With Jennifer Lopez bowing out of the "American Idol" judging panel for Season 12, producers are hard pressed to find a replacement who will be as popular with the home audience. Solution: Choose a fan favorite from a prior season, like flamboyant rocker Adam Lambert.
Rumors are flying, and an unnamed source confided to E! News that "They [producers] have been talking about Adam for over a month." Lambert's congenial nature and experience as first runner up on Season 8 of "Idol" uniquely qualify him for the gig.
He's even been a reality show judge before - on "Project Runway" - where he was a guest judge the week the contestants had to dress indie rock band, The Sheepdogs. According to Pop Dust, he was a favorite with the designers he critiqued. Eventual winner Anya Ayoung-Chee explained, "He was really critical, but without being hurtful about it ."
Blogger Emily Exton summarized his appeal best, "He took on the role of the friend who will tell you that high-waisted skirt might not be the best option since it makes you like Dumbo, BUT that your hair looks really, really good."
Lambert also appeared as a mentor or a "Major" on The Hub's junior talent search show "Majors & Minors" last November, so he knows a thing or two about bring out the best in a group of green but talented kids.
As the minimum age drops, most "Idol" contestants lack the maturity to return as a judge, but here are a few others who have the right combination of experience and tact.
Carrie Underwood - Underwood is one of the most successful "AI" alum to date with 14 No. 1 singles and five Grammys. The Season 4 winner just released her fifth album, "Blown Away," and, like JLo, has tour dates scheduled throughout the fall. Availability may be an issue, but it would be nice to see at least one woman on the panel, especially since the guys have won it for the last five seasons.
Jennifer Hudson - Hudson's schedule is a bit more open - she'll guest star on "Smash" in the fall, but isn't currently on tour. The beautiful and personable Weight Watchers rep has enjoyed success as both a recording artist and a stage performer. She won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for her performance in "Dreamgirls." Like Lambert, Hudson could offer contestants valuable lessons in stage performance and acting, as well as vocal delivery.
Clay Aiken - the Season 2 runner up recently found himself taking second place again on "The Celebrity Apprentice" where he lost to comedian Arsenio Hall. Aiken comes off as easy going, but his stubborn side came out during the "Apprentice" competition. He could bring some interesting fireworks to a show that has seen perhaps too many exclamations of "That's beautiful, man," from current judge Steven Tyler.
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- Arts & Entertainment
- Adam Lambert
- American Idol