Just hours after "American Idol" started its ninth season Tuesday night, the show's first guest judge Victoria Beckham has already come under fire from critics .
Television critics complained about the former Posh Spice's "gaunt" appearance and her lame commentary. Beckham is the first of several celebrity judges scheduled on the show this season, including Mary J. Blige, who appears tonight, Katy Perry, Shania Twain and Joe Jonas, who are filling in for new judge Ellen DeGeneres, who will start during Hollywood week.
Following last night's show, the Los Angeles Times wrote: "The night's saddest failure, however, was guest judge Victoria Beckham, who actually made plenty of appealing comments and bonded beautifully with fellow judge Kara DioGuardi but whose gaunt appearance was so off-putting it might have cost her the slot DeGeneres eventually won."
The Village Voice was equally harsh. "Victoria Beckham does look sharp, if rather Jackie O. Barbie, tonight in a trim red suit. But her face is just too crazy for the close-up, and she has nothing to add to the commentary," the paper wrote. "I always thought a British accent made people sound smart but I guess I was wrong."
The Washington Post blasted her black lace headband. "Beckham-Spice appears to have cracked open her head, because it seemed to be held together with a strip of lace she found in her granny's closet," the Post wrote.
Beckham didn't say much during the two-hour show, except near the end when she took Simon Cowell to task for being rude to a contestant.
"Why do you do that?" she scolded him.
"Do what?" he said.
"That thing where you roll your eyes," Beckham replied.
This will be the last season for Cowell's eye-rolling, acerbic commentary.
Cowell announced Monday that this season of "Idol" will be his last, so that he can focus on launching the American version of "The X Factor," which Fox has picked up for the fall 2011 season when "Idol" is on hiatus. Cowell will serve as judge and executive producer for the show.
And, according to The Wall Street Journal's John Farley, just like "Idol," "X-Factor" will allow Cowell to act as nasty as he wants.
"If you've seen 'X-Factor,' it's almost exactly like 'Idol,'" Farley said today on "Good Morning America." "He's still there, judging people, putting people down, raising other people up. Simon Cowell is not leaving the format. He will be front and center in American pop culture."
But still, how will "Idol" viewers take to the musical chairs game going on with the judges? Losing Paula Abdul was one thing -- but now Cowell? He is arguably the dominant presence at the judges' table. Does this mean that DeGeneres has to be the mean one next year? Someone needs to fill the void.
And there are other questions. "American Idol" is supposed to be a musical contest, but viewers and former contestants complain that it doesn't always work as one. Many of them say the often-controversial voting process that decides the winner needs to be updated.
"I'd be very surprised if they altered anything," MJ Santilli, who writes about "Idol" on her blog MJsBigBlog.com, told ABCNews.com. "The more people vote, the more money they make for their sponsor. As far as cutting down how many times people can vote or text vote, I don't see that happening."