The judges on American Idol DO hear a different mix than we do at home, which explains why they'll sometimes praise people that just put out a really awful performance.*
In other news, Ellen DeGeneres is kind of awesome.
*Also, can I please interject here and pointout that there is NO SUCH MUSICAL TERM as "pitchy." You can be sharp, you can be flat, but you CAN NOT be PITCHY. Goddamn you Randy!