With two of the three "American Idol" judges, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez, leaving the show and the third, Randy Jackson, reportedly considering vacating his judge's seat to become a mentor, rumors are flying about who might take over. Of the names generating buzz, who would be the best choice?
Mariah CareySince pop singer Mariah Carey is managed by Jackson, her addition to the judges' panel may be among the most likely. She previously served as a guest mentor for the show, and she was reportedly considered in 2010's shake-up of the judges' panel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carey may once more be in the running. As a pop star with proven credentials who gave contestants insightful yet positive advice as a guest mentor, she may be a good choice for the "nice" judge.
With rumored cutbacks to the show, the same Hollywood Reporter article suggests Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert might be a cost-effective choice. As a star in the beginning stages of his career, he'd likely come at a lower price tag; yet, his previous "Idol" experience could prove invaluable. As a mentor, he pulled some of the best performances out of the Season 9 contestants during Elvis Week in 2010, with what MTV's Gil Kaufman called "concrete suggestions for molding their performances." Outspoken and charismatic, he could be a good way to draw viewers back home.
One of the youngest celebrities reportedly under consideration, according to the Associated Press, is Miley Cyrus, who did herself well as a mentor for Season 9, according to critics such as MSNBC.com contributor Craig Berman, who wrote that her advice was "right on the money." She could potentially bring in younger viewers, who have been leaving the show over the past two years.
According to Reuters, the legendary soul and R&B singer, Aretha Franklin, has expressed an interest in judging. She would bring plenty of experience to her role, along with star power, although she lacks experience with "Idol." Responding to criticism from "Today Show" co-host Kathie Lee Gifford, who doubted her judging abilities, Franklin asserted she would "kick it up a notch" for a "jammin', slammin' season." It would certainly be fun to watch!
Other names being tossed around reportedly include Celine Dion, Mary J. Blige, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, Katy Perry, Fergie, Nicki Minaj, and will.i.am. Of these, Blige, Underwood, and will.i.am all demonstrated great instincts as guest mentors and might attract younger viewers. Perry and Fergie would bring star power, though they are untested at "Idol." Hudson, of course, would bring a deep knowledge of the show from her Season 3 run. Given Minaj's lip-sync fail as an "Idol" guest performer, she would be an odd choice.
Over the past 11 seasons, "Idol" has attracted a wealth of guest mentors and judges. As a guest judge for Season 9, Neil Patrick Harris was acerbic and entertaining, which would make him a terrific choice for the "tough" judge. Similarly, Gene Simmons took his guest judge role very seriously, pulling no punches. He would be a headline-grabbing choice,if only he could get A&E to agree to allow him to do "Idol" along with his reality show, "Gene Simmons Family Jewels."
Likewise, Lady Gaga would be a buzz-worthy selection, bringing a unique perspective to the panel. Both Stevie Nicks and Harry Connick Jr. proved themselves worthy mentors and might bring those insights to judging performances.
One of the savviest choices would be filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, who according to some viewers, was one of the best guest judges ever. Producing colorful, thoughtful commentary, he's also a huge fan of the show and might be willing to do it for a song. And as the show seems destined for a big overhaul, that might help him win over the producers.
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