As the American Idol rumor mill churns and churns and churns, it seems no celebrity is out of reach.
Fox is expected to make its official announcement of season 12 judges in the coming days, after months of chatter following the exits of Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez at the judges’ table. The current rumor involves quite the eclectic mix of genres: the already-confirmed Mariah Carey, rapper Nicki Minaj, country star Keith Urban, and Idol staple Randy Jackson. But what about the icons here? While Mariah is the diva to top all divas, what about a proper rock star to fill Tyler’s shoes? We’ve got a few ideas.
1. Elton John
Idol needs a new Simon, and one that actually has experience on the stage. Brutal, British and without those tight tees, Elton’s just the man to do it. It’s hard to imagine him being derailed by one of Idol’s famous sob stories – which J.Lo and Paula Abdul couldn’t resist – and that’s exactly what the show needs. Down with the positivity!
2. Stevie Nicks
Fleetwood Mac’s resident gypsy woman made an appearance on last season’s Idol, flirting with all the boys (especially eventual winner Phillip Phillips) and making ex-boyfriend Jimmy Iovine jealous in the process. She was charming and a little kooky, and her encouragement came at a point in the season when the contestants could use some love from a free spirit (or at least one freer than Randy Jackson, dawg). We’d like to upgrade her from guest mentor to the judges’ table, as a role model for all the rocker chicks that have Joplin’ed their way into the Top 12 through the years.
3. Ozzy & Sharon Osbourne
This is a combo of naughty and nice… or maybe it’s naughty and incoherent. Either way, with Sharon Osbourne out on America’s Got Talent, and the loveable push-and-pull of Sharon and Ozzy, we’d be into this husband-wife/manager-artist duo on the judging panel. If they can survive raising Kelly and Jack on reality TV and entertain all the while, they can soar right through the auditions with realness and humor.
4. David Lee Roth
Idol’s judging table demands big personalities, and maybe – just maybe – a touch of wackiness. That’s what made Steven Tyler so entertaining to watch (and listen to make up words). It doesn’t get much bigger than Van Halen frontman Diamond Dave, who could certainly teach the contestants a thing or two about showmanship. With Eddie Van Halen benched due to health problems for a bit, now could be the time for Roth to grab the spotlight he thrives on via the small screen.
Though the company behind the Tupac (and forthcoming Elvis) hologram filed for bankruptcy this week, there are other companies developing similar technology and working with, among others, the estates of Jimi Hendrix and The Doors’ Jim Morrison. In other words: There’s still hope for an holographic Idol judge. And really, can we ask for anything more?
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local; photos by Getty