The most obvious component of a judging panel for a voice competition is a musician. A real, can-perform-outside-of-a-studio icon. American Idol producers had the right idea with Steven Tyler, but they watered down his presence with a pop performer. The panel needs a musician the audience respects. We nominate Prince — he’s been around forever, and has done it all, but above all, Prince is a musician. He makes music — he doesn’t manufacture it with expensive studio equipment and computers. There’s a reason he has been selected to win the Billboard Icon Award.
American Idol was on the right track when it brought Ellen DeGeneres in as a judge for Season 9. Ellen told American Idol to get bent after one year, but the key ingredient to any successful endeavor is humor. Long-running shows, websites, cult movies, and commercials all have one thing in common — humor. It’s in the AI producers’ best interest to bring on a judge who is funny and has musical ability. Jamie Foxx would be our first suggestion, but Seth MacFarlane might fit the bill, too.
One of the reasons American Idol was so successful in the beginning was Simon Cowell. Period. He was a d*ck in his delivery, but he was saying what the audience was thinking! It has been rumored that Sean Combs will be invited to be a judge, and he was honestly my pick for the d*ck/producer category before I read that. Combs has the perfect combination of arrogance and candor for the job. And love him or hate him, you have to respect his success.
As an aside, that’s what the producers — with few exceptions — have been missing these past few seasons. You have to get judges the audience respects. You need musicians, not “recording artists.” You need household names, not artists we think will disappear in a few years. With no disrespect intended, how many longtime viewers of American Idol do you think said, “Nicki Mi-who?” We all know and love Nicki Minaj, but was she mainstream enough for the masses to respect her as an authority on the music industry?
To bring the point of this rant home, it is rumored that Justin Bieber will be asked to judge. Is there a quicker way to alienate the majority of the already waning audience? American Idol producers may want a younger audience, but how young? Can you sell an audience of millions of 12-year-old girls to advertisers? Those advertisers are already spending money over at Nickelodeon. The audiences of the first few successful seasons had one thing in common — a desire to see raw talent discovered and succeed with a touch of snarkiness and drama added in. That demographic spans all age groups.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’m ready for a girl musician who has been kicking a** for years and knows what she’s talking about. Again, I felt Pink was a perfect candidate before I read that she was being considered. She’s edgy, smart, talented, has staying power, and most important, people respect her. What’s Adele up to these days? She’s a relative newcomer, but we all know she’s got the kind of pipes we’ll be hearing for years. It might also be cool to see a woman with a more unique style like Jewel, Alanis Morissette, Natalie Merchant — someone whose sound is a bit different, but who still has name recognition.
Finally, how much fun would it be to see American Idol bring on an everyday Joe/Joann to judge? I’ve been lobbying for this for years! The experts are great, and they know what they are talking about, but at the end of the day, we’re the ones buying the CDs. Where is our voice being heard?
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