Last week, I blogged that Ellen DeGeneres was close to a failure on her first week of live American Idol shows. But I did give her an out.

I said:

To be fair to Ellen DeGeneres, it’s only been two shows. But it hasn’t been a great start.

And it wasn’t.

But this isn’t the most successful television show for the last ten years for nothing. All it took was a change in the judge order and Ellen went from terribly unprepared and unable to riff with the judges to exactly what makes her so successful. She was funny, charming, and almost fit in perfectly.

Last week, Ellen was in the lead judge slot though she didn’t talk first every time. But she looked like a deer in headlights. She doesn’t have the musical knowledge to say anything critical about the actual singing. So it was idiotic to have her lead in the criticism.

This week was very different. Randy Jackson was moved into the first slot, Ellen the second, and my wife Kara DioGuardi was followed by Simon. I still don’t think it’s the best order, as I think Ellen would be perfect right before Simon. Randy and Kara could get music nerd on us, Ellen could piggy back on what they say and then tell a joke, and then Simon could hit clean up like a ‘roided out Mark McGwire.

But it seems that they want Kara to play the old Paula Abdul cat and mouse game with Simon, which doesn’t work as well because Kara is married (to me). She won’t flirt with Simon like Paula would. But I guess it wouldn’t be believable for Simon to flirt with Ellen, though Ellen would play it up for laughs really well. I think they need to figure out how to hit on that dynamic before Simon leaves.

I commend the producers for understanding how bad the shows were last week and in being proactive enough to switch it around. It made for such a better week of shows (even if the talent is still lacking any kind of star power whatsoever). Ellen is still BS’ing her way through the musical critiques, but that’s what comics do best anyway.