A Pet Shop Boy as an 'American Idol' Judge?

5 names 'Idol' producers can scratch off their judges' wish list for good.

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For some, it's a dream job; for others, it's more like a nightmare. With three out of four seats definitely vacant on the "American Idol" judges' panel (Mariah, Nicki, and Randy are out, but Keith Urban's status is still in limbo), the show's powers-that-be are working on populating them with a fresh mix of music industry pros.

But will they try to recreate the magic that once was?

Let's face it, the show hasn't been the same since a certain sharp-tongued Brit departed in 2010. No one has come close to filling original judge Simon Cowell's shoes, but it's not for lack of trying.

The British aren't coming

According to The Independent, producers once approached Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant to replace Cowell as a judge on the TV talent show.

In an interview with Pop Justice, Tennant said he believed producers "wanted a b----y gay Englishman" to join the judges' panel following Simon's departure, and he fit the bill -- except he had no interest in the high-profile gig.

"They wanted me to fly to Los Angeles for an interview with them and, frankly, I didn't want to fly to Los Angeles for a half-hour interview," he said. After agreeing to a conference call, Tennant said, "I've never seen 'American Idol,' but I don't like the sound of it."

When producers repeatedly praised the "West End Girls" singer for being so "opinionated," Tennant told them, "I'll probably just be really rude to everyone."

After watching a DVD of the show (Tennant had never seen it), the Pet Shop Boy said, "I watched the first two minutes, and I just thought, 'I can't do this.' I couldn't do the bit where you come out, holding hands with the judges, and just stand there. I was flattered to be asked, though."

Speaking of opinionated Brits, Elton John has his own opinion on TV singing shows -- and yes, he also turned "Idol" down.

The rock superstar told UK's Daily Mail, "I'm not a fan of talent shows. I probably wouldn't have lasted if I'd gone on one. I was asked to judge 'American Idol.' I couldn't do it because I won't slag anyone off."

"Also, I don't want to be on television," he added. "It's become boring…paralyzingly brain crippling. I like Simon Cowell, but what he does is TV entertainment. There have been some good acts, but the only way to sustain a career is to pay your dues in small, s--- clubs."

Wow, tell us how you really feel, Elton!

Country wrong

Keith Urban is the show's first country-crooning judge, but he wasn't the first one asked. According to Country Weekly, country superstar Toby Keith was also approached by "Idol" producers, but he didn't have to think twice before just saying no.

"It's a great big TV show," the "I Wanna Talk About me" singer said. "Lucrative deal. Lot of money, but it's a lot of time, and it took me five seconds. I know three weeks in that I'd be going, 'I can't believe I did this. I am so mad at myself. I knew better.' And so, instead of even thinking about it or letting somebody down, [I allowed] them to move on and get who they want. Let's just move on, and I just turned it down quick."

Never again

Word on the street is that producers are considering bringing back past "Idol" alums, such as Jennifer Hudson, for a turn at the table, but don't expect to see the show's inaugural winner, Kelly Clarkson, judging the incoming talent any time soon.

Clarkson told the Wall Street Journal she'd "never" be a judge on the show that made her famous: "The one thing I did do was 'Duets' on TV, and that was because I got to be a part of the process," she said. "I'm not really good at telling people how to do something. I'm better at showing them. So, yeah, that really wouldn't be my forte."

He would do anything for love (but he won't do that)

And if you're looking for a side of Meat Loaf on your "Idol" entrée, you're out of luck. Rock legend Meat Loaf told Spinner that he turned down "American Idol" when he was asked to be a judge 10 years ago. Besides, that show's not his cup of tea, anyway.

"I turned ['American Idol'] down," he said. "But I am very analytical, it's part of my problem, and it's part of my strength -- I overanalyze. But truthfully, I think 'The Voice' is a better show. Man, I would love to be a mentor on that show. Let's put that out there right now to anyone reading this. I would love it. I would take it so seriously, would work so hard, and would give my heart and soul to that gig if I had it. I pride myself on being able to work like that. I love who they have on there now, but if they had room, I'd do it in a minute."

Message received, Meat.

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