Report: American Idol Mulling All-Alumni Judges' Panel -- Crazy-Good or Just Crazy?

American-Idol-Alumni-JudgesReality TV fans are acutely aware that American Idol — coming off a Season 12 finale that, year-to-year, was down 33 percent in total viewers and 44 percent in the 18-49 demo — is bracing for the kind of treatment that Tyra Banks gives to pretty young pageant girls on Top Model: A dramatic makeover!

And a report today from Vulture – that producers are considering a judges’ panel made up entirely of former contestants — certainly sounds like Idol is in for more than a basic cut-and-color during the dormant period before filming on Season 13 gets underway sometime in late August or early September.

RELATED | American Idol: 30 Best Performances of All Time

Still, while there’s certainly some #Pow to the rumors that Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken have all been approached about taking over the chairs most recently occupied by Keith Urban, Nicki Minaj, Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey, I can’t shake the fear that this sounds more like a gimmicky quick fix to Idol‘s declining health rather than a deeper examinatination of what’s truly ailing the franchise. (We should also bear in mind that, at this early stage, everything about Season 13 — short of the fact that Randy won’t be back — is speculative.)

RELATED | American Idol Season 12 Finale Recap: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Finalists

Nevertheless, let’s weigh the potential positives and negatives of an all-alumni panel:

PROS
* The majority of Idol grads are inarguably talented vocalists, lending immediate credibility to their critiques.
* Lambert and Aiken, in particular, have reputations for amusingly unchecked candor — a quality that’s been sadly lacking in most Idol judges (as well as their rivals on The Voice and The X Factor). Plus, as my Idology cohost (and Season 6 standout) Melinda Doolittle has proven, it’s possible to be critical without being cruel or dismissive. (Come to think of it, Fox really ought to have Melinda’s agent on speed dial…even if I have no clue how I’d go on without her!)
* Populating the panel with Idol‘s bold-faced grads might generate enough nostalgia to lure back some lost viewers, and would certainly underscore The Voice‘s lack of success in turning its own alumnae into musical superstars.
* Adam Lambert’s hair > Keith Urban’s hair.

RELATED VIDEO | Idol‘s Amber Holcomb on Her Almost-Didn’t-Happen Streisand Cover, ‘Young Whitney’ Comparisons and ‘Boo-Boo Trash’ Lower Register

CONS
* As we’ve seen with everyone from Jennifer Lopez to Steven Tyler to Adam Levine to Mariah Carey, it’s very, very, very difficult to get current artists — whose primary income source comes from selling their music to the masses — to say or do anything as judges that would make them seem “unlikeable.” While that’s good news to their labels, it generally leads to the kind of bland, toothless feedback that makes TV viewers reach for the fast-forward button. Clarkson herself wasn’t terrible at critiquing rival contestants last summer on the ABC reality competition Duets, but is “not terrible” really what Fox is looking for?
* Regardless of who winds up in the Paula Abdul Memorial Chair, Idol producers need to make a three-tiered guarantee regarding Season 13’s judges: 1) That said panelists will be encouraged — no, required — to give honest feedback about the performances happening in front of them. 2) That at no time will the show’s producers try to sway or script the judges’ comments during live performance shows in order to push some kind of premature, predetermined vision of who they feel should wind up in the finale. 3) That said judges will commit enough time and energy to their jobs that they’ll be able to actually formulate real opinions — and deliver actionable feedback — to the contestants in front of them. Without those guarantees, it doesn’t matter if the chairs are filled by your dad, my mom and a monkey gleefully banging together a pair of cymbals.
* Ultimately, if producers think that they can cook up a panel of three or four alumnae and — voila! — their ratings woes will be solved, then it’s time to start writing Idol’s obituary now. This is a show that — at its heart — is about watching an Oklahoma farm girl get transformed into one of the nation’s biggest music superstars. Uncle Nigel & Co. (or whoever replaces Uncle Nigel & Co.) need to examine every aspect of the show — from audition to coronation — with an eye on how to return focus to that anonymity-to-stardom trajectory and how to make viewers feel that they’re ultimately the true deciders of how said trajectory plays out.

What do you think of the idea of an all-graduate panel on Idol? Which three or four former contestants would you like to see in the chairs? Sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol news, interviews, recaps and videos, 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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422 Comments
  1. kate says:

    did i blink and miss season 13 already?

    • Jordan says:

      Haha I guess we missed it.

    • Chris says:

      You need judges that have a good personality and are going to have fun. Look at S13 panel – none of them looked like they were having fun. Judges don’t have fun, viewers aren’t gonna have fun and enjoy watching. Also, you need judges that are unfiltered – give good, honest critique. Also need better song choices. What they had on S13 was awful. About 95% of the songs I never heard before. Want the audience entertained? Then entertain them with songs they know and love. That Jimmy guy, god he was so boring. Please get rid of him. I like the idea of a rotating judge seat but only for the artist who is gonna plug that week, have them sit on the judging panel the day before and then perform on result night.

      Don’t know about other idol alums but I do like the idea of Adam Lambert – he’s unfiltered, he had fun when he was on, and always choose songs that the audience knew and loved. I would also like to see a famous radio personality as a judge. Someone who is funny, likes to have a good time, and knows about today’s music. I don’t have anyone in mind at the moment, but I’m sure there is someone out there that would fit this bill. But yeah, Idol definitely need judges who are funny and are gonna be a good time. Look at Blake Shelton on the Voice. That dude is hilarious and knows how to have a good time. Country boys do. Honestly, if Blake was not on that show, I don’t think it would be that good. Though Keith Urban was good, he was boring. Find a good country judge. And the 4th judge needs to be a “Simon Cowell” type of person.

      But the most important thing: Judges don’t have fun, viewers aren’t gonna have fun and enjoy watching.

      • lyn says:

        The only thing they need to do is limit the voting and the viewers will return. Period.

        • teatime says:

          Unlimited voting might very well be the number one reason why people get so attached to their favorite idols, want to see them on tour, and are far more likely to buy their albums than contestants from others shows.
          Once you’ve voted for an hour stratight, or more, for a contestant it is hard to forget how much you supported them at one time.

          • lyn says:

            Maybe so, but 10 thousand votes from one person do not translate into concert tickets purchased, music bought or Ford car sales. The show depends on advertising dollars, which depend on ratings. For years my friends and co-workers watched faithfully. Then when cell phones became ubiquitous among teens, unlimited texting took over and we went into voting overload, most of us gave up watching. If those conditions applied in 2002, Justin Guarini would have won season one. If the voting was limited, Lee DeWyze would not have won.

          • teatime says:

            So what if Lee won? We have no evidence Crystal would have won with a different voting formula. It was a low energy year with a lower vote count than earlier years. As soon as the confetti fell Nigel complained publicly about how dull the year was. RCA was on its way out and invested very little in either artist. They didn’t even get new songs for a coronation song!

      • Hal Jordan says:

        Lambert would be the worst possible judge. He’s Minaj redux waiting to happen. Enough alone to keep me from ever watching the show again,

        • Brendon says:

          You obviously know nothing about Lambert with that comment! He would make the best judge ever, he is honest, articulate, funny, great to look at and actually cares about the contestants!

          • Hal Jordan says:

            You obviously are a Glambert who is blind to the fact that half of America cannot stand Adam and won’t watch anything he’s on.

          • Lois says:

            Lambert is a pig, with a filthly mouth, won’t watch for sure.

          • Whatnext says:

            And i can promise you, you won’t be missed. LOL

          • Luz says:

            Hands down Adam Lambert is the best person for the job. He is so qualified. He has such a charismatic personality and he is really interested in helping the contestants. I would watch all of the shows. Adam likes variety and he is so gifted that I am sure the shows would be very entertaining. Adam should have been on the show last season, so wise up producers and get Adam signed so we will have a good show for next season. By the way, I am a fan of Adam’s but no one tells me what to say. Adam happens to be the best male singer ever and that is the truth.

        • It’s obvious you have a deep dislike for Adam Lambert. Adam will be the best judge!! He has the background, he’s an extremely talented artis, he’s also very personable. Since you don’t know much about him, your comment does not lend credence. Adam Lambert works very hard, and everyone who has worked with him from Queen on down, says the same thing. He’s a nice guy who knows his stuff. Ricky Miner said of him, when Adam was a contestant on Season 8, “Adam Lambert gives more than he gets.” No diva is he, and he never blows up. When you are critiquing someone, make sure that’s what you are doing and not spouting off your dislike.

          • Hal Jordan says:

            America will welcome Clay Aiken to the judges’ panel 1000 percent more than they would ever Adam. Clay represents when Idol was actually a great show and the search for a real “Idol” in every sense was just as important as the best performer winning the show.

          • LOG says:

            @HalJordon, I personally would prefer Lambert over Aiken any day of the week. There is no way I would tune in if Aiken was a judge, because, to me, he is so extra and comes across as a nasty individual, with nothing positive to say – ever. And not in the way that Simon is “rude”. I love the way Lambert conducts himself.

          • Luz says:

            Adam Lambert is the best thing that could happen to the show. I would not miss one show to see him and I am not a teenybopper. I am an adult who likes to hear good music and Adam is it. Who can outsing him? Some people are jealous of his talent but Adam is a humble person and very talented. Adam has a huge fan following. So come on and let’s make it happen. Adam for Idol Judge next season. Yes, Yes. Yes.

        • That was quite a cheer on the Idol finale when the camera moved Adam into the frame at the beginning of the duet with Angie. Half the audience at least. Maybe the other half of America loves him. That’s a pretty good percentage.

        • Luz says:

          Adam Lambert is the best thing that would happen to Idol. I do not get the comment by H. Jordan about not wanting Adam to be in the show. Mr. Jordan, Adam has millions of followers and does not need people like you who are biased and negative.

        • Luz says:

          Adam is the best male singer ever. He should be everywhere. I am not a teenager but a
          mature woman and no one compares to Adam.He has everything, poise, warm personality, terrific voice that cannot be imitated.

      • OnlytheBest says:

        Adam would be a phenomenal judge. He is knowledgeable, articulate, humorous, and has a fabulous personality and a lot of heart. He cares about good art. His critiques would be excellent. But beware of the online “competitions” between who would be better — Adam or Clay — because those arguments will be carried on by Glamberts and Claymates and they have been known to go at it fiercely. Actually, I don’t know if those two would work well together since there was a bit of snippy back and forth (started by Clay I think) when Adam was a finalist. I think Clay said Adam’s high wails “made his ears bleed” which was quite less than gracious on his part since both are gay men making a profound mark on the music industry. Clay should have been more supportive and less jealous. I think Adam responded but in a slightly less snarky manner. Anyway, the two together would not work I think. Adam would be by far the more interesting choice and the better and more experienced performer. I don’t think Clay has been on world tours performing his original music for thousands of people, nor has he performed for tens of thousands with Queen. As a judge, Adam would be much like Harry Connick Jr. providing the kind of honest but supportive criticism young artists need to grow. Actually, those two would be incredible together.

      • Luz says:

        The process to choose the contestants is too long and boring. I really have not watched much of the show since the win was taken away from Adam Lambert and also Clay Aiken, These guys should have won period. This year I do not like the winner.I hate choir music and the winner loves that kind of music. The girl who sang with Adam should have won. Adam has a large fan base and they are true to him, so picking Adam would raise the ratings. I saw Clay act in the Apprentice and this guy is a class act all of the way. He did not win the apprentice but he should have he was so good.Every week choose a mentor and choose good songs for people to sing. I remember the 8 season when Kris was critisized every week. It was, do not hide behind the guitar, choose a song where you can sing the range, etc. and then this guy wins??? ???????????

    • Tom22 says:

      and, did I miss the end of the season “idol loonies” ? I was looking forward to some final humor about the season straight from the mouths with video clips etc.

    • Mamo says:

      I’d love to see JHud, Kelly & Adam as judges. In fact, it is SO BRILLIANT that I’m fearful that it’s just another rumor for publicity. They’d have legit chemistry and an authenticity that is lacking elsewhere…especially on last years Idol and any XFactor. Idol is a corny show focusing on finding young talent…let’s go back to that. Embrace the corniness and its maturity. Idol is past its prime, but still is getting GOOD ratings in the current TV environment. Idol is in need of refreshing…particularly in the SONGS that are performed. If I hear “Feeling Good” again, I’ll scream. Let’s face it: any singer competition show will never be “Cool”….even the Voice. But it doesn’t mean that tens of millions of people won’t watch it for fun. Fix the judges panel. Fix the voting. Add more interactive elements…like voting for which song people perform. Add a wider cross section of songs. Make it FUN! And people will watch.

    • karen ellis says:

      i think George Micheal would be a great judge. He is also British and i honest think the show need a little of that since Simon left

  2. Katie says:

    I surprisingly don’t hate this idea. It would be nice to see someone who has the exact knowledge of what the contestants are going through. I can’t help but think of the insight that Melinda gives on the TV Line videos and wonder if some of that candor is exactly what they need.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I’m in for Melinda. Love her! But I agree with Michael – it doesn’t matter who it is if judges are not *required* to give thoughtful, honest feedback that is not scripted by the producers. That is what people liked about Simon. Most of the time he seemed engaged in giving performance-based critiques – *regardless* of the contestant and he didn’t play favorites. I would change all of the theme nights as well and not allow anyone to sing a song that has been sung on this show let’s say… 3 times. And require contestants to sing uptempo songs or alternate between ballads and uptempo, ie, you can’t just sing a friggin’ ballad every week. This is not the Perry Como show. [Um... sorry for ending with a rant, the ballads are driving me nuts :)]

      • Joline says:

        All that matters is the judges have good chemistry with each other (Blake/Adam), are genuinely excited to be there (Keith/Shakira) and are able to articulate their thoughts (not Britney/Mariah.) The Voice has been successful with this model for their coaches and I think Idol could learn a thing or two from them. Also – three judges instead of four please.

        • marie says:

          Yes, three judges are enough!

        • Lee says:

          I would have 3 permanent judges and 1 guest judge each week. I think it’s a bad idea to have 3 alumnae as permanent judges. They’re JUDGES–not coaches like on The Voice–so there’s no need for all of them to be singers. AI needs to mix it up a bit–the way it was in its first season. That’s why AI was successful at the beginning–it had a record producer (Randy), record executive (Simon), and singer (Paula). I think it would be cool if AI hires a music critic–maybe someone from Rolling Stone.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          But even the Voice has proven that judges are completely irrelevant after the battle rounds – I would prefer they just sit there if all they going so say is “that was great.” I don’t really think that the monotonous comments are an effective part of The Voice’s judging panel once the live shows start.

        • Axel says:

          The celebrities on The Voice are coaches, mentors… not judges.

          • Joline says:

            Yes but the point is that the singers critiquing performances on the Voice have great chemistry and passion for the process that makes viewers want to tune in. Idol has been plagued with such negative energy this season it’s time for it to be FUN again!

    • Ally Oop says:

      Melinda would make a great judge. I doubt Carrie Underwood would do it as she is busy with everything. Kelly Clarkson, as the original idol, would be another good one. Please not Clay as he is so annoying. I would LOVE to see Adam Lambert. And I still want Keith Urban to return as I really liked him. Another interesting move for the show would be to move Ryan Seacrest into a judge’s seat…

      • MC says:

        Ryan said he is returning as the host for next season. It would be a very awkward transition for him to suddenly be a judge when a host is always neutral and constantly reassuring contestants. I don’t know why anyone thinks that would be an easy or desirable transition. He’s fine in his current role.

        • I will say, after seeing how deftly Ryan handled the Charlie and Lazaros’ meltdowns, and Queen Aretha practically announcing the winner: I have a new respect for what he is bringing to the show.

          • My Alter Ego says:

            As well you should! It would be, yet another strategically bad move on AI’s part (but it’s shown itself to be exceedingly adept at strategically bad moves for awhile), to move Ryan to a position as judge.

      • I was just thinking almost the same thing – Keith Urban, Melinda,
        and Adam Lambert would make a great panel if they were left alone to honestly critique the performances. All are capable of giving constructive critism without being offensive and all have a good sense of humor.

      • Hal Jordan says:

        Clay absolutely! Adam absolutely not!

    • stevenjaba says:

      If I could add a #4 to your list Michael… limit the number of times 1 phone number can vote, just like the voice does. When thousands of pre-teens speed vote for the cutest boy, it seriously impacts the show as they end up, with an unsell-able winner.

  3. Elyse says:

    sounds like a good idea to me. then again I don’t watch AI so what do I know?!

  4. niamhcat says:

    I like the idea of the better Idol alums judging, especially Adam and maybe Kelly (although I would prefer a mixed panel of the two of them and two industry people, songwriters or producers), but you’re right in saying that alone is not the answer to all of Idol’s problems. First and foremost, it doesn’t matter who sits in the judges’ chairs if the contestants have to sing from the same tired old song list they haven’t changed in ten years. The show need a major injection of contemporary music. It is really embarrassing when none of the contestants have even heard of any of the songs on some of those theme weeks– another thing that needs a major overhaul.

    They should also bring back the guest mentors– some of them had a lot of helpful advice and different perspectives– and finally, give Jimmy Iovine the heave-ho! I know he’s the resident record label exec and as such has some kind of stranglehold on the producers, but I always want to yell at him to shut the hell up and get rid of that silly backwards baseball cap.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      I agree a mixed panel would be better. Send Jimmy back to where ever he came from and update the stinking song list already. Like pronto. Personally, I would like every producer to go. I feel they are either lazy or out of ideas – so why not get new ones? Maybe younger ones would stop shoving Burt Bacharach down our throats because … well, who really remembers who he is anyway?

      • AlyB says:

        I think Idol watchers know who he is only because they keep dragging that tired old songbook out over and over and over again. I don’t think anyone under 60 actually enjoys it. The rest of the audience is groaning hoping it’s over quickly. Same with Motown. They do it nearly every.single.season. Maybe one or two of the contestants manage to do it well. The rest just want to survive the week and I know most watchers just cringe through it hoping their favorite didn’t get stuck with something horribly lame and overdone. The Lawrence Welk show in its day was doing music more current to the years it ran than Idol is. Except for maybe a nostalgia week or two where they let contestants pick any genre they wanted, I wish they’d keep the songs to things produced in the last 25 years. I know older fans love the old music but we’ve had 12 years of them covering mostly that. At least give us a season where they concentrate mostly on newer music.

        • Mark says:

          Good points. Themes are not necessarily a bad thing, and they do provide focus to the show. But the themes need to be updated. How about a songs of the millennium week? Top 100 digital downloads? Summer music festivals? Grammy winners (of the last 25 years)? 80s week? There a lot of ways they could go that would not result in a night of listening to music from 1966.

          • deedee says:

            They’ve had those themes plenty of times. Billborard top 100; songs from 2012; songs from the year you were born (mostly 90’s, some 80’s); songs you wish you’d written; etc. It’s not like they’ve kept it all oldies and moldies. Sure, they can get rid of all songs older than the year 2000+, but that’s also limiting. Why not just expand the song list from every era? Then at least we won’t have to hear Grapevine for the 17th time.

          • Tess says:

            Sure they’ve given us some variations on those themes from time to time, but have you noticed that when they do say “top digital downloads” or “songs from the current decade” the actual variety of artists and songs that seem to be available to the contestants is so much more limited. Like they finally decide to do a week of current songs and all they get cleared are Lady Gaga, Pink, and Adele. It’s as if they are like “you want current songs, don’t say we don’t give you any…but don’t expect us to give you a lot of options!” I think any theme can be good or can be really awful depending on what songs they are willing to clear – give us the same tired old song options that have been covered to death and the theme will be terrible whether it’s current or really old. But make some songs available to contestants that we haven’t heard on the show before (or at least give them the options to change them up to make them their own, which it seems they are less inclined to allow them to do these days) and it can make for a good theme even if it is a retread of a theme we’ve heard many times before.

          • Mark says:

            True, that is the other half of the equation. Updating the themes isn’t enough if they don’t expand the lists. But the expansion needs to be horizontal, thereby broadening the lists, rather than backward looking, and defeating the purpose of the update.

        • Lee says:

          I don’t mind theme weeks. It’s sorta like when the cheftestants have to cook casual food, fine dining food, Italian food, Chinese food, etc., on Top Chef. It shows how versatile you are as an artist. Actually, I think AI should copy Top Chef’s formula. At the beginning of the show, have a Quickfire challenge where the judges give immunity to the winner for the Elimination challenge. Then have an Elimination challenge that is determined by the voters. That’ll shake up AI.

          • Mark says:

            I like where you are going with this, but it wouldn’t work on live TV because the contestants (and band) need time to prepare. How about doing away with the judge’s save, going to a three judge panel, and the bottom two do a sing off. The judges vote on who goes home. With only three votes, there is no possibility of deadlock. However, if someone is in the bottom two in three consecutive weeks, that person goes home without a sing off. That way, they can’t keep someone around that America clearly doesn’t want.

          • Tess says:

            Mark what you are describing is what they do on X Factor. Pretty sure Idol will want to avoid copying what Simon and co. are doing over there. Of all the changes they could make, they aren’t going to want to make one that makes them look like they are trying to mimic someone else’s concept.

          • Mark says:

            I know it sounds similar and for that reason won’t get adopted, but it wouldn’t work exactly the same way. In X-Factor, the judges are tied to particular contestants, so you know in advance how two of them are going to vote. That leaves the decision up to the other two, who really don’t want to be in that position–so they often deadlock and leave it to the popular vote. But on a three judge panel with no contestant affiliation, the judges should be able to cast honest votes, and if they know they are doing it every week, it won’t be such a gut-wrenching spectacle. The other thing I would do is make them cast their votes by pushing a button before the last performance ends. Don’t poll them, just display the results. The part I like best is if the voters send the same person to the bottom two three weeks in a row, that person is gone. They can’t save the producer’s favorite if the voters are not impressed.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          I’m in for the last 25 years… That could be a nice change.

        • PeaceMaker says:

          I think it’s really unfair to assume that someone older only likes old music. I am 56. And yes, some old songs are classic and great, but that’s not what I listen to on the radio. The problem, I think, is that when you’re trying to prove you can sing, you don’t want to use a current radio song that’s basically an auto-tuned, dance-driven track. That doesn’t mean you can’t sing something more current, but there’s also the issue of not wanting to be compared to the original artist who’s fresh in everyone’s ears. I think that’s also why slower songs are often chosen, which can better show off singing ability. That being said, I totally agree that the show needs to be updated in all ways mentioned. but let’s not insult older, classic singers. And let’s not insult older viewers, who are just as likely to be tired of the old themes.

          • AlyB says:

            It wasn’t meant to be insulting to older viewers. I never said they only liked old music, just that Idol was way too focused on it. If they want to know why they’ve been hemorrhaging younger viewers, it’s their narrow focus on that era. I think they underestimate just how much older viewers would appreciate some fresh music too.

            What I find insulting is the insinuation that everything produced in the last 25 years is nothing more than auto-tuned, dance driven tracks. It’s simply not true. I think they might be more successful in engaging all demographics if they introduced newer music into the mix. Perhaps viewers like yourself would learn that there’s a lot of good stuff out there beyond auto tuned, dance driven tracks.

      • Aaron says:

        Sorry, but I am under 50 and I enjoy the Burt Bacharach songs – they are hard to sing and in some cases still sound like they could be hits today (with a little tweaking). In fact, Elvis Costello recently recorded a CD of his songs and it was really great. I don’t mind theme night per say – it’s just that I am SICK TO DEATH of them using the same songs. What I LOVED about Amber during Beatles week this season was that she did “She’s Leaving Home”, a song that I don’t recall anyone else doing. I think if they are going to do Motown or Beatles or whatever they should force contestants to do A) songs that have NEVER been done on Idol and B) they should be required to change the arrangement – no copy-cats of the original song. As for pat contestants as judges – Adam Lambert SHOULD be a judge and I’d love to see Melinda there too – but I think what would be better is Adam as judge and Melinda as “coach” or “mentor” – she’d be great at helping them keep it fresh.

        • MC says:

          People glibly toss around the word “legend” all the time. Burt Bacharach, in the eyes of producers and composers (and many performers) in the music industry, is truly a legend. There is obviously no expiration date on being a legend. Idol doesn’t have to impose his songs as a theme every season, but they are timeless and usually good vehicles for singers. The “old” standards still produce great moments. Listen to Candice sing “You’ve Changed” and tell me that wasn’t a highlight of the season.

          • Mark says:

            Whether they were legendary or not is beside the point. A season featuring Burt Bacharach, Motown, The Beatles, The American Songbook, and Inspirational songs as themes, and also featured ancient songs during rock week, as well as loosely interpreted one hit wonders that were pretty much the sixties all over again, the result is a giant snooze that drove viewers away. Any one of these is not the problem. The sum of all these ancient themes is a huge problem.

          • MC says:

            @Mark – The bigger picture is these “legends” were all innovators and are still influencing serious composers and artists today. They wrote the textbook on songwriting and that book is still valid today. It would be different if “legend” only meant the number of records sold, but it goes much farther and much deeper than that.

        • I own that Elvis Costello/Burt Bacharach CD and you are right…it is amazing :)

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          @Aaron. I am definitely up for no repetition and I’ll take Melinda in any capacity she’s available :)

  5. Amy says:

    Hm. Might work… Just not Kelly Clarkson. She already proved during Duets that she’s too nice to give really helpful critique.

    • Teeny Bikini says:

      Kelly is a great judge. And she knows how to be constructive without being obnoxious – which apparently is a much-needed skill on this show.

      • Eli says:

        The problem is, these kids need a little obnoxious sometimes. If everyone keeps telling you how amazing you are, it’s really really hard to not start believing it and it’s equally hard to accept criticism after you started believing it.

        • TruckDriver says:

          Almost like this seasons The Voice? The judges are all too nice, almost Brady Bunch nice.

        • Teeny Bikini says:

          LOL. I think they can be constructive without going over-the-top. And I totally agree about the overpraising. I would ban all standing O’s and I would prefer that any praise was re-phrased, for example – “this performance was effective because A, B, C but you still need to work on D because…” There is definitely a middle ground here…

          • Mark says:

            Yes. Next season the judge’s chairs should come equipped with seatbelts and airbags that go off if the judge tries to stand up while the cameras are rolling. I’m serious.

          • My Alter Ego says:

            LOL. I get your point, but no, standing ovations should not be banned from the judges panel. They should just be “judiciously” used (yes, there’s a connection), which is not something that’s happened in the last two years. (When everything gets a standing O, then what does it mean when it’s really deserved?)
            ****
            I like the idea of “the performance was effective because …, but for me, I expected …” I like that a lot.
            ****
            But as many have already said, judging is only a percentage (maybe 25 – 33%) of the problem. There are other, perhaps, much greater concerns (unlimited voting, producer manipulation)..

          • Teeny Bikini says:

            @My Alter Ego. I totally agree that voting and manipulation are a *huge* issue. All *new* producers that fully understand the issues and are willing and able to change them would work for me. I think sometimes people get so used to doing the same thing in their job that they just *can’t* see any other way.

      • Yo says:

        Kelly is boring. I know fans love her, but to those of us who did not catch her season, she just is not an engaging personality.

    • I agree Kelly was too nice on Duets you can’t be that way and be successful and helping the contestants.

  6. jools says:

    Adam Lambert yes. Panel entirely made up of ex alumn – no

    • Lunakit says:

      Adam / Harry Connick Jr. / Nicki / Kelly

    • karenb says:

      I’m not exactly an Adam fan or hater, but I do think he would be an ok judge. My idea is this: have the top 3 from each season judge per episode-changing the lineup each week. That way the show gets variety and a greater amount of fans would tune in to see their particular favorite Idol alum.

      • jools says:

        i think that’s a horrible idea myself. I don’t think appointing new judges should be based on pleasing often tiny fanbases, it should be about what they could bring to the show.

        Adam Lambert should have been given the job last year.

        • karenb says:

          Which “tiny fan bases” are you referring to? Surely-you’re not insinuating that Adam has the largest fan base of all Idol alums are you? Because that would be …. So incorrect.

          • major says:

            Adam comes across as insincere, I couldn’t stand seeing him every week because a little of him goes a long way for me.

      • Arena Director says:

        Great idea!

    • AlyB says:

      Agree. I want Adam in a seat. People will tune back in to see that. I think keeping Keith is a good idea and maybe add in someone like Alicia Keys or Pink. Emeli Sande is breaking into the US market from the UK. She might make a good judge and it would be good exposure for her. i’d like 3 judges max but if they’re really married to the idea of a 4 judge panel, then 2 alums, 2 non-alums is good. Maybe something like Kelly, Adam, Alicia K and Keith. or JHud (or Melinda), Adam, Pink and Keith. Whatever they do, they should take the money they save on judges contracts and spend it on music.

    • Hal Jordan says:

      Any ex-Idol contestant but Lambert. Absolutely not. He was, and remains, the most divisive contestant in the show’s history. Half of what’s left of Idol’s audience would stop watching if he were to become a judge.

      Bring back alumni from Season 5 and before only. Clarkson, Aiken, Daughtry, Pickler, etc. These are the people who made Idol a juggernaut not the WGWG’s and folks like Bowersox and Lambert.

      • MC says:

        ITA. You and I are of the same mind on this issue. Clay would be my first choice of those on your list.

        • mary wheaton says:

          I agree mc I definitely would love to see Clay as one of the judges, I think he would be fair and honest in his comments.

      • Luz says:

        Sorry but I completely disagree. Adam is the best of all of the persons mentioned. Kelly is so boring, Keith did a good job, Clay would also be good but not with Adam, Minaj was so bad please leave her out forever, and please change how the voting is done. Clearly both Lambert and Clay should have won their seasons. This multiple voting should be stopped. One vote per person is fine.

    • Hal Jordan says:

      Anyone but Lambert for judge. Just like the season he was on as the most divisive contestant in the show’s history. ABL for “Anyone But Lambert” to win, became the rally cry as the end of the season ended. Lambert could have been in the finals against William Hung and he still would have lost.

      That sound you hear are remotes switching off Idol from half of its viewers if they have to watch Adam Lambert every week, even as a judge.

      • Tess says:

        Funny, I thought that season the chant was “anyone but Gokey”…

        Frankly, I’m not an Adam fan but I do think he is probably one of the more outspoken former contestants who at least as a non-winner can still boast that he does have a number 1 album to his credit and if we’re looking for at least one or two of the judges (hopefully of a 3 not 4 judge panel) to speak honestly and give solid critiques and know what they are talking about when it comes to music and singing and performing, then he probably would be the name that would top the list. If not him, then I’d like to see them consider Melinda because we know she’s really good here with Michael and would give some solid critiques and tell people the truth without playing to a producer agenda.

        I’d rather not see a panel full of alumni though, just one would suffice (and not a whole panel of “stars” either, I’d like to see them have like a songwriter or producer or an A&R person like Simon – people behind the scenes in the industry who don’t have to worry about selling their next album). I don’t think Kelly would be willing to not always be nice and I don’t see Jennifer to be the type to want to judge. I like Clay but even though he has shown he has a snarky side, I just can’t see him not wanting to be generally nice to contestants too. The producers have to keep in mind too that having a panel of all alumni means 3-4 people who have been in the shoes of the contestants and will less likely be willing to go along with some blatant manipulation (then again, this might be a good thing after all…).

    • Hal Jordan says:

      No Adam! He is the male equivalent of Nicki. Only trouble will occur if he were to become a judge, just like it did with Minaj.

      Clay, on the other hand, absolutely YES!!!! Bring back the glory days of Idol with someone who is a great performer and a solid public citizen and “idol” through his various charitable works.

      • Natalie says:

        Adam would be the male Minaj? Oh yes. I forgot. Adam goes around disrespecting people out in public ALL the time. Uh huh. Sure. Adam is honest, and so was Minaj. But it’s the kindness and gentle sometimes a little crazy humor that makes Adam much better. The respect he shows artists, Minaj lacked respect for people. Adam has done amazing things, I don’t appreciate you implying he isn’t an idol. He has helped charities too. He is inspirational like Clay too.

        • rog says:

          I don’t like Adam much, but I think he and Clay as judges would be the most awesome thing ever. They are both honest, sometimes brutally so and they are both the most talented vocalists ever on the show. I think these two could really throw down to the contestants and each other. I would tune back in to AI to see it for sure.

      • emily says:

        Lol at solid public citizen. Dude, you’re embarrassing yourself at this point. I was right earlier, you are obsessed with Adam. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY ADAM WOULD BE AN EXCELLENT CHOOSE AS AN AI JUDGE. YOU SAY YOU’D NEVER WATCH AGAIN IF HE’S A JUDGE, BUT YOUR MANIC POSTING ABOUT HIM TELLS ME DIFFERENTLY ;)

      • saf says:

        Hey Green Lantern!.. How about you tell us about how you don’t want Adam Lambert to be a judge……………. for the 9000th time!

        • saf says:

          And by the way, why haven’t you mentioned once why you do not like Adam Lambert? Other than divisive. The only song I can remember by Clay was “Invisible” which mimics his musical career. Although Clay may know his stuff musically. Lambert does as well, on top of a likable personality, he is fun, and INTERESTING. Which is where I believe, Clay is lacking overall.

          • rog says:

            Well, obviously you’ve never Aiken in action. He is hilarious. I was drug to a concert and laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants. I have seen him several times since and he’s a riot.

  7. PutAForkInIt says:

    Bottom line: all shows — good or bad — must eventually come to an end.

    Nothing can save this show and return it to its glory.

    It has run its course and will never see a ratings uptick again.

    Just the nature of a glut of competition shows out there — and most viewers being tired of the genre.

    • Todd says:

      Amen to that. I think AI has run its course. Unless there is some dramatic change in the ratings, either next season or the season after will be it. (I think this will be a make it or break it year for X-Factor, too.) Even the Voice’s ratings are down.

      As far as the judges go: If the judges are to have any sort of credibility, they all need to be WINNERS from past seasons. They can speak to what it takes to WIN, not come in second or whatever.

  8. dude says:

    I feel like Melinda Doolittle, Adam Lambert and Kelly Clarkson would be an amazing judging panel.

  9. james says:

    I think it’s a GREAT idea to have a former contestant on the panel (Adam or Kelly would be my top picks), but let’s mix it up a little bit with an industry professionals and a high profile artist or two. Or have 2-3 judges with a 4th rotating former contestant seat?

    • Corky St. Clair says:

      Great idea to have a rotating guest judge, alumni or otherwise. Just like on SYTYCD, Nigel’s favorite child.

    • Lea H. says:

      This! I was thinking the same thing. Have 3 judges, one being Adam Lambert, and have a fourth rotating judge with past idol alumni. I would love to see Melinda Doolittle as a judge, also. Or maybe have Michael Slezak, or Jim Cantiello and Lindsey Parker in the rotating chair.

  10. JJ says:

    They should get Paula Abdul back and have Adam Lambert and Kelly Clarkson sit beside her.

    • toadily says:

      Shake things up. Don’t bore us with judges who have had their day, Paula, or can’t give a pithy but entertaining judgment, Mariah and Kellly, or assault our ears with squirm worthy comments, Nicki, who did live and learn. Love the idea of mixing up mentoring with alums like Daughtry, Adam, David Cook, JHud, Haley Rineheart, Crystal Bowersox, Colton Dixon, and Constantine. I’d be majorly entertained while the contestants get exposed to a broad range of experience, musical interests, and new paths to consider to hone down who they want to be or already are. Scrap themes entirely so that every week is a surprise conjured up by the mentor and contestant, and the judges are just as in the dark as we are so their responses will be just as candid as ours. Shake up the judging with a mixture of nonpolarizing, respected artists from different genres who have people skills, Marish and Nicki, and won’t weigh us down with bickering. I’d like to ser Keith, Stevie Nicks, a popular mentor who doesn’t come with diva baggage, Johnny Lang, Norah Jones, Alicia Keyes, Mary J Blige, another popular mentor, smong others, mix it up. Of course get rid of the producers’ agenda, choose a really talented group of artists, and let us discover somebody with a fresh new take on music. Cheers Idoloonies!

  11. Like you even had to ask.. Adam Lambert and i’ll watch & DVR. Clay – will check out youtube. Anyone else – will DVR the News at 10 pm rather than watch Idol.

  12. Petunia says:

    There is so much more to fix than just the judges. How about expanding the song library exponentially for starters.

  13. Anna says:

    I would not make ex-Idols judges. I would rather see them as mentors, where they could really work with the contestants behind the scenes.

    Having an all-Idol judges panel would (A) do little to save the sinking ratings; and (B) would incite fan wars over why Idol X got the gig over Idol Z.

    Also, I don’t know how many ex-Idols would be able to stand up to TPTB and give honest criticism that might fly in the face of who TBTB want to pimp. If Nicki Minaj and Keith Urban couldn’t do it, why should we think that anyone who pretty much owes their success to Idol would be able to do it, no matter how honest and outspoken they might be otherwise?

    • Jay says:

      You make some excellent points, Anna. I especially like your ‘ex-Idols as mentors’ idea because consistent or ongoing coaching/mentoring is what AI is sadly missing.

      • Bailey says:

        Yes, I agree, former idols as mentors is an excellent idea! They can come on, get a little showcase of what they’ve been up to since idol, and then perform on the results show. As mentors they can be completely positive so they won’t have to worry about criticizing and appearing unlikeable.

        • AlyB says:

          i like this a lot too. Except the part about them being completely positive. The mentors should be able to tell them how to improve whatever it is they’re working on and that necessitates pointing out flaws. It can be done in a constructive way though. You don’t help someone improve just by telling them they’re terrific. You have to be able to say, this is something you need to work on or here’s something that can be better. It’s important to offer suggestions for improvement though instead of just saying that’s awful. That’s been the whole problem with judges on all these shows. They say it’s great, you’re a star blah blah blah or conversely it’s awful, that was not good blah blah blah without ever offering any kind of suggestions as to how to be better. Someone on these shows has to do it. The audiences like to see this because we like to see someone incorporate these things and really get better and start to reach their full potential.

      • Joline says:

        I also like this idea of former Idols as mentors. And more behind the scenes footage of prepping songs would go a long way! It was severely lacking this past season.

    • MC says:

      I think Clay is one of the very few ex-Idols who has the temperament and wisdom to be completely honest and still help the singers. I would like to see him as a judge and I don’t think he’s hugely busy. I know some people can’t stand him, but you can’t please everybody.

  14. LW says:

    the problem is that the judges are not the entire problem. They started with two non singer people no one knew and one older star people were really not all that familiar with AND a great format and it worked. so why are they seeking these singers everyone knows now????? cuz agreed no one will be the mean one and the panel needs a Simon rough mean one as he was the one I agreed with every week and the one that if he did give praise it was well deserved. simon was the dad paula the mom and randy the hipster uncle, they all had a very distinct view and role and personality and thats why they worked.

    The SHOW IS OLD, no matter who the judges are i cant sit through another freaking rat pack week. Darwin pointed out you change or die out…….is Idol going to evolve or drown in the tar pits of its own make?

    having said that the judges did suck and make it unwatchable, an alumni that is there to help the show and the contestants will be a better sell than an over paid mega star that is there for the paycheck and doesnt give a crap about the show.

    Adam Lambert Queen Latyfa and a producer that no one knows would be a great panel

    • Brooke says:

      You have a very good point that the show was the most successful when we were least familiar with all the judges. I remember being bewildered that Paula Abdul of all people was going to be judging a singing competition and had no idea who Simon and Randy were (despite listening to music they had been behind the scenes on). Idol wasn’t a monster success back in the day because of the judges, and changing the judging panel as many times as they can is never going to fix what’s broken now.

    • I agree with you Adam Lambert, Queen Latyfa and Pharrell Williams or even Harry Connick Jr. All three are immensely credible and know the business well.

      • LW says:

        Pharrell would never do the show hes too cool and back on the charts right now, plus, hes boring, ever see an interview? Its an entertainment show and the ppl need to play roles to an extent, like Simon is not that mean but he played that role and he did it with relish and a gleam in his eye. They were silly and over the top at time but entertainming, even good honest comments will be boring, thus the personality and interplay between the judges is important and that is one of the things that was lacking this year definately, no chemistry so no interplay = boring. Harry would be ok I guess I dunno. I know after all these years we cringed every time we hear yo dawg but it worked well for a lot of years too :)

      • Ally Oop says:

        Queen Latifah would be a really good judge. I’d like to see her with Keith Urban and Adam Lambert. And have a guest judge with them each week accordIng to what the music theme is. And I would take the show out of its setting and move it around America on a week to week basis. Of course, I would also retire and songs that have been performed more than three times on Idol.

    • teatime says:

      @LW I was agreeing with all your points. Then out of nowhere you threw in Adam Lambert as a judge suggestion. I don’t see the logic in that. The judges should be industry people who work with a lot of different artists and types of artists, like producers, or maybe songwriters. If there is ONE artist/celevrity on the panel, it should be someone with a long history in the business and preferably someone who is not still recording and trying to be nothing but nice.
      The judges do need to have good chemistry, to be able to think on their feet, and to be entertaining to listen too. It is the entertainment industry, it should not be so difficult to find people who can keep the show enjoyable.
      Former contestants as guess mentors makes much more sense. That is more their expertise and then they can say nothing but positive things if that is what they want to do.

      • LW says:

        Yes well dont disagree on the mentor part as well, but I put Adams name in there as a judge as its been thrown around a lot and ppl seem receptive to it and I can see why. Get a producer that can be harsh if need be and have that view, a Queen Latifya would be personable and bring her own career perspective. I used to be a huge Idol fan, went to the shows, bought the albums, loved a lot of them, Kelly, Daughtry (seeing him July woot) Cook, etc. But Adam was one of the most dynamic contestants and to this day one of the most “known” Idols, he was even a part of the opening show of the first Chinese Idol show which is just starting this year. The judges dont deterimine who wins they dont give career advise to make them commercially successful, they just judge performances and give critique on what was good and what was bad. Steven Tyler didnt pick rock stars, he rushed the stage to give a hug of joy to a dude who did an ok song, this was useless. Adam knows singing and performing, having done that for a good part of his life, what it takes and how to do it. And most importantly, hes very articulate and honest, he will give great advise and it will be credible coming from someone who had stood on that stage and dominated it.

        • teatime says:

          I think people think Adam is more successful than he is. Has he even sold a million albums? I think he has but just barely. He is successful, but so are many contestants and many people in the industry. He has successfully made himself a celebrity. That is something. But if we are looking at what worked with the original 3 judges, I don’t see where he fits in.

          • LW says:

            They have had lots of more successful people as judges, who is more successful that mariah? but they sucked. So thats not even a factor really. He is well known in relation to the show, he does understand music and singing and performing very well and most importantly he is very articulate and honest. I think he would be refreshingly honest tho not mean like simon was and his perspective as a returning contestant would be interesting

  15. I think it is a great idea. Just like Katie said above, someone who has been through the process. No more narcissistic superstars. And for God’s sake first of all change the voting system. Melinda Doolittle, Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken, Kellie Pickler, Elliott Yamin, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson ……… I could go on and on. Lots of great vocalists and/or personalities to choose from. I wouldn’t even mind seeing Paula Abdul return.

  16. Karen says:

    Where’s the final Idolatry video with Melinda? Hope it’s coming soon!

    Oh, and I like the idea of past Idols on the judging panel. Anything is better than Randy!

  17. Luann C. says:

    How about instead of judging, they bring guest Idol alum as the weekly mentors. And I don’t mean 1 hour sessions for the sake of TV, but bring the mentor in to really work with the contestant. With their personal experiences from standing in the contestant’s shoes, they can share how they themselves discovered what it took to be that unknown farm girl or WGWG that found the confidence to very quickly become a world-wide performing artist. Who would be better mentors than the Idol alums themselves? If Carrie Underwood found a way to move past her performance anxieties and somewhat introverted personality (I only just learned of this from a recent interview with her), then who better to guide these amateur performers onto the path of performing stardom?

  18. Wendy Leder says:

    I’ll watch again if Adam Lambert is a judge.

    • Elsa says:

      Ditto. Well, I’ll watch anyway, but will be a happy camper if he is a judge.

      • Hal Jordan says:

        Won’t ever watch Idol EVER if Adam is a judge. Clay, I will watch and DVR every week.

        • kenneth H says:

          Obviously Adam Lambert’s fans want him to be an Idol judge. But other people don’t see any proof he’d be a good judge. He wasn’t a particularly perceptive mentor (why was he even a mentor?). Idol seems to be his own personal publicity franchise. I don’t get why they’re so proud they produced an Adam Lambert. Overrated to the max.

  19. Shanna says:

    They need to stop having artists who feel bad for the contestants and have the mentality that they are going kids a break they never got. They need music producers and other professionals who will tell it like it is.

  20. Adam Lambert has proved himself to be worthy and would make a great judge. Articulate, respectful, honest, funny, great knowledge of music, beautiful, and talented.

  21. IMHO says:

    Please, please, please…..Keep Adam Lambert OFF of ANY show. I don’t think my speakers could take all of his screeching.

    • Obviously this commenter has not listened to Adam sing. Obviously not an Idol watcher either since Adam performed a fabulous duet with Angie at the finale laset week. Therefore, IMHO is just a spammer.

      • IMHO says:

        Hate to burst your little bubble. I have watched most of every season. I was horrified that Mr. Lambert lasted sooo long during his season. With very few exceptions, he was unable to make it through a single song without rolling out his tongue and trying to find a new note to demolish with a scream. That is not talent, it’s just volume.

        • RodMod says:

          Whether or not I agree with your statements, they are frikkin hilarious!
          .
          Especially the comment about the rolling tongue!
          .
          “Papa was a rolling tongue, because a restrained note ain’t no fun! And when he screeched, all I saw was tounge and tee-ee-ee-eef!”

        • Axel says:

          Judging by your comments, it is obvious that you are not following his career and also have not seen Adam perform during the finals of Season 12.

        • Hal Jordan says:

          Plus one million!

    • Montavilla says:

      Well, he wouldn’t be singing, would he?

    • Larc says:

      You are aware that judges are there to judge, not to perform, aren’t you?

    • Bailey says:

      This post is exactly why I think it is a terrible idea to have former idols as judges. This show may give these kids some dedicated fans, but it also gives them some unrelenting haters. Even years after they were on the show people are still bashing them. Imagine what it would be like, the hate they would be subjected to, if they were judges. No. Just. No.

      • jools says:

        But that’s one of the many reasons I think Adam Lambert is a GREAT choice. No other idol alumn can stir up the fans/haters in quite the same way. As well as bringing off the wall charisma, honest critique, wide knowledge & genuine interest in music and fabulous outfits, he also brings the buzz, both in the media and the fanbases/viewership.

        He should have been a judge last season. He also should have been the first Idol they approached if there is any truth to this. Adam & Idol judge needs to happen.

        • Mary says:

          I want the show to be about the contestants not the judges, we do not need controversy like we had this year. I hate to say it but Adam is more popular overseas than in the US, so I am not sure how many new viewers AI will get. Judging is such a different criteria that I am not so sure Adam could be cruel to other singers, yes he is out spoken, but I always got the impression that he tries to be supportive of other artist, I think it would be difficult for him to tell a contestant he suck. I think it would be better to go with unknown as permanent and maybe rotating alumni judges/mentors.

          • jools says:

            It can be about the contestants AND about the judges, just like it was when Simon and Paula were on the show. Yet another reason for Adam Lambert, not only does he command attention for himself he is also generous in sharing it with others.

            I think he *would* find it hard to be cruel, but he doesn’t need to be cruel, that was Simon’s ‘gimmick’ and possibly something Clay could bring over Adam if Idol wanted that. What Adam has demonstrated many times is that he can offer honest constructive criticism – being truthful about negatives but making sure to point out positives at the same time. I prefer Adam’s way to Simon/Clay’s way.

            I have been thinking about this for a long time and am utterly convinced that Adam Lambert should be #1 choice for Idol judge, just as he should have been last season. Also utterly convinced idol will make a different choice and that it’ll be wrong for them again.

        • Hal Jordan says:

          Precisely why he should NEVER judge Idol. He will lose half of the remaining audience who wants nothing to do with him, voted for anybody but Lambert every week, etc.

          OTOH, Clay is what an “Idol” is all about, a gracious runner-up, active in numerous community and civic works, charities, etc.

          • emily says:

            You realize you’re totally describing Adam here, right? He was an extraordinarily gracious runner-up, and is very active in numerous community and civic works, charities, etc. Lol, you’re a funny little man.

          • jerri says:

            If you look at all the negative comments about Adam all most all are made by the same guy.
            Hal Jordan. Ok we get it you don’t like Adam. You obviously haven’t followed his career. He’s a class act and has been very successful. Was just named International artist of the year in China.
            Did 6 concerts fronting for Queen.
            I could go on and on. But I won’t not like you who answer every comment to anyone that has good
            things to say about Adam.

            WE GET IT YOU DON’T LIKE HIM.

    • Sg. Grant says:

      I don’t want him just because he didn’t win. If you are going to use former contestants, at least use winners like Kelly or Carrie. I think they need to bring in Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Kelly Clarkson, and have a guest spot for a 4th judge.

      • Lucinda says:

        I think Justin and Bruno have much bigger and better things to do than idol. My preference would be that the judges are not current artists because, like Slezak mentioned, they will tend to do way too much sugar coating instead of telling it like it is, good, bad or otherwise.

    • Gabi says:

      You are not serious, are you? Or have you been living under a rock the last four years? I disagree respectfully.

    • Libby says:

      @IMHO-ding! Ding! Ding!! You are so right.

  22. Sam says:

    I will watch American Idol if they pick ADAM LAMBERT as one of their judges. Adam Lambert is interesting, exciting, knowledgeable about different genres of music, honest, funny, and extremely talented. He was invited to perform and to act as a guest judge on the first ever series of ‘Chinese Idol’ recently. He has huge worldwide appeal.

    • TruckDriver says:

      @Sam. Yes indeed. Adam must be an Idol Judge. He’s HUGE in China. Also, he told reporters that if Idol ask him to be a judge, he’s in 100%

  23. whatnext says:

    Yes to Adam, Melinda, Kelly C, and how about Kellie Pickler? Fresh off her DWTS win, she has the likability factor, and has carved out a nice little career niche for herself in Nashville. On the other hand, Clay & JHud? Just no…way too full of themselves.

  24. Jen says:

    I didn’t watch this season at all, and didn’t miss it, but having a panel with Adam on it would bring me back, definitely! (also, yes please to Clay and Melinda!)

  25. Adam Fachry says:

    Indifferent about it. And if they approach Melinda, I’m afraid she will be sold out and instead of giving constructive criticism like what she does on Idology, she will be turned into a puppet by anyone who controls next season.

  26. Tony Reed says:

    Melinda Doolittle is a must. How bout Micheal Slezak sitting next to her?

    • Montavilla says:

      Honestly, I think it would be a good idea to have a media person on the panel. Michael is the best choice, I think. He’s funny (especially when he’s angry). He got a great ear. He respects different musical genres. And one thing I like is that, even if he doesn’t like a contestant, he always approaches their new performances afresh.
      .
      But what I think would be a good idea would be to have Michael interview the finalists (Top 12?), edit it down to ten minutes each and put them on the Idol website. He does, by far, the best interviews and really brings out the personality and the artist in each Idol. What gets us invested in these contestants is their stories and personalities, and what we want to see is that seed of artistry grow over the process. Of course, I’d still like to get the exit interviews as well.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Michael Slezak as Idol’s social media correspondent? Eat your heart out, Christina Milian.

      • Bailey says:

        It’s totally different though to have to do it on the fly. You wouldn’t be able to rewatch the performance before critiquing it. And sometimes on the third or fourth listen, your opinion changes. Besides, I would miss this column and Idology too much.

  27. Montavilla says:

    “Without those guarantees, it doesn’t matter if the chairs are filled by your dad, my mom and a monkey gleefully banging together a pair of cymbals.”
    .
    Kara! I wouldn’t mind Kara back, actually — as long as she could take the heat. Because she’d need to allow herself to be the “strong, critical voice” that she started out as.
    .
    I think it would be a good idea to have *one* alumni on the panel, and I think the best choices are either Clay, Melinda, or Adam. (Adam would be my first pick.) Both Melinda and Adam have shown that they can be warm, honest, and funny when it comes to assessing their fellow idols. And they know how voices work. Clay can honest and funny — so, he’d be my third choice.
    .
    What I think would work well would be to have a revolving “alumni chair.” There should two permanent judges (say, for example Jimmy Iovine and Betty Buckley). They would be the stern voices of the industry. Then a guest alumni (or a rotating set of Adam, Melinda, and Clay) would be there for an empathic critique.
    .
    I also agree that some standards need to be in place to ensure that production and critique are separate. I would expect Jimmy to be biased, since he’s going to have produce the winner’s album. I don’t think it hurts as long as that’s transparent. But the other two judges need to have it IN WRITING that they won’t be pressured to “pimp” or “bus” contestants. And that should be reported before their salaries are — because whether or not Mariah Carey gets paid more than Jennifer Lopez is only of interest to the two of them. Whether or not judges are told what to say is of interest to us.

    • Margie says:

      I like your idea of rotating alumni. They had many back this year to perform. Let them mentor/judge as well. I would not rotate through a group of only three. If you’re going to rotate, then bring back all former winners and other notable contestants. I’d love to see what Chris Daughtry has to say.

      • George says:

        But would Lee DeWyze or Scotty McCreery really have anything interesting to say? I don’t think so…

        • Mary says:

          How do you know, Lee might give the best insight because the show treated him like dirt. Scotty could give a young singer perspective. You might not want to hear from them but I am sure their fans might think otherwise.

          • George says:

            But is this a show for the fans of any artist? Because if it is, Idol would only cater to the judges’ fans, which would completely kill the show’s ratings. The main point of being a judge should be being able to articulate an opinion and help the contestants grow by being constructive. I know it’s a novel idea, but with the right people it could work. The interviews I’ve seen with DeWyze and McCreery haven’t given me the impression that they are very articulate or even interested in music outside their respective genres. There are only a handful of former contestants that would work and it seems most people here are in agreement who they are.

        • Montavilla says:

          Well, that wouldn’t be that important if the alumni were more “guest” than permanent. Maybe Lee would be delightful, but even if he weren’t, we could probably put up with him for one night. His fans would be pleased to see him again. He might pick up (or re-ignite) a few fans, and it would accumulatively remind people that the Idol bench is deep.

        • joanneC says:

          Whenever I’ve listened to Adam Lambert, in the past four years, I’ve never heard him say anything interesting. Give us some quotes of the memorable things he’s said.

          • Montavilla says:

            I suppose the most memorable thing he said lately was that the Les Miserables film suffered from casting great actors, instead of great singers. And then not even giving those great actors the benefit of sweetening their vocals.
            .
            It wasn’t the most popular opinion about the film, but it was an honest one.

          • HTGR says:

            It actually seemed to be a fairly popular opinion to me, however one I don’t really agree with. Especially with the extra close style of shooting on top of it being a movie and not the stage or even a filming of a stage production I think it WAS better to go for actors first.

  28. Margie says:

    I agree that any judge that already sings for the public is not going to want to come off as unlikable. Either pick less famous former contestants or pick industry professionals whose careers will be improved because they come across as credible. I do not want Adam as a judge. I honestly don’t think he will drive the ratings Idol needs.

    And why are we once again talking about changing the judges? Changing the judging panel has already proved not to drive ratings.

  29. sweetsmoke1 says:

    Taylor Hicks would be fantastic. When asked about this at the finale he said he wouldn’t have s problem being mean to the contestants. Not sure tho if he has the time being that he is headlining in Vegas.

    • TruckDriver says:

      Having an Idol winner aka Taylor Hicks who flopped is not a good idea for the show. The Idol alum should be successful.

      • Mary says:

        How can you say he is not successful, he is headlining a show in Vegas. If the criteria is radio play than only a few Alumni will qualify and the would leave Adam out.

      • sweetsmoke1 says:

        That’s insane. Taylor is one of the most successful and broad based performer the show ever produced, currently the first and only Idol to be offered a long term residency in a major hotel in Las Vegas through 2013, It is one of the most buzzed about shows on the Strip. I won’t even go into all the other successful ventures he’s had since Idol.

        He’s one the most highly paid winners the show has now…….. go ask Caesar’s Entertainment, his boss.

  30. Pattygale says:

    I want Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Melinda Dolittle, and Ace Young. Try an all-idol panel, can’t be worse than this year. NOT Constantine or Clay. Like Cook and Daughtry, but both too reserved. I’m not committed to the Ace idea, so feel free to choose someone else for that seat. And convey to TPTB on Idol that thinking it’s cute to string the public along is incorrect. It’s just irritating and after a few weeks, they no longer care and it engenders hostility. Why don’t they wise up?

    • Elizabeth says:

      Don’t you think they’re taking the public’s pulse by putting out these rumors? They’re reading the comments and trying to gauge what they think will bring in new viewers–or bring back the old ones.

  31. Betsy says:

    Just Crazy

  32. sa says:

    I would watch again if Adam was a judge. He was great a few years ago as a mentor. Gave insightful advice.

  33. Sarah says:

    The good thing about having past contestants would be the continuity it would provide to the show. As of now, Ryan is the only on-screen link to the last 12 seasons. I think the producers should consider a part contestant-part music industry member panel (preferably of only three people).

  34. Kiki says:

    Idol was “gone” the first season someone who exited early became more successful than the person “crowned” – ie Chris Daughtry, Kelly Pickler. You can argue about the level of their success all you want, but the point is their careers are going better than those of the people who won their years. The name hurts too. Idol. Simon wanted to create Elvis, Cher and Madonna types and once they get these kids through the door it falls flat. Should there be theme nights? Yes. Reason why? The recording industry loves to pay tribute. If you’re a young artist and you get an offer to sing an Eagles song, you don’t go who’s that and turn it down. They should have marketing, media relations, movement/choreography classes and actually work to get the complete package because they aren’t if all they can do is hit the glory notes and impress people who won’t tell them the truth anyway or piss off people who do tell them the truth and they ignore.

  35. SCOWARD says:

    Need 2 former Idol contestants…and 2 pros> in the business. Keith was great I thought. Judges that don’t make it about themselves….Niki and Mariah did. Randy has been good, but The Voice judges are so amazing, and positive with constructive comments only. Idol never had country music genre as theme week. Why was that?? with country music being super popular and finalists in the top 5 were country. just not right>> themes are too limited to less popular music at times. Losing interest in the show..as they show so many losers at the first and not those that are making the cut. Needs makeover for sure>

    • George says:

      AI DID have country music as a theme in season 8. Adam Lambert made the mentor, Randy Travis, very uncomfortable and did the most amazing rendition of Ring of Fire ever made.

      • Mark says:

        I remember that. It was amazing. In general, however, I don’t like particular genres as themes. Does it make any difference at all if a country singer can do disco? Or an R&B singer can do country? Randy’s “if you can sing, you can sing anything” is a lie. The contestants should stretch their boundaries, but they should not be forced to sing something that they would never ever record. Would anybody buy “Scotty McCreary sings Donna Summer?” “Candice Glover at the Grand Ole Opry?” Who wants to hear that?

      • George says:

        And didn’t Dolly Parton mentor another season? Country week happens now and again, just not season 12.

  36. Maria says:

    The only way I will be back as a viewer is if Keith Urban comes back.

  37. raftrap says:

    Here’s my two cents

    On the judges thing: Give Simon Cowell money, enough money to do the year round Adam Levine reality dance on FOX, and get me Cheryl Cole, cause I would enjoy that.

    Get to Hell week faster: No 6 weeks of two hour two night auditions episodes please.

    3 theme nights per season: Everyone hates them, but I kinda enjoy them, I wouldn’t mind having 3 nights were producers get to pull the rug from under the singers feet, I mean that’s how we got Kris Allen to sing “She works hard for the money”.

    Wild cards: Yes, people make mistakes, and there should be a chance to correct them.

    More mentoring, less Iovine: It’s cool when stars (and star judges) mentor, and give advice and are shown trying to connect with the contestants, it’s not cool when we get to see the greedy evil manipulative underground of the pop music industry, we know it’s there, we know it’s horrible and unforgiving, but I don’t want to see that on my TV, I rather believe that the contestants are free to sing with passion and without meddling.

    WGWG’s allowed: It’s unfair, but it’s still what America wants, let’s have a fair fight people.

    Make at least 10 options for the two finalists singles to pick from and show the contestant picking the song: I wanna see the finalists getting a say for what they want their first ever single to be, upbeat, ballad, r&b, techno-rock, I don’t care, but I wanna see the options and how they choose and I wanna see them live or die by their choice. When one contestant gets “Home” and the other gets “I-don’t-remember-Jessica-Sanchez’-single’s-name” it’s not what I call sportsmanship.

    • marie says:

      I like the idea of multiple choices for the winner’s single.

    • daynamonet says:

      I like a lot of your points especially the wild card, more mentoring and especially the finale single pick. I’d love to see the contestants go through the process of picking their single, and having a decent selection like 10 instead of 2 to choose from. we can keep the themes just have better ones. i’m not with u on the simon thing, i think it would kinda be a conflict of interest with x factor and all but who knows. oh yeah a get rid of all those audition episodes we don’t need that many especially if it’s just full of fluff

  38. freethinker says:

    Yes to Adam Lambert but no to an all alumni panel. Adam is not afraid to speak his mind and he is so articulate and smart that he would be perfect.

  39. J says:

    Fantasia should be a judge, She’d be great! And then maybe I would watch the show again.

  40. Jenna says:

    This panel would work as long as they get three or four of the few ‘Idol’ alumni who actually found pop success. Given the show’s desire for diversity on the panel, there will probably be at least one dud in the group if there is a panel of four – I think an ideal panel would be Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson, and Adam Lambert, but I doubt they’d go with three women and one man, and the problem is that I can’t really think of another guy who is charismatic enough to be a solid judge and successful enough to have credibility. Maybe Clay Aiken, but I’ve never really seen him as particularly current, especially not compared to the aforementioned four.

    • Sasha says:

      Adam Lambert has no pop success. Adam hasn’t reached any real heights in his career. He isn’t even a platinum seller. His latest album has only sold 143k in a whole year and has no songs on the charts. His fans are not good judges as to who would be credible on the panel.

      • Jenna says:

        Yeah… I’m not an Adam Lambert fan, so no need to make assumptions. Musically, I preferred Kris Allen in Season 8 and still do. However, even I can’t deny that Adam was one of the most interesting and strange performers ever on ‘Idol,’ and he has the “love him or hate him” polarizing honest kind of personality that might motivate viewers to tune in. Also, the fact that I, a non-fan who doesn’t even really follow him, can name multiple songs off the top of my head that got radio play (For Your Entertainment,” “Whataya Want from Me,” “If I Had You,” “Time for Miracles,” even “No Boundaries”) is more than I can say for Lee DeWyze, Taylor Hicks, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, and most other Idol winners, including Jordin Sparks, who many consider a pop success from the franchise.

        • teatime says:

          I was not aware that For Your Entertainment, Time for Miracles, or No Boundaries got radio play. If they did it would have been isolated. I didn’t think Time for Miracles or No Boundaries were even pushed to radio, and For Your Entertainment was briefly promoted and then switched for Whataya Want from Me. Jordin had so many hits, including No Air, Tattoo, One Step at a Time, and Battlefield, that she has sold over 10 million singles!

          • June B says:

            Time for Miracles got radio play because it was in that “end of the world” movie, and “No Boundaries” got radio play right after the finale. I checked Wikipedia, and both have listed chart positions for the U.S., as well as those others mentioned.

          • teatime says:

            @June B, chart position does not necessarily mean radio play. It can be due to sales. They might have gotten some spins for a couple weeks by some individual stations, but they were not singles and would not have had any number of spins to add to his ‘pop’ success.

          • egan says:

            All those songs you mentioned did not get radio play, only a couple. The average person has never heard most of those songs, though they might know No Boundaries because of Kris’s version. Try again.

      • Sam says:

        Adam Lambert’s first album had gone platinum in the US and in many other countries a long time ago. His second album had gone gold in a few countries a few months ago.

        Adam Lambert has many fans all over the world. He is also the most famous and popular American Idol alumnus in China. Not many people outside the US know about Clay Aiken and Jennifer Hudson.

        • Hal Jordan says:

          The show is AMERICAN IDOL not CHINESE IDOL.

          Clay is remembered much more fondly and genuinely liked and admired by far more Americans than Adam is likely to ever be. Remember his disgraceful performance at the awards show just for starters?

          Clay could restore the glory years of Idol while Adam really is a symbol of its decline AFAIC.

          • emily says:

            Um, lol, NO. Clay is remembered to be the one guy who lied about being gay for a long time before finally coming out. And hey, a person has the right to choose when they come out obviously, but he lied for so long and so adamantly, and lost a lot of fans in the end because they really bought the lie. Also, from what I gather from your many, many comments about Adam Lambert, you don’t like the guy. I’d say it’s bordering on obsession for you. Maybe it’s that obsession that’s making you point fingers at Adam for his ~disgraceful performance at the AMA’s while seemingly forgetting how Clay was allegedly looking for sex online, and not just once. Sorry but Clay Aiken just isn’t someone interesting or exciting enough to hold people’s attention on TV week after week, that’s just how it goes. Adam Lambert, however, is. You not liking Adam doesn’t change that fact :)

          • Log says:

            @Hal Jordon, BOOM! I think @Emily just said all that needed to be said about your boo Clay Aiken. Although, you are quite entertaining so keep it going!

        • teatime says:

          Adam Lambert does not have a platinum album in the US. His first album has sold less than 850k here.

  41. Tim says:

    I can only think that the fallout from this past season is only going to hurt the careers of these finalists. It feels like their tainted now.

  42. Vetle says:

    We had this in Norway recently, season one winner (and world idol winner!!) and season three runner-up on the panel + two rappers/industry people. At times they were pretty brilliant! I like this idea, especially if it includes Adam.

  43. Joe says:

    Idol just sent out their report card grading market research survey on the current judges to the group of people they test their ideas with. Oddly enough, even grading Ryan Seacrest was part of the survey which I can’t remember them ever doing before. They’ve been testing names for awhile, but this most recent survey was focused on the four judges from this season and Jimmy. I think Jimmy is in play for a judges spot from some of the questions being asked about him.
    One of the questions definitely was would you be more excited to see Idol Alums on the panel.
    They’re going to shake things up big time from what I’m gathering and I think most theme nights are going to get to the axe unless people in the survey are saying they love them.
    From a production standpoint, using Idol alums is going to cost less than huge names. It’ll bring down production costs and make the ratings slide less difficult to take if the cost of the show is reined in.
    I’m expecting a survey coming that is more focused on specific Idol alums. They’ve asked about Kelly, Carrie and Adam in prior surveys, but I’ve never seen Melinda brought up or Clay for that matter. Just Kelly, Carrie and Adam although they were bunched in with names like Billy Joel, Elton John, Jon Bon Jovi, etc.
    It should be interesting.
    Oh and one other thing that should make Slezak cringe – one of the questions they asked was would you like 2 shorter seasons of Idol per year a la The Voice. They’re testing out whether they can start doing a fall/winter season & a spring/summer season. The good news is that X Factor must be on it’s last legs at Fox. The bad news is we don’t need year round American Idol. Slezak gotta rest!

    • Joline says:

      Thanks for the detailed info. Where/how did you get a hold of this survey? I wouldn’t mind seeing Jimmy on a judges panel but he would need a good sparring partner (Harry Connick for instance) or he’d just come off like a bully. And honestly, I think fun banter is better than this negative, mean spirit that is coming from the show now.

      • Joe says:

        Joline – I don’t remember how I got into the survey group, but they sent me an email asking me if I wanted to join a few years ago. They must’ve gotten my email off a list somehow or something. It’s not just for AI. We get surveyed on all reality talent competition. They tested last week how people would respond to Randy, Paula and Simon on X Factor and I’m guessing it didn’t test well as they hired Kelly Rowland and Paulina Rubio this week. I didn’t even know who Rubio was when they were asking what I felt about her in the survey. Connick has been in prior surveys so he’s definitely in play. A lot of specific Jimmy questions in this latest one led me to believe he’s an option. I almost wonder if them putting him on the live shows was to prepare him. The good thing is they allow you to write specific things you like/hate and give suggestions. That said, as long as Nigel produces the show I don’t see many of the changes in format the surveys have asked us about. Either people like dated theme nights or Nigel chooses to ignore the feedback from the people surveyed. Another good thing in the survey was they asked how we felt if they didn’t break down the finalists into even boy girl groups. They also asked about how we’d feel if the voting system only allowed 1 vote per device (which I loved). I just think they’ve queried on similar changes in the past and Nigel keeps putting on the same tired show. If he’s still the producer, they’ll shuffle judges and give us more of the same format/song choice wise.

        • Joline says:

          This is very helpful information….more so than anything I’ve seen reported so far! I would love if the show didn’t break down the top groups evenly from male/female contestants and limited the voting. Seems like they are at least acknowledging the top fan complaints.

        • daynamonet says:

          i agree. this info is very insightful. i would love to answer some survey questions about AI, The Voice, and X factor. Are you able to post the email address that offered you to join?

        • Hal Jordan says:

          I received the same survey and gave many of the same responses. Did suggest bringing old Idol contestants back and specifically mentioned Kelly, Clay and Adam but said it would be great to bring back Kelly and Clay but it would be to the show’s detriment to bring back Adam.

  44. Mark says:

    I think an alumni judging panel is a terrible idea. Idol took a beating this year in declining viewership, to the point that the once mighty titan is now on life support. Bringing back alumni feels to much like calling the kids to the hospice to say a final goodbye. There are a number of reasons why viewers are fleeing in droves, and the judging panel is just one of them. But since that is the topic for today, let’s delve a little deeper. The panel problem with the addition of Kara Dioguardi, who was supposedly brought in as a replacement for Paula. But the didn’t get rid of Paula right away, which created an awkward group that lacked cohesion and TALKED TOO MUCH. They finally got rid of Paula, but replaced her with Ellen Degeneres, who had and no credibility as a judge of musical talent and nothing useful to contribute to the show. So they finally dumped Kara and Ellen, but decided to go all in on the celebrities with Steven Tyler and J-Lo. That was interesting, at first, but quickly became another train wreck when it turned out they were both more interested in promoting and protecting their individual brands than judging a singing contest. So what did Idol do when JLo and S.T. exited? It doubled down on the celebrity model and brought us a Diva, a country singer, and hip hop caricature. The panel imploded, an–combined with other miscues that I won’t go into here–the show tanked. Bringing back Idol alumni sounds to me like a junior version of the celebrity packed model. By going this route, however, the show would become even more insular and self-referential. That would not expand its audience; it would limit it even further. I’m sorry to say, but except for Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, most Idols have not achieved sustained success. Their appeal wore off a short time after they were out of the spotlight. Other than Kelly and Carrie, are any of them headlining arena tours? I don’t think so. Outside of the dwindling Idolverse, they aren’t that big. So what should Idol do? Go back to the model that worked. Give us two fresh industry insiders who have something to say,and can back it up with a proven track record of creating stars. Use at most one minor celebrity–that can be the former Idol–who has sold some records but is not a big star (buh bye, Carrie and Kelly). The panel needs fresh personalities who can get along, but who do not march in lockstep. There should be differences in opinion, but no feuds that spill out all over the twitterverse. Test these people in front of a camera before making final hiring decisions. And I’m sorry, but Melinda is pleasant to listen to on a podcast, but she is too meek for TV. They don’t need a polarizing figure like Adam Lambert–I loved him as a performer, but I don’t think middle American will tune into him on a weekly basis. I mean, didn’t they learn anything from the Nikki debacle? There you go. Those are some of my thoughts.

    • Whatnext says:

      Oh, I respectfully disagree with your comments about Adam. He was precisely the ONLY reason most people tuned in during his season. Love him or hate him, they wanted to see what he would do next. Also, he does headline arenas internationally…he’s massive in parts of Europe & Asia. Also, don’t forget his little tour with Queen last summer. It’s just the US where, with the exception of Kelly, Carrie and P2 (thanks to his lucky break with Home), Idol alums have a problem getting played on radio.

      • Mark says:

        That’s the point. Eyeballs in Europe and Asia mean nothing to the ratings. It’s here in the US where Idol has to regain its lost audience.

        • Whatnext says:

          Oh, sure, I understand that, but if idol’s smart, they would play that up, opening Chinese Idol, the first westerner to be invited to and performing on the finale of The Voice of China to over 400 Billion people, and the Queen tour. Actually, I believe they do that for all their judges anyway. And, as I said before, he was the reason most people tuned in every week to Season 8. He was the watercooler talk each week, and he’s also still quite polarizing, which will make people want to watch. He’s edgy enough to be interesting, while being articulate and honest (in a nice way).

          Kelly has some of those qualities, too. I know some people have said Kelly was too kind as a judge. I only watched the first episode of Duets and found it boring, so can’t comment on that, but she’s also known for her honesty and is not afraid to speak her mind (her tiff with Clive Davis comes to mind). Would that translate to judging Idol? I don’t know, but she does have loads of personality, unlike Carrie, Clay, Jhud or others that have been mentioned.

          So, anyway, those two would be my picks, along with 1 or 2 industry insiders.

          • Mark says:

            I don’t think Americans care who is big in Asia. If that were the criteria, then make PSY a judge and you’re guaranteed a winner.

          • Whatnext says:

            LOL Ok, I’m not making my point. Idol viewers either love Adam or they love to hate him. Perfect for ratings. ;)

          • Sasha says:

            Clay Aiken is probably the best qualified for the job. Aside from his big personality and fearless honesty he has done professional opera level judging at Carnegie Hall, held masterclasses for young performers at the Northern Carolina Theatre and also David Foster’s Star Search. With 10 years experience under his belt, and his pitch perfect voice, his great communication skills, personality and sense of humour, he would make an excellent judge and it would bring a lot of fans back to the show.

          • Whatnext says:

            The thing about Clay is not that he’s not qualified or intelligent, and he’s certainly talented, even though his music is not my cuppa, but that he comes across as unlikable, diva-ish and self-absorbed. This is not me talking, this comes from friends and co-workers who never watched him on Idol, but did see him on Celebrity Apprentice. I know this type of thing stings fans of any artist, but just passing it on.

          • teatime says:

            Clay Aiken was very likeable on Celebrity Apprentice. He was also smart and hard working. He ended up finishing second and it was a tough call.

          • Log says:

            @Whatnext – I agree, I could not stand Clay on Celebrity Apprentice. Everything he said made me cringe.

          • GetReal says:

            Whenever there is a question like this for who would be good judges, the Adam fans come online campaigning for Adam, afterall, he’s the best in everything, the Chinese say so. They post bashing Clay Aiken because they have never gotten over the fact that Clay Aiken can have an opinion (it’s time to grow up and move on, Adam already has and if not, shame on him). They thought their idol would be out breaking all the idol records (some set by Clay) to become the next Elvis. Adam’s fans are a huge turn-off and anyone with a pea for a brain can see right through them. They jump everyone who disagrees with them. The fact is, Adam has not had huge success in the U.S.

            Personally, I don’t think either Adam or Clay are bad, different, but both have their own styles and would make good judges in their own way. I’d like to see them both on the judging panel. And I think both men would put the fan differences aside and get along just fine because they are more mature than some of the fans posting here.

          • Whatnext says:

            Well, since you quoted me, I’ll answer. My comments about how Clay came across on Celebrity Apprentice were not from me, but from people who had never seen him on Idol. That’s not Clay-bashing, that’s their perception of him, whether you agree or not. And for the Idol-watchers who don’t care for him now, just remember, he’s not the same endearing dork he was while competing on the show. Heck, I voted for him then! But, his persona is quite different now. That said, I do think both Clay and Adam are probably equally qualified to be judges, possibly even moreso that most other alums. Having them both on the panel would be great except for one small problem, they just don’t like each other…and bad chemistry is what killed the S12 panel.

      • Yo says:

        I was one of the people tuning in for Adam. I think he is a great personality, and a fantastic, creative singer – and I have not even bought an album of his. When suggesting people, posters forget any panel will be mixed race, mixed gender and maybe mixed sexual preference. Adam works for a diverse panel – and it will be a diverse panel.

    • TruckDriver says:

      Excellent points and ideas. When Simon started out as judge on Idol. No body in the US knew him. He’s was the mean talking Brit. A fresh panel of two fresh insiders as judges and a minor celebrity judge is a great idea. It’s almost like Simon and Randy were the fresh insider judges and Paula was the the celebrity judge. I love it!!!!!

  45. Scott says:

    I don’t want all ex-Idols on the panel, but I do think ex-Idols as mentors would be a great great idea. Is Lady Gaga busy anymore? I thought she did a good job when she was a mentor (waay better than Mylie, for example) — but I’m not sure if she’d turn into Nicki Minaj if she were there week in and week out on the panel. I think 3 permanent members and then 1 rotating in/out guest mentor would work.

  46. marie says:

    Honestly, I’m indifferent to WHO comprises the panel (as long as Randy Jackson stays gone); I just want competent musicians / singers / industry people (people whose lifeblood is music, not acting or comedy or cooking or anything else) with good ears, less interest in “the package,” i.e., clothes/hair/makeup etc. than in the quality of the singing, who are perceptive and articulate, and, most importantly, who are NOT being paid to be the producers’ mouthpieces.
    .
    I mean, seriously, are the producers THAT clueless? A judging panel of only Idol alums sounds like a gimmick to me, and gimmicks are not what this show needs.
    .
    Don’t they realize that what the viewers want is
    – Honest judging – by whoever they hire – unimpeded by producer manipulation
    – Competent judging by people who know music, can evaluate singers, and can articulate their impressions clearly
    – An end to strictly “feel-good” judging
    – An end to overt producer manipulation and games: we can see it and it’s really a turn-off. This includes the pimping of certain contestants and the busing of others
    – New themes, with most of those they’ve used already retired, at least for several seasons until they’re (maybe) fresh again
    – More songs for the contestants to choose from
    – Newer songs for the contestants to choose from
    – And I don’t know whether others would agree, but I personally would like more shows where there is actually NO theme other than what the contestant wants to sing to show off her/his voice to in its best light.
    .
    Just changing to an all-alum panel won’t fix what’s broken, won’t retain current viewers, and won’t bring in new viewers.
    .
    (And where’s Idology? Worth waiting for, certainly, but it’s Wednesday already…)

    • Montavilla says:

      “And I don’t know whether others would agree, but I personally would like more shows where there is actually NO theme other than what the contestant wants to sing to show off her/his voice to in its best light.”
      .
      That’s everything up to the point of the Sudden Death rounds. Which is the first five or six weeks of the show.

      • marie says:

        Yes, but once you get to the finals, that’s where the theme weeks kick in. I was thinking of the finals; sorry I wasn’t clear on that.

    • toadily says:

      Yes! No themes! Surprise us every week, show us who these aspiring artists are, limit all that behind the camera razzmatazz and give these kids the time to master a performance that’ll have us riveted. Am I crazy or has big production taken over, and we don’t get those intimate performances we used to see? Anyone remember Jason Castro singing Over The Rainbow with his ukulele, or Adam singing Mad World?

    • Tom22 says:

      Actually, I’d prefer no judging at all. It’s too hard and it’s really not appropriate to judge good very good singing performances (I mean, would they have people judge them.. does it make sense to judge a profesional perfomer… once you get to some level its just a matter of choices ins style.. even things like pitch would be like judging a novelist by his use of grammar.. at times poor grammar is used for affect … and things like coloring a note with uncertainty or haunt can sometimes use a slighter flat sound… a note that starts slightly off and slips with a planned acceleration onto the mark is like uncertainty to success conveyed in half a second etc.

      Performances where judges have something constructive to add might be the very best performances.. but the advice on a part they could do better comes off as a criticism. An un inspired or off all over performance is really beyond a quick constructive criticism and would take at least a few minutes with a piano and demonstration to explain.

      The more an activity has elements of precision rather than purely expression, the more the activity is suitable for scoring. And Scores, not only comments could be a major help if they wanted to free a judge to give some good ideas to the best performance. If they gave someone a 10 then went on to describe other things they could see that performer could do and gave someone else a 7 and said “I don’t really have a lot I can say about the performance.. be sure to work with your singing coach on a few things I’ll try to share with you later” that _could_ be ok

      … but still, it is the judging that is getting cloying on all of these shows. I love hearing young singers perform and have a chance to reach an audience… I’m sick of the contrived drama and mealy mouth crap that almost needs to come out of Judges as the contest moves along to allow them to encourage the young singers, …. its plain rude not saying what you like about something before you move onto things to work on… and if there isn’ much to work on.. WHAT are they supposed to say?

      Voting for “your favorite” is ok. People have “favorites”. I hope they also move away from saying things like “best” and move more towards “who do you want to hear more from” ? All this “is it bad or is it good crap is getting tiring. Everyone is entitled to a “Who do you look forward to hearing again next week…. nothing wrong with someone applying their taste.

      • Arena Director says:

        Great idea. Maybe the judges should save their personal opinions til after voting. Let us judge without their influence. Use their comment time to let the singers sing longer. The fans of the celebrity judges are usually going to vote for their celebrities favorite.

      • Arena Director says:

        Also I don’t like hearing people getting critique in public. I feel empathy and embarrassed for them if they don’t get a positive reaction. The judges themselves should be Mentors individually to the last 24 contestants. Maybe the show will feature segments of the mentor judges helping the contestants in between shows. I’d rather see them demonstrating their positive support and advice prior to their singing selection then just hearing them with a judge make their lengthy comments after the fact. They should spend more time on a one on one helping the contestants and not just sitting up there looking at them. That can be nerve racking and intimidating. And I’m sure it hinders some real talent. So I agree with shut the judges up and hear some more singing.

  47. Maggie says:

    the Idol producers need to watch how the Ben, Sara, and Shawn worked together as judges on The Sing Off. That trio had chemistry, fun, and gave legitimately constructive advice to the groups.

    • TruckDriver says:

      @Maggie, they were fun to watch. Good chemistry and a hoot. Especially Ben.

      • Maggie says:

        It’s a bummer that Sara’s not coming back, she was eons better than Nicole as a judge and she was hilarious. For real, though, the three of them were the perfect team of judges.

    • marie says:

      Now THAT’s a really enjoyable show! Glad it’s been renewed.

  48. Azure says:

    No more unlimited voting!

    • daynamonet says:

      i second that! The voice doesn’t have unlimited voting and i think it works quite well and enables actually the right people to get eliminated (in most cases). I bet if voting was limited on idol this season Lazaro wouldn’t have made it to 6th place.

      • teatime says:

        I think Idol does a good job of eliminating people in the right order. No system is perfect. People need to get over Daughtry going home 4th 7 seasons ago. Things happen. The Voice is progressing well this season, but that does not mean their results have always been perfect.
        I think they can change the voting, but the results will probably still be about the same.

  49. tom says:

    Sanjaya, Antonella Barba, Jasmine Trias, and Kevin Covais are my dream panel!

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