You have to wonder how much contentious back and forth must be happening among Fox and “Idol” producers right now over the judges. Money, strategy, panel mix, ego, “The Voice.” All the factors are in play.
I don’t recall a frenzy quite like this one before, even before Jennfier Lopez and Steven Tyler two years ago. The pressure is on after “Idol” lost a quarter of its audience last year. I can’t see the ratings ever climbing back up again to season 10 levels, but there might be a minor bump this year if they get interesting judges and comparable talent to season 11, which was actually a relatively strong year on that front. The problem remains for “Idol”: too many copycats have diluted the base of potential viewers.
So far, “Idol” has signed just one judge so far: Mariah Carey.
Let me rank the likelihood of others, based on all the smoke and mirrors:
- Nicki Minaj. US magazine insists this is a done deal. It probably isn’t. She is a hot commodity and would certainly draw younger viewers. Would older viewers balk? Possibly. She seems very opinionated so she could be potentially fascinating on the dais.
- Nick Jonas. This is another blatant play at younger viewers. But the Jonas Brothers are already passe. (Heck, one is already doing a reality show on E!). And his brother Joe did not impress as a guest judge.
- Brad Paisley. I really like Brad. I’ve seen him concert, on CMA Award shows, in videos. The man has a whimsical, likable, down-to-earth persona. I bet he’ll make a great judge.
- Pharrell Williams. He has the industry chops but not the name recognition.
- Keith Urban. It appears “Idol” is gunning for a country artist. Keith is huge and has crossover appeal thanks to Nicole Kidman. Would he make a good judge? No idea.
- Adam Lambert. I think many “Idol” fans would enjoy seeing him up there, a first “Idol” alum to land on the panel. I’m sure he’d be willing to do it at the right price. He has the personality, the edge and the empathy to be a good judge in my mind.
- Enrique Iglesias. He wouldn’t necessarily draw that many younger viewers but the man is still “current,” more or less. He isn’t much of a singer but he is eye candy. I also have no idea if he’d be a good judge or not. Probably not.
- Randy Jackson. Given the rampant speculation, I doubt he’s going to stay on the judges’ panel. He will likely play some sort of mentor role instead, possibly paired with Jimmy Iovine.
- Kanye West. Here’s a new one that just popped up yesterday. He is also a relevant A lister in the hip-hop community with mainstream cred. But he’d probably be seriously expensive and could “Idol” afford him?
- Sean “Diddy” Combs. He is well known, even outside hip-hop circles but is also probably way too pricey for “Idol” to get.
Here’s Kelly Clarkson’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk