Adam Lambert as American Idol Judge? Four Reasons He'd Be a Great Addition

adam lambert idol judgeSteven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson have yet to finalize deals to return as judges for American Idol‘s upcoming twelfth season, and now it looks as though the show might be looking for a home-grown talent to replace Tweddle-Huh?, Tweedle-Abs, or Tweedle-Yo!

Indeed, Season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert has been in talks with the show’s producers about the gig for the last month, according to an E! News report.

Even though, as an Idol recapper, the addition of Lambert would give me one less person to gleefully ridicule/rage against, I still think it’s a pretty genius idea. And here are four reasons why:

HE’S BRASH | Anyone who’s ever read an interview with Lambert or followed him on Twitter knows he’s not afraid to speak his mind. More often than not, in fact, the guy seems to revel in being a provocateur, even when it comes to discussing his musical contemporaries. That fearless, polarizing energy has been conspicuously absent from the Idol panel since Simon Cowell left the show after Season 9, replaced by critiques that are so intentionally vague and/or syrupy that it’s hard to resist the siren call of the mute button. Love him or hate him, it’s unlikely Lambert’s contributions as an Idol judge would be sanitized or boring — and those new tricks might be exactly what the old dog in the reality singing genre needs to combat viewer erosion.

HE’S KNOWLEDGEABLE | Lambert’s monster voice is one of the most formidable in the current pop scene, and unlike, say, J.Lo: Mistress of Auto-Tune, he’s got the technical knowledge to offer instructive, insightful critiques that go beyond telling contestants they were “pitchy.” What’s more, the guy has undeniable showmanship skills, and as an Idol contestant, his choice of songs, outfits, and musical arrangements were among the most varied and daring in Idol history. Honestly, who better to push the Season 12 contestants to color outside the lines and push their creative limits?

HE’S FUNNY | Judging a live talent competition is a tough gig — just ask Nicole Scherzywhatzit or Ellen DeGeneres — but Lambert is well known for his quick wit, puckish demeanor, and outsize charisma. Plus, with his fabulous hair and penchant for outré fashion, he might even give J.Lo a run for her Louboutins. His mastery of the English language, while clearly not a prerequisite for the gig, won’t hurt either, for me for you.

HE’S GAY | Okay, okay, so Lambert’s sexual orientation isn’t actually a job qualification, but perhaps his weekly presence on the show would finally squelch the sense of gay panic — the occasional homophobic banter among the judges and host Ryan Seacrest; the bizarre resistance to ever mentioning personal lives of contestants who are clearly gay or lesbian — that’s pervaded Idol for 11 seasons running.

What do you think of the idea of Lambert as Idol judge? Would his presence on the panel make you more or less likely to tune in? And if he’s being brought in as a replacement, which of the existing judges would you like to see exit? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Goat Girl says:

    OMG Adam would be amazing! I hated the Scotty/Lauren season. Last season was a little better. But Jennifer and Steven are worthless as judges. And Randy’s alway been a one note joke. I would actually look forward to AI with Adam.

  2. Lauren says:

    They will stop at nothing to try and make this guy happen apparently.

  3. It`s a PERFECT idea!!! I will watch ALL seasons with Adam!

  4. Zach says:


  5. Ann says:

    I think he would make a great judge! Have him replace Steven Tyler. That guy gives me the creeps. Adam Lambert was the best contestant American Idol has ever had! He was entertaining to watch and practically save American Idol from oblivion that season he was on the show.

  6. I have watched every episode for 11 seasons. I’ve bought every winners album and most of the other idols since the beginning. Having said that, I already fast forward through every guest appearance he does on Idol. So if they make him a judge – season 11 would be the end of Idol for me. I will not watch this show ever again. The Idol producers may want someone with an edge – someone brash – but he’s one of those idols that you love or hate and a whole lot of us hate him. It has nothing to do with his being gay – it’s everything about him needing a reality check.

    • noa says:

      wow, you love the show so much and you’d let one judge stop you from watching? and to think, king of needing a reality check, Mr. Randy Jackson, didn’t make you stop watching before. i hate these kind of statements. i think about how i said i won’t watch again after season 10 was infuriating and how glad i am that i decided to tune in and see this group of talented performers S11 brought us. i can’t imagine not discovering Elise because of the judges. what a loss that would have been!

  7. Aubry says:

    OMG, OMG this idea is brilliant. No one to better judge than Adam. He has been through the process. Is one of the most successful and recognizable alums and he is so articulate. Not to forget charming, funny and candid. He would provide valuable, usable critiques. Not lame ones like the contestants get now. I can see Adam saying, this was good but work on this? Or oh come on you can do better?

    When Adam was a mentor he was to the point and RIGHT in what he said.

    Those saying it would ruin his career haven’t been paying attention. Judging resurected JLO’s dead career, made her singles hits and gave her TV commericials.

    • Mary says:

      Come on people he is not one of the most successful alums, saying it won’t make it true. he is having a hard time getting his music heard on radio. I think he has got talent but all you die hard fans he is not the second coming of god. Why do you think he is being promoted oversees.

  8. Chris says:

    Adam would be the only reason i would watch AI ever again!

  9. moni says:

    Adam would be amazing!

  10. Annie says:

    Why does this feel like a way to bring attention to Adam Lambert’s under performing current album? Does it really help him to make it seem like he can’t make it in the music business, so he has to take a job at American Idol?

    • John Berggren says:

      You mean the one that debuted at number one? That underperforming album?

      • Mary says:

        I think it is great he debut at number one, but let’s be real, the total first week sale were not that high. he picked a good week to release, which is why they kept putting it off, no big name were releasing that week.

        • cmacathome says:

          Yes, the man who debut’d at number one with NO radio play….really ??? Wow, you don’t get out much, sorry,but his performances are out of this world, in a good way…and if it’s not for you, then don’t listen and GO AWAY! Let the rest of us just have a good time (is that so wrong in your world?)

          • Mary says:

            For your information I like Adam, I have seen him in concert. I am just trying to make it real. He is having a hard time getting the recognition for his music. Yes he is in the tabloids but outside of his fan base his music is not being heard. more power to him if he does get the job, but I not
            Sure at this stage of the game if this will help or hinder him of achieving his goal. you can have a good time but let’s keep it real.

    • Elaine says:

      Adam could still have his music career even if he judged on A.I. He would make an excellent judge with his fair, honest and intelligent critique of the contestants. He is articulate and candid and would give great advice to the kids. And he could sing with that beautiful voice on the show. In the summer he could go on tour and write music. I would definately watch A.I. again every week to see him..

  11. BruceD says:

    American Idol has ceased to be amusing to me for years. I’ve watched it but haven’t been excited about it in a while. Having Adam Lambert as a judge would, for me, seal the deal as to finding some other show to watch. It is a known fact, however, that Executive Producer, Ken Warwick is all over Adam, so it doesn’t much surprise me.

    And PLEASE Glamberts…spare me the homophobic meme as some of my best friends are gay.

  12. Sign him up–I would watch every week again!

  13. Canada says:

    I was wondering where you went since EW, Michael … LOVE this because it did wonders for another Adam’s (Levine) visiblity and sales … but AI is on the decline, ratings wise … don’t want Mr. Lambert to be blamed if they dip further. (WGWG 5 thing has made AI too predictable also ) … so mixed feelings about it. Be happy to watch AL on AI each week but it is a risk due to “baggage” mentioned.

  14. Ron says:

    I agree 1000%. I think Adam Lambert should replace Stephen Tyler, Melinda Doolittle should replace that Lopez woman, that can’t sing and doesn’t how to critique anybody else’s singing, and for Jackson’s replacement, anybody else in the world that knows how to speak the English language, and is not tone deaf, as I believe he and that Lopez woman both are.

  15. CM Houghton says:

    Oh, I’d definitely watch with Adam Lambert on the stage…

    I haven’t regularly watched since the season he was on and his presence on the show will, for me at least, probably get the show back into must-see-TV territory…

  16. Jess says:

    I would LOVE LOVE LOVE Adam L as a judge and it might actually get me watching idol again! BUT! I’m worried that many of the good points you pointed out (his brashness, his fabulous hair, his outspoken-ness) might be squashed by the producers and he won’t be able to really help the contestants as much as he is capable of.

  17. blingedup says:

    Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, PLEASE let this happen!!

  18. Amy says:

    If this happens, I might actually watch idol again!!!!

  19. KT says:

    Not wanting to hurt an aspiring artist’s feelings is one thing. Stringing them along to think they have no room for improvement is quite another. As a former contestant, Adam has first-hand knowledge of completely unhelpful how vague, syrupy “critiques” are. Would be nice to see if he can step up the game. Team Adam!

  20. fromthegreyfort says:

    Although this would be brilliant for American Idol, and probably the only thing that would get me to watch another season, I’m not convinced it would be such a great move for Adam Lambert’s career. He is way too talented to be stuck behind a desk every week giving critiques on other (read less talented) singers. From a purely selfish point of view I would prefer to see him on tour doing live performances and continuing to make great original music – as well as an occasional side job fronting Queen.

  21. Michal says:

    I’m such a fan of Lambert and with his many years of theatre training and as he has said in the past, knowing how auditions and criticism give a performer a thicker skin, i believe he would bring a humanity of understanding to the show.

    However, Adam is on such a high career wise with his new Trespassing album and frontman with Queen , I agree with the poster who suggested several
    AI contestants including Melinda Dolittle, as perhaps rotating panelists.

    An aside:the one poster who stated he and his wife would never watch the show again if AL was a judge is only the very tip of the iceberg of slings and arrows that would be aimed at this talented man who deserves respect and admiration .

  22. ally says:

    Michael Slezak, you have always been my favorite idol journo. You always keep it real! This would be brilliant for Idol and Adam. win/win

    • Meghan says:

      Could not agree more. I would love to see Lambert as a judge! And Slezak’s writing always keeps me coming back to whatever site he is working for (EW, TV Line).

  23. Adam as Idol Judge would definitely make me watch the show again. A true and honest artist is exactly what this show needs. Two thumbs way up for Mr. Lambert

  24. Joe says:

    You want viewers back, dump Randy and replace him with Lambert. This E exclusive is a test balloon to see how the public would react to a shakeup. Dear God, make this happen. Randy Jackson is a buffoon and he’s earned enough money with the easiest job in the world. Put someone interesting in those seats and people may stop fast forwarding through the judge’s comments again. I’d also dump J. Lo and Tyler and clean sweep the panel. You can’t put Jimmy on it as he clearly can’t work on live TV and needs a script and rehearsal time to do his job. A stroke of genius would be Lambert, Kelly Clarkson and bring Fantasia up on that panel for some ridiculata. Of course the real genius hire for the panel would be our own Slezak.

    • Floridajeff says:

      Dream panal… Slezak, Adam and Shania Twain. She was so good when she filled in during the audition rounds. Adam was great as a mentor, and we all know the brilliance of Michael Slezak

    • Mary B says:

      Please no Fantasia after the debacle of a performance she did at the finale I could not watch her at all. She would be like chalk scratching on a chalk board for me.

  25. Great idea. I would watch again if Adam was a judge. He’s gorgeous and tells it like it is. You won’t be hearing “that was beautiful” from him. Maybe he can run all those WGWG’s off with honest critiques of “you can’t sing”. Actually, what would really be entertaining would be to have Kris Allen as a judge also and watch the insane fan wars erupt over who is the better judge. HaHa!

  26. Lynn says:

    I agree with people who said they would be worried it would take up too much of his time. I want him making music and touring :)

    Although it would be awesome. Would be REALLY awesome if he could perform on the show every week. I’d never miss an episode.

    Maybe they should have one musical chair seat that different judges could sit in. That way current artists like Adam wouldn’t have to make such a huge commitment.

  27. Jacqi says:

    I might actually watch if Adam is a judge

  28. Gabi says:

    Adam Lambert would bring a lot to the table. He’s smart, quick-witted, honest and funny besides having the musical knowledge to judge! Just looking at his hair, outfits and accessories every week would give me a kick!

  29. Chris says:

    A definite YES,YES,YES….It would bring be back to watching Idol again. I would so love to see him be a judge. He has it all and is so easy on the eyes. I would watch the show just to see Adam Lambert, but he would make a great judge. Isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. Love the idea.

  30. No, no, no…………………I like the show just the way it is. AI will lose me if so.

  31. aunt_deen says:

    Please, no.

    Would he make a great judge? Yes.

    But this would eat up so much of his time and take away from performing and making new music.

  32. soarin829 says:

    I have mixed emotions. Surprisingly (to me), most of them are positive. I was not at ALL a fan of his during season 8. However, I did always respect his ability to be candid and well-spoken, which is something that is SORELY lacking from that judging panel. I don’t agree with a lot of things regarding Adam Lambert and am NOT a fan of his music style, but I don’t need to in order to respect him as a judge. I think I just convinced myself I’m okay with this!

  33. imho says:

    I just cannot take that guy – at all! Ugh! Guess this would be the end of the show for me. He’s amazing talented, but even his picture above just speaks such an “in your face” smug attitude – he’s always just made me cringe. Local news this a.m. said he would be the ONLY judge. 1 judge? Ya right. Might as well be a muppet as there is NO WAY the powers that be would let ONE judge pick the top 24. So sure – make it Adam, Kermit and Miss Piggy as that would make just about the same amount of sense. If they keep it at 3, oh – who knows. I thought I would hate Tyler as a judge. Personally, I’d rather seriously see Slezak and Melinda up there.

    Anyway, why not just have Jimmy and other mentors get them ready then also be the panel at the end. The show could be cut by 30 minutes of worthless blabber each week.

  34. Cam says:

    Adam Lambert on Idol would get me to watch the show again. I was not tied to SImon’s apron strings and frankly, considered him useless his last season, but the current crop of judges are worth than useless. Lambert is articulate, a trained vocalist and has been a paid professional in the business for more than a decade, so he he brings knowledge and charisma to the position.

    My concern is that given that Nigel Lythgoe has recently stated that he doesn’t think the judges SHOULD have any critiques once the Top 10 is chosen, does AI need ANY judges at all? If that’s the attitude of the exec producer, why not just save big bucks and have Ryan intro each contestant without any commentary and let voters make their pick?

  35. jerri says:

    Wow!!! that would be great. He would be an excellent judge. I hope it happens

  36. qj201 says:

    Idol has become a victim of its own success. The “Coca-Cola” and “Ford” insidiousness aside, the show has gotten bland. Idol started as a capital S Singing competition, then turned into more of “Pop Idol” ironically enough. Rating have continued to slide ever since contestants were allowed to play instruments and we’ve had years of WGWG winners since.

  37. JB says:

    I stopped watching 2 seasons ago, and this possibility will most certainly NOT make me tune back in…didn’t like him then don’t like him now.

  38. Dean says:

    I up most absolutely love this idea and I don’t ever watch IDOL but if he was on there I would most definitely tune in every single week and I also love a Bruno Mars on there Think on it!?

  39. Sasha says:

    I’d rather it be Clay Aiken. He is all of those things but better.

    • Barb says:

      GAG! Aiken would be the final nail in the coffin. It ain’t ever happening.

      • Janice Dodd says:

        I do not agree with him at all. I think most people think he is stiff, boring, and too nasty some times. Does anyone remember the statement he made while Adam was on Idol? “He makes my ears bleed.” That shows he has no true taste, and doesn’t really like anyone but himself.. Not a great recommendation for a judge.

  40. All you Adam haters can gripe all you want but the facts are if Adam were to be on the judges panel you would see an uprise in the floundering show as we know it. Adam has extensive theatre training, has had voice training in his past and is intelligent , gorgeous,funny, honest and extremely astute when it comes to music. He is one of the best male pop vocalist out there. He has to date been one of the most popular and is the most dynamic competitor AI has ever seen. As it stands now Adam says the talk about him being a judge are just rumours so we will have to wait and see if it does indeed come to fruition. If it happens he will be amazing!

  41. Wanda says:

    Would be so awesome if Adam Lambert gets to be the judge, he is amazing, his mentoring on AI was so impressive, he’ll make a great judge.

  42. crazy about says:

    I did not watch Idol last season because I was so turned off the judging in the 2011 season but did go to TVline to see what Michael had to say. I would watch Idol again if J Lo were not there or the judging improved and weren’t so obviously biased. I am a real Adam fan & would be heart broken if he too turned into a puppet. I would love to see him on stage regularly too.

  43. Mary says:

    Wow wonderful Adam is my favorite artist. If he does it I won’t miss season 12 he is incredible and so talented guy love him so so so much

  44. miller says:

    100% YES to Adam. Kelly would be good as well but has her own talent show,which by the way includes very current star Jennifer Nettles as well. Current popular stars are doing this not just those whose careers are passed,as some posters have stated. Idol needs some younger blood. It is the only one of the big three where everyone is older than their 30s. I’m sure Adam will be the best all around and I for one think he will be great to watch as well as listen to. ” Time for someone like him”.

  45. Well, I predicted this on March 5, 2011 in a thread on Adamofficial. At the time I was slammed for even thinking it. I’ve been publicly making predictions about Adam Lambert (and Queen) on my blog, for a year. Adam would make a FANTASTIC judge. And for those who worry that it will take too much time, the judges aren’t even there for dress rehearsal from what I understand and can leave when the show is over. When Simon was on he would go to the UK to do another show during the week. So it’s a 2 hour per week gig. Then there’s the audition rounds, which I have grown weary of. Can’t they just get the show producers to do that and just do one week showing contestants only, with the highlights? But really, the judges are in each city for one or two days, right? The job doesn’t take as much time as it looks.

    • Barb says:

      That’s fine to put it into perspective the amount of time demands that would be put on Adam IF he were to be a judge, but do you really have to come out here in the open and pimp your psychic abilities? Frankly it’s embarrassing outsiders have to come across some of the kooks Adam attracts. Not a stretch that anybody with a little imagination could see this happening one day, when Idol became dreary, yet was responsible for catapulting not only an exciting performer, but a dynamic media darling. Even his recent collab with Queen we all speculated about 3 years ago would prob come to be at some point. I stay away from that goofy place AO from all the eye-rolling strain I’ve endured from posts like yours and alot of other weird bs that goes on there, but at least if contained there, there won’t be the perception of the kind of fans Adam draws to himself.

  46. Jane says:

    Great Choice! I still think they could need a woman on the panel, though. Faith Hill, Mariah Carey, M.J. Blige, J. Hudson etc. Someone with real talent and singing ability. J Lo’s just holding out for more money I bet. So, let’s not get our hopes up quite yet.

  47. Ed says:

    Great ideal, Jlo and Steve were going to be replace already according to News Corp investors meeting last month, stating Idol has lost more than 171 Millions dollars in commercial endorsements last season due to poor TV ratings, and that Idol needs “New Fresh Energy” for season 12. As for Jlo after Idol her career is gone, back to being a tabloids queen full of lies and drama, and for Steve, he always survive, he been surviving for decades, good man.

  48. Julia says:

    Adam is talented, he can make the perfect Idol judege… It would be amazing, period.

  49. Ravendeb says:

    I live the idea! I have only been watching Idol since Season 7, but I would replace Steven Tyler with Adam. I know Steven was talented in his day, but I think too many drugs has fried his brain over the years. He just does not make sense some times. Randy is annoying, but he has not really been able to take Simon’s place as the”tough guy”. I say Adam would fill those shoes, plus be a bit flamboyant like ST.

  50. Danielle H says:

    I LOVE Adam. This would make me want to watch again.