Chris Isaak or Harry Connick Jr: Who will replace Simon Cowell?

Chris Isaak and Harry Connick Jr are the newest names being thrown around as Simon Cowell’s replacement as an American Idol judge. Even Donald Trump wants in! No decision has been announced from the American Idol camp, but word is Bret Michaels didn’t make the cut.

Chris Issak

While contestants are already vying for a spot on American Idol season 10 at auditions around the country, the powers that be are hustling to find a replacement for snarky Simon Cowell before American Idol’s 10th anniversary premiere in September.

Fox insists there’s no rush and guest judges are lending a hand during auditions, but with August almost upon us, the countdown is officially on!

The newest buzz is that Wicked Game crooner turned on-camera personality Chris Isaak and smooth jazzman Harry Connick Jr are the leading contenders for American Idol’s empty judge’s chair.

Donald Trump has also campaigned for the spot, but he doesn’t seem to fit the bill — and not just because he already has his own show, The Apprentice. From the list of contenders thus far, it’s clear American Idol is looking to seat a recognizable figure from the music industry.

Chris Isaak, who had his own sitcom on Showtime and also made appearances on Eastwick, Cold Case and Smallville, is at the top of that shortlist and has met with the Idol decision makers twice, already!

Harry Connick Jr and his daughters

At the same time, word is reality star, Apprentice winner and former Poison frontman Bret Michaels is apparently off the short list, in spite of his open campaign for the judge’s chair… but he could show up on another list!

Exiting Cowell has to stack his own panel of judges for his new show, The X Factor. Perhaps Bret Michaels would fit in over there.

With tension already existing between Simon Cowell and American Idol exec producer Simon Fuller, the two have already gone toe to toe over one contender for the judges’ slots.

Seems while the contestants battle it out on the two shows, American Idol and The X Factor may have their own battle brewing.

One thing’s for certain, after American Idol‘s dip in viewership last year, the veteran show can use a shake up and adding an extra year of age to the eligible contestants isn’t likely to be enough. Perhaps the new rivalry will come in handy and light a fire under the show.

Stay tuned for updates on the hunt for the newest member of American Idol‘s judges panel and scoop on Simon Cowell’s new show, The X Factor.

Bonus! Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game video

Read on for more American Idol

Ellen DeGeneres will be back next season
Will Harry Connick Jr replace Simon Cowell?
Lee DeWyze wins American Idol: Let the debate begin


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