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. Libby says:

    Slezak, please! He would make a fab judge. Then again-he may not have time for his recaps or Idology-so maybe not!

  2. TruckDriver says:

    If Idol wants to do a make over and attract the younger viewers, this might work? Adam Lambert is a must. He already told reporters 100% yes to Idol judge. Kellie Picker (Fresh off the DWTS win) would be a good move. Anyway, pick any of the top ten most successful Idol alums: Adam Lambert, Kellie Pickler, Phillip Phillips, Jordin Sparks, Scotty McCreery, Chris Daughtry, Katharine McPhee, Jennifer Hudson, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood. Guest mentors would include: Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, etc. Hey anything is better than last seasons hot mess.

    • HTGR says:

      I don’t think you should just go by most successful. Some of them were fairly limited. And some who were not are so famous that it is harder for them to be anything but a nice Paula-type.
      .
      Adam could likely work, he seems to have a solid and diverse vocal knowledge and I don’t think he’d be afraid to speak up or become a producer puppet.
      .
      Haley could work too (she also has said in the past she’d love to do it). Although whether now would be time or not it is hard to say. Also the show did tarnish her image in the minds of the more judgemental/jealous types of viewers so you wonder if they wouldn’t all flip out the second she says something less than perfect about one of their favorites. I could see it either being really good for her or a bit negative, not sure. Resistant to becoming a puppet.
      .
      Hudson might work perhaps resistant to becoming a puppet.
      .
      Daughtry perhaps, probably resistant to becoming a puppet.
      .
      P2 had limited vocals but it is possible he might be resistant to becoming a puppet since he refused to change for the show and seemed to sort of toss off some of the silly stuff the show did and he does seem to understand what is catchy.
      .
      Elise could be really good. Lots of training, handles all sorts of styles. Can’t see her becoming a puppet.

      • HTGR says:

        Elise isn’t established yet so, sadly, no fanbase to alienate, lots of musical knowledge, straight talker, puppet master resistant.

      • HTGR says:

        Yeah Haley is a tough call, it might bring her the attention she needs and deserves or because of what went down and how some might be taking her and the exact spot she is in her career and very dangerous move that could backfire. Hard to say. I could see it going anywhere from best thing that ever happened to her to not so good at all.

        • lyn says:

          IMO Haley has equal numbers of fans and haters. But, she is pretty egocentric [see Kara Dioguardi] so not really judge material.

          • HTGR says:

            Talk to people who actually knew her, her teachers, etc. and get a very different picture. That is all I will say.

        • rotfl says:

          First of all, she would never even be considered. Second of all, why are you talking to yourself.

  3. Robin says:

    Depending on who these AI alumni were, I would consider watching again. Consider. There are some AI alumni I didn’t care for the first time around and certainly wouldn’t tune in again for them. Others I feel the complete oppoisite about and probably would watch anything they are involved in. Also I would certainly rather Idol had shorter seasons like The Voice…but only one season per year though.

    The key phrase in the article above is this though: “how to make viewers feel that they’re ultimately the true deciders of how said trajectory plays out.” Key word being “FEEL” because anyone who has watched AI (or other “reality competitition” shows for more than 1 season can tell you – it is almost all predeterimined or for lack of a better word “fixed” / “rigged”. I say -almost though because there are a few shows out there that I believe aren’t “fixed” or haven’t been every season.

  4. allie says:

    I like it but it TOTALLY depends on who the judges are. Adam, Clay, Malinda, Kellie, maybe even Kellie Pickler, J Hud, Chris Daughtry, David Cook…. all good. Lazaro, country winner guy, Lee Dewyze, Taylor Hicks, the list is much longer for those that wouldn’t do well and they are probably the ones that are available. But in addition to demanding honesty from the judges they MUST make that song list more current and get rid of the horribly dated and done to death theme nights.

  5. Name That Tune says:

    I love the idea. The judges should be people who care and are not just collecting a paycheck. Former contestants are grateful to the show and know what you need to do to win.

  6. I Heart Damon Salvatore says:

    Adam, Kelly, Carrie and David Cook … I’d be in heaven!

  7. Mary says:

    I think this is the stupidest idea they could come up with. I wouldn’t mind rotating Alumni as judges but not three. I would keep Keith, have a music producer and then an Alumni once a week. If they want four – which I don’t agree with, then maybe a DJ. I think if they get back to the original premise of judges, unknown and put the focus back on contestants then they might be able to salvage some of the core audience they lost this year due to a couple of the judges and manipulations. To be honest I think only a couple of the Alumni qualify as a judge which does not necessary make them good judges, and I do not think they would want to do it. I would rather have three unknown to the contestants would be in the spotlight.

  8. Jen says:

    Ben Folds has been the best judge I’ve seen on any of the singing competitions. He pays attention to the entire song and gives real feedback that helps the singers for whatever comes next for them. He’s able to critique without being mean, and he’s able to compliment productively (not just on their outfits, beauty, etc.)

    Though, like many have already said, it’s not just judges that need an overhaul, but it’s a start.

    • Maggie says:

      the feedback he gave the sing off contestants helped everyone learn more about music, the contestants and the viewers. and he’s not afraid to make fun of himself which helps :)

    • teatime says:

      That sounds like what they need.

  9. Bailey says:

    Here’s my attempt at fixing Idol…
    1. All new judging panel made up of 3 musically inclined, good natured, witty peeps that are NOT current artists and will be brutally honest when called for.
    2. Revamp the format. Instead of airing the auditions, have the first episodes showcase the contestants that were chosen to compete. That way, by the time the live shows start, every contestant will have had equal face time.
    3. Reduce the performance shows to one hour and reduce the results show to half an hour.
    4. Limit voting to 10 per device.
    5. Cast talented, diverse, personable contestants. Viewers will tune in and keep tuning in if there are contestants that they become attached to and invested in.

    • marie says:

      Good suggestions, mostly. I’m intrigued by #2. I enjoy the auditions, but not the joke ones / those where the auditioner is ridiculed (which happily have been less emphasized the past few seasons anyway); I could do without them, though, in favor of more airtime for serious contenders. I’ve always tried to refrain from becoming too attached to anyone at the earliest stages because there’s always the risk they may be gone very quickly.
      But I’d keep Hollywood Week and Vegas week, so I’m not sure that what you propose would actually end up giving everyone equal exposure before the voting rounds.
      Personally, I enjoy the 2-hour shows, so I wouldn’t love your third suggestion being implemented.

      • Bailey says:

        Good points. I just get annoyed when they spend a lot of time showcasing someone and then they’re gone before the top 20 without so much as a goodbye, while someone else is in the top 20 and it’s the very first time we’ve ever seen them! I would like to see an episode maybe where they introduce the entire top 20, show their audition, show their backstory, family, etc so that it isn’t so lopsided. But I know a lot of people love seeing the trainwreck auditions too so…

        • marie says:

          I see what you mean and I agree.

        • teatime says:

          I think that is a very good idea to have an episode where they introduce us to the group that is going to be voted on and let us see their auditions, etc. I won’t refer to this as the Top 20 because I hope one fix is to go back to something like a Top 36 for the start of voting.

    • Name That Tune says:

      How about doing something like DWTS & eliminate the results night. Make it all live voting during the show via Facebook, Twitter, text, & phone votes.

  10. Lindsey says:

    I think trying an alumni judges panel would be great… Can’t be any worse than this year, and if they suck they’ll be gone after a year. I’d like to see Adam Lambert, Clay Aiken and David Cook, but obviously they’d need a woman in there… I can’t think of any previous female contestants who did well and could also be tough on contestants… Maybe Crystal Bowersox? Or Allison Iraheta?? I think David Cook would be really good at giving honest, tough feedback that was also helpful… He was very good at making songs his own in his season! Lambert too!!! :)

  11. Red Licorice says:

    My vote for Idol judges would be 1. Michael Slezak 2. Lyndsey Parker 3. Adam Lambert 4. Melinda Doolittle.

  12. marie says:

    To those calling for former Idol contestants as mentors: caution! Not all of them might be capable of being effective mentors: it’s one thing to be ABLE to sing, but quite another to be able to TEACH singing. Two completely different skill sets. Yes, we’ve seen that Adam can be a good mentor, but who knows who of the other Idol alums would be.
    In a way, I think judging might be the easier job for some former Idol contestants, because presumably many of them (one would hope “most” or “all,” but that’s unrealistic) are at least able to discern good singing from bad; the next part would be, can they articulate their thoughts, and do they have the courage to criticize where warranted? Whereas with mentoring, the first things you need to be able to do are HEAR and also TEACH – and certainly not all of them could do that.

  13. Ctz says:

    I missed the guest mentors. Without having to pay obscene amounts of money to the “star” judges, hopefully they can afford to bring the mentors back. They also need expanded song lists. As far as judges, whoever the panel is, they need to have chemistry. 3 judges, with an occasional guest judge to mix it up would be interesting. I think Adam lambert or clay Aiken are both articulate and known to speak theirnminds. Adam doesn’t seem to have an ego that needs to be fueled and always seems to be happy for others success. When he mentored several years ago, he didn’t hold back in this critique of Lee Dewyze nor a few of the other candidates. Clay Aiken can be snarky, but that could be interesting and that could be funny. I would love to see Harry Connick Jr. Queen latifah would also be fantastic then add either Clay or Adam for a great panel.

    • Steve says:

      These shows also need to do more mentoring – and show it…Show how you help the contestants choose songs,arrange their music, stage the performances, help choose the wardrobe. It would give viewers a better idea of the ‘journey.’ Personally I hate the recent trend of the same auditioners appearing year after year after year. I realize Candice won but Im still unconvinced shes going to be a major star. But I think people love the waitress or farmgirl or store clerk who comes out of nowhere and is turned into a star overnight. They like seeing the shy girl at the audition who doesnt know how to move around the stage in weeks 1-2 and then develops confidence and is owning her performances.

  14. SW says:

    I would definitely start watching again if they did something like this. I stopped watching 2 years ago and I haven’t missed it at all. I wanted to watch because I like Keith Urban, but I can’t stand Nicki Minaj, so I didn’t. I also got tired of the same, boring theme nights, and the contestants singing songs that have been done to death over and over, year-after-year, and I couldn’t take the judges anymore. It’s needed a makeover, a major one – and not just the judges – for a long, long time. I think bringing in maybe 2 Idol alums, and 2 pros in the business, instead of making all 4 judges Idol alums, would be a good idea. They just need to revamp the entire show. Get rid of the old theme nights, get rid of/shorten the results show, etc.

  15. Brigette says:

    I love this idea. I think having successful Idols give critiques to hopeful Idols is a way to bring back instant credibility to the show. Like, “Oh yeah, this show works. This is the original.”

  16. Ava says:

    like it! I’m Iranian and I love this program but this day American idol was boring ! I think Adam Lambert is great idea for this problem! he’s so cool!

  17. Jamie C. says:

    This was my idea!!
    And I would like to see Adam Lambert, David Cook, & Melinda Doolittle take the job! I think they should double as mentors, too!

  18. Karen says:

    Certainly can’t be worse than the previous panels, even though I really liked Keith Urban.
    Would love to see Adam Lambert, Melinda Doolittle, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and David Cook could be great additions. But something I would possibly love even more, is if former Idol contestants would work as mentors and guides for the contestants throughout a longer period of time. Adam Lambert cartainly did a stellar job mentoring back in season 9. And basically anyone would do better than Jimmy Iovine

  19. MattG says:

    I just have one change, and the rest will fall into place. Get a new production. Goodbye Nigel. That is the ONLY fix the show needs. If you don’t replace him, getting rid of so-and-so, or ditching unlimited voting, etc will not make much difference. Wipe the whole production staff. The end.

  20. Marilyn says:

    I never watched American Idol until Adam Lambert was a contestant. I haven’t watched the show since then, except when Adam Lambert was on it. As others’ have said in comments, he would be an excellent judge. The timing is right for him and he wants to do it. Love or hate him ~ people will watch the show to see him; just like they did when he was a contestant. Adam is very engaging as a person and as an entertainer. He’s very likeable and can be very funny. So, to me and others’ like me, other changes won’t matter so much. Adam has a huge fanbase currently (International fans can’t vote but are watching!). As people enjoy seeing him on the show, his fanbase will grow exponentially, here in the U.S. The AI ratings will improve, and the contestants will benefit from his presence. His excellent successful efforts as a contestant in season 8 prompted more energy focused to upgrade quality of contestant performances on subsequent shows. You always get a nice surprise that you didn’t know you wanted, with Adam. Perhaps the boy/girl thing and updating the themes, or whatever, will be more in line with younger age demographic ~ but Adam on the show will, in itself, be a great improvement ~ he is very hot/current in the international world of the arts because he’s one fantastic guy!! He’s an excellent singer, performer and he’s great-looking ~ AND he has charisma that is undeniable! He’s a media darling!! Perhaps if the producers change how/who they want to pimp ~ it would be good? but knowing him as well as i do, I’m confident that Adam will not be swayed in his critiques. He is a very focussed professional, with more formal training and experience as a performer, than most (if not all) AI contestants.. Carry on now with the stirring of the pot ~ to keep ‘American Idol’ in the media eye, with all kinds of speculation ~ until the show returns yet again.

  21. Steve says:

    Die hard fans would like it and less famous Idols will be cheaper but I dont know that it will save the show. Many others would be totally uninterested and without MAJOR format changes, the show is DOA except for some c uriosity early on. I read an article today that said the Idol median audience went from early 30s when the show premiered to over 50 today – That means half the people watching Idol are over 50 which explains the loss of younger demos. I know people will disagree but while I love Kelly Clarkson, I think she was horrendous on Duets…I didnt care for her at all. Jennifer Hudson? Its hard to imagine she would do that at this state in her career unless she gets Mariah money. Lambert? maybe but hes probably polarizing to a lot. Carrie Underwood? I think shes said she wont do it…Shes doing the live Sound of Music on NBC in the fall so shes out. Plus she would be the ‘nice’ judge. Aiken? Hes not doing anything else? What about Fantasia? She might be the type to say it like she means it but shes also trying to rehab her image? Melinda has been great with Michael on Idology (those 2 together would say it like they mean it and have good rapport but are they too obscure for producers?) If they dont care about names, try it. WHOMEVER THEY CHOOSE NEEDS TO BE SCREEN TESTED ALONE AND AS A PANEL. you can also go back to 3 judges to save additional money. But Id put the potential judge in a room – show them old Idol clips of auditions and live performances and screen test them. When you narrow it down to various combinations, Id do the same with all 3 (or 4), and see how they do. If they choose blindly again, theyre done. Idol and XF have already gone the route of choosing judges from foreign Voice Shows. I dont know how he did/is doing on the Australian Voice, but wasnt Ricky martin hired as a judge? I always thought hed be great on Idol – a Hispanic doesnt hurt, but he seems like the nice one too. The other thing about S12 and this is politically incorrect to say, but I do wonder if having 3 out of 4 judges be black was a turnoff to some.

  22. Laine Wightman says:

    I love the idea of Adam Lambert on the judge panel, and suggest that the producers NOT hire any super expensive Diva who just wants to promotes themselves. I liked Kelly on the show she was on. I like Nigel Lythgoe as a judge on SYTYCD, but maybe he’s just into dancing. He seems very honest in his critiques. I don’t want to see any HipHop artist on the judges panel, though a hip hop mentor one week (Hip Hop Week?) might be interesting. How about Melissa Lambert for a judge? I like the idea of singers from different genre and a recording exec. I don’t like Jimmy particularly, as an ongoing critic. I like the idea of a Hip Hop Week, a Ballad Week, a 90s week, contemporary week, Holiday Week, Summer Beach Week, Valentines week, just to MAKE the contestants sing something other than ballads every week, which is what I thought Candace and Ruben Stoddard did every week………….yawn…… They did them well, but there was no way of showing differing styles. PLEASE do not every have Nicki Minaj on again, she was awful in that position, and I will never watch another program that she is on.

  23. paula says:

    I would watch every episode if Adam were a judge. Also, I would start watching the auditions again if they would quit making fun of people who are mentally challenged. That’s unnecessary and cruel, and the social atmosphere (with the anti-bullying campaigns) has changed since Idol’s premiere all those years ago when people thought that was funny. I can understand making fun of people who are arrogant, or who should have been told long before they decided to go on tv that they suck, but people who obviously have some kind of problem–just no.

    And omg, please revise the voting! That way they’d have more of an indication of how many fans a singer actually has, instead of how insanely dedicated a singer’s tens of fans are.

  24. Phan says:

    Harry Connick Jr., Melinda Doolittle, and Adam Lambert panel. Please and you’re welcome for the suggestion.

  25. Nikita says:

    Far better than current non-alum artists. I feel like the past contestants would resist producer manipulations in a way perhaps nobody else would. Unknowns do have an easier time being critical though (but could also become pawns).
    .
    I like the idea. Not crazy.

    • Nikita says:

      Kelly was a bit Paula/Mariah-like, a bit shy of really speaking out. She is the most mainstream popular. That can make it tougher to judge for a number of reasons.

  26. Actually, I was hoping that Michael Slezak AND Melinda Doolittle would take over for Nigel & Co. (I would also add Adam Lambert as judge or coach) A girl can dream. . . .

  27. James A says:

    They really need to just go back to the old formula of the top 24 and only get rid of 2 people per week. That was by far the best format to idol ever used.

  28. Lois Benton says:

    I think ex-IDol judges is a fine idea, long overdue. The main issue with Idol has been since I’ve been watching it, judges’ apparent lack of independence, so your points there are well-taken. The problem, of course, is that current artists might reasonably fear that “Judge not harshly, lest others judge you harshly and point out your every misstep.”

  29. Lucinda says:

    Honestly, I stopped watching Idol after season 10 and there’s nothing they could do that would bring me back.

    • Ctz says:

      You must be still be semi interested as you are reading this post and have taken the time to respond….

  30. lyn says:

    The only thing that will draw me back is if they limit the voting. If my votes don’t matter why should I invest in it?

  31. jj says:

    As if AI is not bad enough. Just end the show already.

  32. Olive says:

    Better idea is get three judges, behind the scenes industry types that will do the job the way it is meant to be done and add Idol alums every week as mentors. Would love to see Kelly, Clay, Adam, Kris, Melinda, Jennifer, Carrie and Katherine come back and mentor both from the POV of having been there and having translated that success into real bonafide careers. Then they don’t need to be the bad guy (can be supportive and promote their own material without it being an ulterior motive), the judges would be people actually qualified to do the job without fear of it ruining their reps AND the fans get what they want with seeing old favourites return. Win-win?

  33. ThatBob says:

    This is what they think would fix Idol? Heads up, Shark, Idol’s racing your way…

  34. Amy says:

    I’d say 3rd the “on unlimited voting”, thought, even with the voting as it is, I feel the right person won the past 2 years, & wound up in top 2 several years. I can’t say what will work to “revive” Idol. My feeling is as many who’ve said that the show “is old”; shows (and peoples’ attention spans & tastes) run only for so long, so I’m not sure anything they do won’t read as just a desperate “flailing” while going down. However, that said, I am one of those Idoloonies who is not “done with it”, by any means. More than judges (who I don’t think should be former contestants), I think it’s the “core” that made Idol and shows like it, popular, since the early talent shows of the 50’s. There must be something inate in us all that makes us want to watch that rise from nothing to something, chasing a dream, talent being discovered…add on to that us “getting a say in it” and it’s fun and exciting…to watch & debate. On that, what you said Michael, summed it up exactly for me:
    *** “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.”***
    It’s become “about the judges”…but it “ain’t about the judges.” I think when Simon went away, they worried so much who would replace what made him so popular, it became about the judges…but turns out the answer was not hiring $12mil stars, pimping their latest video. That’s not what made Simon popular…it was how well he played his role in the core of the process Michael states above…they need to find a way to go back to that, and have that trajectory once again be the “star” of the show. More than who judges, they better get producers with an understanding for that and fresh vision for how update the show’s themes etc.
    Maybe because I haven’t watched since the beginning (since Season 5)…I still get excited by it all, hearing that old familiar music and Ryan saying all his predictable things. I know it will run it’s course no matter what they do, and not sure anything will be a “turn-around” they look for now…still I hope it keeps it true to it’s core until it goes away. Further about the former Idols…I’ve said before, still feel… it’s a role I just don’t see former Idols doing, because it muddies the waters for me. I really think it should remain: “Camp Idols” vs. “Camp Judges”, forever. Jmho. Last…if they actually DO a “clean sweep” …I sure will miss Keith. :-\

  35. A fan says:

    Considering we made it to season freaking thirteen, I say why not. As for the rotating seat, that is what mentors are for. Once the live rounds hit, you need the same 3 (or 4) people each week so you know what you are working with. Rotating one or two judges during audition episodes would be fun though, a good way for the fans to see some old faces again.

    If we are going to bring in Alumni, you have to go with big personalities. A big singing voice is great when they are competing, but we aren’t bringing them back to compete, we are bringing them back to speak their mind.

  36. Amy says:

    oops “though, even with the voting as it is..” not “thought.” k. nuf said.

  37. Gabi says:

    Put Adam Lambert on the panel and people will get interested! He’s anything but boring, most people seem to have an opinion about him, and it’s not only his die-hard fans who can’t stay away from him. Furthermore, I can actually see why an all Idol alumni judging panel could work. They all have one thing in common, and still their musical styles and experiences and roads to “success” have been different from each other. Given the same platform there may even be real opinions and chemistry going on due to a level of “investment”. Still, it would be a tricky road. Those “judges” have music to sell and fan bases to expand, and they are likely be filtered in their opinions. I think at least one unfiltered, brutally honest industry insider – loved Simon Cowell – who’s been there, done that is key to shake things up!

  38. Thereasonsy says:

    Worst. Idea. Ever. I think the hammer hit the nail on the head when you mention the first con. The fact of the matter is that winning means nothing now. I remember when Latoya London said in season 3, “We will all have great careers” that was a crushing blow to Idol because it was true. It didn’t matter who won the majority of these artists would get signed. Then came the debacle called Taylor Hicks that derailed the voting system and made it that talent (exhibits Kat McPhee & Chris Daughtry) didn’t matter. Next up was that the judges were irrelevant exhibit Ellen. Lastly, the judges erosion that culminated in the debacle known as Haley Reinhart and the blatant manipulation of Idol. Not to mention that it has been YEARS since an Idol Alum past Carrie has really managed to have sustainable career success as a recoding artist. All you hear are so and so is dropped from their label.

    The sad truth is that the changes Idol needs to make, make it an entirely different show. They need EDUCATED opinionated judges, truly undiscovered talent, and a voting system based on SALES and not power dialing. Especially when you have the cannibalization from your own network (hi X-Factor) and a double dose of the Voice. All three shows suffer from the lack of finding a sustainable star but at least the Voice has educated judges that are more honest with their opinions and voting caps/sales figures factored in. Even though it is still a popularity contest between Adam and Blake.

    • Bailey says:

      It broke my heart when I heard that Haley Reinhart was dropped by her record label a mere 6 months after her debut album came out… which BTW was exactly one year ago today. For those of you late to the party you should def check it out… “Listen Up!” is an undiscovered gem!!!

    • teatime says:

      I think it is important for Idol that non-winners can also be successful. If not, that would mean the deck is stacked each year with only one possible star. If they have a good competitive cast, then more than the winner should be able to have a good post-Idol career in the industry. This is just one competition. It does not mean the non-winners are expected to give up on their careers.

  39. Chamberton says:

    If they do bring back alum, they could incorporate part of the voting for voting off judges, like until the audience gets to vote for the singers. When one judge is voted off, another alum comes in to fill his or her place. They’d have to get a certain number of votes to not be kicked off each week. That could make it different. Sure would give us some real judges that way. Anyway, just an idea.

    Would be nice to see some alum in the tryout weeks. Would make it feel more authentic and real.

  40. Connor says:

    Michael, I know that your a Melinda Doolittle fan. However, I am not sure that America could handle the fake Dick Clark laugh for the whole season. Just saying

  41. toadily says:

    Oh, and enough with the crazy camera work. You don’t get that when you go to a concert. I don’t want to be separated from the singer or the performance by camera work that chooses what it wants me to see rather than what I want to see, makes judgments for me.

  42. Mari says:

    I’d love to see Adam Lambert and Kelly Clarkson at the panel. Kelly herself is very honest too. See her twitter. She says a lot of things that are not popular but they are her opinion. And this is the best reason of them all: “Adam Lambert’s hair > Keith Urban’s hair.” lol

  43. ladyheilx says:

    What I used to love about the show was Chris Allen singing disco, David Cook singing Dolly, and Allison singing rat pack. I want to see them stretch – take them out of their comfort zone. Surprise us. I know that doesn’t “build a better pop star” – but that’s what I used to tune in for. That said – fresher themes and more song choices are a must.

  44. syb says:

    “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.”

    If this is the case, then I think the show needs to do something counter-intuitive–back away from the giant video screens, the strobe lights, the dry ice and the wind machines and let the audience always remember, we’re watching amateurs. Perhaps ramp up to a glitzy top 3 and top 2, but up until then, let’s just focus on the singing, and not the special effects for most of the season.

    Judges: I don’t care if it’s my Aunt Mabel, the skater boy down the street and the dude who operates the karaoke machine downtown. Do they have quick wit? Are they able to speak in short complete sentences that mean something? Are they willing to hurt someone’s feelings in being honest? Are they willing to disagree with the others? Are they open minded to a diversity of styles? Do they play off each other well? If you have that in your panel, their names don’t matter.

    Personally, I don’t mind a panel of former idols, but lets be honest. Unless it’s Kelly, Carrie and JHud, none will have credibility as artists who know what it takes to be a superstar in America. They may know how to do pretty well in a singing contest, and they may know singing, but if we’re talking spotting a superstar, then you’re better off with industry professionals. I’m fine with it just being a singing contest, but I’m not sure all fans of the show feel that way given the number of forum posters who are obsessed with “marketability” when choosing a favorite to back.

  45. Sara says:

    “Adam Lambert’s hair > Keith Urban’s hair.”…No. Never. Just no.

  46. Natalie says:

    Adam and Melinda, I would love to see those two judge! Adan’s humor and honesty and Melinda’s honesty and humor are both amazing.

  47. pickychicky says:

    I’d like to see Keith back, Jimmy Iovine and a rotating Alumni judge. Surely there are enough that we could have a different one each week, each with their own perspective. Tone down the crazy production as well and I think that would be a good start…

  48. qj201 says:

    Whatever they do I am SICK of Jimmy Iovine’s arrogance, Nigel’s manipulation and Cheesecrest. I always wait 20 minutes for after each show starts…and record on DVR so I can fast forward through the Ryan and Jimmy.

    FYI Jimmy, we know you are bald and you are WAY too old to be wearing a baseball cap…and those sunglasses make you look like a Hollywood d-bag

  49. Victoria says:

    I was very disappointed that Angie wasn’t at least in the final 2. She is what I perceive as an “American Idol”…the whole package. Beautiful, talented, great stage presence, artistic, writes her own music and it’s GOOD, plays an instrument, altho that’s not really necessary for me, but it’s nice. Why is it that America seems to resent beautiful people? Very rarely do they win. And, when they’re beautiful AND talented, they don’t even have a snowballs chance in hell of winning. I thought it was kind of perfect that they matched her up with Adam Lambert in the finale. He’s another Idol alumn that deserved the #1 spot and lost out to the guitar strummin, bland as rice puddin without cinnamon, country boy. IDOL HAS BECOME SO BORING! So for me, once again, Idol is pandering to the “over the hill” crowd because neither Kree nor Candice are the type of singers a young demographic will vote for or slap down $$ to buy their music.
    As far as the judges are concerned…This season was the worse yet. What were the producers thinking? 2 women who obviously hated each other because they were both so into themselves and 2 men who were so boring they might as well have not even shown up. It was uncomfortable and embarrassing to watch. I’d love to see someone like Adam Lambert as a judge…at least he knows how to sing and what it takes to get thru a show like Idol…he did it! He could give the contestants some great advice. Kelly Clarkson would be great too. As a matter of fact, how about a panel of ex contestants…the Best of the Best. Adam, Kelly, Kelly Pickler and Chris Daughtry. Now that would be a great panel of judges!

    • teatime says:

      Um, Adam lost to Kris Allen. He is certainly no country boy. He is also not bland and he is a piano player as much as a guitarist.

    • I agree, Adam lost to Kris, although a really nice kid, Kris is nothing special. Kris had to be told to stop saying the crown belonged to Adam and that he didn’t deserve it. Not because he was being humble, because he actually believed it like millions of others.

      On the AI tour, the crowd went crazy over Adam’s explosive set. There was a mass exodus after Adam’s performance. It just wasn’t worth sitting through 20 minutes of bland to see Adam reappear in the final number. One night Kris came out to announce he couldn’t perform. Apparently the coronation song “No Boundaries” (which was obviously written for Adam) was too much for his vanilla vocal chords. So Adam was the headliner – BEST SHOW EVER! After that NB was removed from K’s set.

      Ryan Seacrest contest for tickets to a free concert with Adam, Kris and Allison and let fans vote where the show would be. Kris (and his mom) actively campaigned for the show in his hometown of snoozeville. We Glamberts were split on LA, San Diego & NY. Someone asked Adam on Twitter if he liked NY and he said he did and oila! the show was in NY on a freezing day in Feb. (Adam would’ve preferred the show in LA, but he didn’t say that until after the fact)!

      You could tell by the glammed out crowd with a spattering of plaid shirts that Adam was def the belle of the “Kradison” show. Two of his fans fainted, even Kris’ plaid clad fans went crazy. Then Kris comes out as the headliner and it was as if someone threw a wet blanket over the room. Dull, boring, bland take your pick. He joked that 3 fans had to faint so that he could top Adam. He had a better chance of them dying of shame. Glamberts stuck around for the final number which was a Kradison cover of Crazy. Once Adam had the mike, Kris kinda just faded in the background and tossed it to Adam. Oh yeah, Allison was there too. :D

  50. Tahoe Mike says:

    Keep the panel to Three. Four is just to much.
    ~
    Whoever they are, the judges should be forced to judge. They should have to give a score of some kind. Whether it is a scale of one to ten, x of five stars, rank the performances that night best to worst, or simply thumbs up / thumbs down, they should be made to pass a judgment of some kind. Not sure if the judges vote should count for anything like DWTS, or just say, “That’s how we see it, but it’s up to America to vote…”
    ~
    Most of the judge panels have been fine, up to the point where the live shows start, and we get to vote. After the point where fan voting starts the judges are superfluous, they don’t mentor, they don’t vote or give a score, they just comment, so call them commentators.
    ~
    The judges should be flat out forbidden to comment on clothes, or physical appearances in any way. It always comes across as creepy, insulting, or just a lazy way to avoid talking about the singing, Leave that to the Bloggers and fans to do.
    ~
    I do like the theme nights. I like seeing them forced out of their comfort zones. I do wish they would come up with a few new ones, and enforce them. I don’t like seeing people just do their same old thing no matter what the theme (Scotty, P2, Pia T. …). I liked the days when they would have an artist in as a mentor, and make the contestants sing that persons songs.
    ~
    Quit trying to fix the vote, and fix the voting.
    ~
    Sing the whole song. I hate the 90 second hatchet jobs. Can you hold my interest for 3:30?? Can you tell a story in song? Can you be interesting during the guitar solo or non singing moments of a song? This is like trying to find the next Shakespeare by reading Twitter feeds.
    ~
    Raise the minimum age limits and get rid of the maximum age limit.

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