "Idol" judges were a lot more balanced with their feedback than the more recent "cuddly" judging panels. Sure, Simon was mean, but people loved seeing the contrast between his demeanor and Paula's airy, loving commentary.

"Project Runway"

"Project Runway" just doesn't work without Tim Gunn as a mentor. It also doesn't work without that magical je ne sais quoi generated by Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Michael Kors. Need proof? Consider the two ho-hum seasons of "Project Runway: All Stars." Angela Lindvall and Carolyn Murphy failed to capture Klum's blend of good humor and insight, while Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi were just plain boring when compared to Garcia and Kors.

"America's Next Top Model"

After almost 20 cycles, no one could expect "ANTM" to retain all of their original judges. The most recent judging panel of Tyra Banks, Kelly Cutrone, and Rob Evans does leave something to be desired. While the show's panel of judges was also lackluster in the first season, things really came together in the early seasons when Nigel Barker, Janice Dickinson, and Nolé Marin joined Tyra on the judges platform. That being said, the combination of Tyra, Twiggy, J. Alexander, and Barker was also pretty entertaining.
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