American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson, Kara DioGuardi, and Ellen DeGeneres welcome a new judge to the show - Moe, who displays an exceptional talent in making judgements; and while Moe is vacationing, Homer has more time to spend at home with Marge... much to her dismay.
At an ugly dog contest, Krusty is realized to be a bad judge and Moe makes cracks about his judging. Krusty plans to have Moe judge and he turns out to be mean, yet hilarious. The Springfielders cheer at Moe's judging; however, Santa's Little Helper (named Satan's Little Helper) doesn't appreciate the fact that he won first place, even though he was revealing a painted butt. Moe chooses to judge around Springfield and he is soon asked to go into professional judging, choosing to go to American Idol. Unfortunately, he has to close down his bar, upsetting Homer and the gang.
Homer spends a lot of time at home with Marge, driving her crazy with him appearing everywhere she goes. Moe meets Simon Cowell in Hollywood and Simon warns him that although his mean judging is hilarious, he could get emotionally scarred by losing his friends and family. Moe chooses to keep it low and be helpful but semi-mean. Meanwhile, Marge drags Homer to a sports bar, saying "he deserves a treat after staying at home." Later, Lisa goes to Santa's Little Helper and admits that he is really a good-looking dog, and they scoot together in happiness.
Moe judges his first episode of American Idol, complimenting one of the competitors on a revised 'Happy Birthday' along with Randy, Kara, and Ellen, who sits right next to him. Simon, however, reverts to his old ways and Moe realizes that he has been double-crossed. Moe threatens to break his voice box and is soon banned from going to California ever again.
Back in Springfield, Homer is forced out of the sports bar and Marge puts him in golf. Soon, a senior comes up to Marge and tells her that after he started playing, he missed his family's birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings. Marge agrees to take Homer home and they have sex.
Moe returns to Springfield and reopens his tavern. He is forbidden from ever making judgements about anything. The bright side, he says, is that he is not permitted to watch Fox, and that the bar has become more successful thanks to that. A large group of people enter the tavern, and Rupert Murdoch approaches the bar to ask Moe to put on the Jay Leno Show. Moe does so, and we see Leno mocking of the BP on TV. Murdoch laughs while Homer and Marge look at him confused.
"Judge Me Tender" had a total of 5.74 million viewers. Its competition was strong, up against the series finale of Lost — a recap special at 8.00pm had 10.09 million viewers by comparison. The Cleveland Show followed with 4.9 million viewers for its finale, while Family Guy was the strongest animated contender for the evening with 6.13 million at 9.00 and 6.39 million at 9.30 against 13 million viewers for the start of Lost's final episode.