American Idol, arguably the most successful singing competition show in history, heads into its 12th season this upcoming January and is looking to shake things up.
Last season, the Randy Jackson-Jennifer Lopez-Steven Tyler trio took on its second season in commission and witnessed numbers and ratings steeply decline, warranting necessary attention. Is it the fact that a pretty, white male has won for the past five seasons (David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips)? Or, is it an issue with the aging, bland judges? Along with Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe, I believe it is the latter because the former does nothing other than boost ratings of the target audience: young, teenage girls. And, by looking at Idol’s competition, there are some pretty impressive judge combinations that the show must compete with:
The Voice: Adam Levine (Maroon 5), Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton
The X Factor: Simon Cowell, Demi Lovato, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid
Duets: Kelly Clarkson, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), Robin Thicke
So, who should American Idol get to replace one or more of their current judges? With Lopez announcing her departure on Friday, Tyler officially leaving as well, and Jackson representing the “old” Idol, nothing is for certain. However, there have been some rumors as to replacement nominees, namely the following:
1) Adam Lambert
Idol season 8 runner-up, Adam Lambert is definitely an interesting option to consider. Not only does he have experience being up on the Idol stage, but also he has a fun, eccentric style and flair to accompany it. The one negative that I can think of is that he hasn't had that much musical success; the only song of his I could name is "Whataya Want From Me," which peaked at #10 on Billboard's Hot 100. In fact, he even has said that he would jump at the opportunity to be a judge on the show. He is probably the most likely of the people on this list to be a judge, and I think it would be an interesting change.
2) Nicki Minaj
Upon seeing Minaj's name on the list of rumored Idol judge replacements, I was both shocked and intrigued at the same time. On the one hand, she is absolutely crazy due to her constantly changing image as well as her several alter egos that she employs in her numerous hits and collaborations. But, on the other hand, she is the unpredictable, young, and exciting personality that Idol is looking for. I think Minaj is a risky but really exciting option.
3) Katy Perry
As one of two people to have five songs from a single album hit #1 on Billboard's Hot 100, the other being Michael Jackson, Perry is a true music superstar. From "I Kissed A Girl" and "Hot n Cold" to "California Gurls, "E.T.," and "Firework," she has released hit after hit. Surely, Idol will be upgrading if they are able to sign Perry for the job, and their ratings will no doubt improve as a result. However, the one negative is that I see her as more of a flattering and fluffy "Paula Abdul-esque" judge rather than a critical and knowledgeable "Simon Cowell-esque" expert.
4) Fergie or Will.I.Am
I have to admit, I am a huge fan of the Black Eyed Peas, and if I can't get them to reunite to continue to release catchy hit after hit, judging together on Idol would satisfy my craving. Although they might not be signed together, I believe both would equally and aptly represent 21st century music. Both have been successful single artists as well as a part of an extremely successful group, and would thus be able to offer a different and interesting perspective. Will.I.Am has been a mentor on the show more than once, so he probably has a better chance than Fergie.
5) Mariah Carey
Although Mariah Carey is not specifically mentioned in any rumor, season 10 early favorite Pia Toscano has told E! News that she would like to see Mariah Carey as a judge. Toscano goes on to say that the show needs "a big voice" and that Mariah is it. Although she is one of the most decorated solo artists of all time, having won 5 Grammys, 11 American Music Awards, 17 World Music Awards, and a whopping 31 Billboard Music Awards, I am not sure if her personality is that dynamic for her to be an exciting, entertaining judge.
6) Miley Cyrus
The newly engaged 19-year-old pop artist and teen icon Cyrus would definitely add a young flair to the show. Given that the show's age requirement has recently lowered to 15 years old, having a younger judge as a role model and mentor is not such a bad idea. She also embodies an all-around pop culture icon, given her success not only in music but also on the TV screen and at the box office, something that many Idol contestants strive for.
Who do you think should be the judges for season 12 of American Idol?