Which American Idol Alums Should Take Over the Judging Panel?

Rumor has it that FOX is looking to replace its all-star American Idol judging lineup of Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, Keith Urban, and Randy "Dawg" Jackson with former contestants. After writing about this show for five years, and watching it obsessively for the first ten seasons, I have not watched American Idol since that one guy with the stupid low voice and no stage presence won several years ago (he has no name in my head, and he shall have no name in this post). But this, if they bring in the right people, could bring me back into the fold for at least a few episodes, out of pure curiosity.

The American Idol producers were straight up morons for thinking that people like Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler and Nicki Minaj would bring more viewers to their floundering TV show. This show is not, and never has been, about the judges. American Idol, at its very best, has been about the singers -- the underdogs, the top dogs, the folks who traveled along their own paths. When Idol first started, no one knew who Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson were. No one had thought about Paula Abdul since she blew kisses in the wind way back in the early '90s. The reason the show succeeded in the early days was not because of the judges; it was because of the talent.

So why not bring the talent back to nurture and critique a new set of contestants? A few names have been bandied about already -- Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken, Melinda Doolittle, and Kelli Pickler. I like most of these choices. Adam Lambert is a no brainer. I think he could be the Simon Cowell of the AI alumni. Doolittle knows her stuff, and she's talented enough that the new contestants should pay her heed. Clarkson and Hudson would be huge gets, but I wonder if they're almost too big for this gig to be brutally honest with the kids. Aiken I'm sure would be great (though I could also see him suffer from "too nice" syndrome); and Pickler, though I was not a fan of hers when she on the show, has had a decent amount of post-Idol success (she just won Dancing With the Stars, so she's apparently...popular?) and she's a quip machine.

I have a few other picks in the gallery below. Who do you think should judge American Idol next year?

N.B. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD IDOL EVEN CONSIDER HIRING SANJAYA MALAKAR OR MIKALA GORDON.

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Filed under: TV

Tags: American Idol

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