Alas, another one has bitten the dust on American Idol. After signing on for only two seasons of the hit show, Steven Tyler — rock god extraordinaire of “Aerosmith” — calls it quits on his “mistress American Idol before she boils [his] rabbit.” Oh trust me Steven, your rabbit has long been boiled before Idol came a’ knockin. All jokes aside, I’m going to miss our free-spirited rocker. I know — shocking! Look, although I may be an ardent proponent of articulate and helpful judging — that isn’t limited to the words “beautiful” and “over-the-top” — you can’t deny that Tyler was the perfect remedy after Simon Cowell left behind a stench of bitterness and detachment. We needed a judge who’d bring a smile to everyone’s face, lighten up the somber mood that was beginning to plague the show, and most importantly show a genuine fondness for each contestant. That was Steven Tyler, and from the second he uttered the phrase, ““F–k a duck and see what hatches” during one of the show’s audition rounds, we all knew that FOX had struck television gold. Look, judging on American Idol has pretty much been a farce since Season Seven (America seems to only want white guys with guitars to win), so really…why not make the road to the inevitable a barrel of fun? Thank you Steven Tyler for bringing an exuberance to a show that was in dire need of it, and — at least from this Idol blogger’s end — you will be missed. So now the question is this: who will fill Steven Tyler’s shoes now that he’s decided to hang them up for good? Find out the five names I’ve got swirling in my head as replacements for Tyler…after the jump!
1. Adam Lambert — Since he’s been a frequent visitor of this rumor mill (more for replacing Jennifer Lopez, if she does decide to leave), I couldn’t help but add him to my list, mostly because I agree with many pundits and fans that Lambert is a great choice for an Idol judge. As the new lead singer of Queen, Adam is ready to make a huge career transition in the music world. Lambert’s had more luck as an international superstar than a domestic one — his Glam Nation worldwide tour was a bona fide success and money maker — but maybe reintroducing himself to America on a show where it all began for him three and a half years ago will turn him into a national commodity. Idol certainly hasn’t harmed Jennifer Lopez’s career (massive understatement). Lambert has already proven to be a great mentor with his brief tutelage on Idol’s
deplorable Ninth Season. Lambert is affable, extremely articulate, and knows how to push someone to make their dreams come to fruition. If the vacant position really does fuel Lambert’s interest, you won’t hear me complaining if he jumps on board.
2. Aubrey O’Day — Whether you love or loathe her, it’s hard to deny that Aubrey O’Day was the breakout star of this season’s Celebrity Apprentice. Aubrey was a firecracker on each task, never giving up and always exuding unlimited amounts of passion. But the most shocking part was that she was highly intelligent, proving her smarts on a weekly basis. Even more so, Aubrey proved to be an exceptional public speaker — she was articulate with her words, and knew exactly how to correlate them back to the task at hand. Aubrey already knows the ups and downs of the music business — she’s been at the top and shot right back down to rock bottom with her experience in “Danity Kane.” Aubrey’s also not afraid to give her opinion, and you know she’d be able to express how she felt with the most precise of diction and articulation. Plus, she already has an Idol connection: Season 10 alum Pia Toscano wrote Aubrey’s latest track, “Wrecking Ball.” If Idol wants a judge who pulls no punches, tells it like it is but with a passion for the show and its contestants, Aubrey O’Day might just be the surprise ingredient Idol needs to land back on its feet.
3. Bret Michaels — This “Poison” frontman, who also won the 3rd Season of Celebrity Apprentice, was in contention for a judging gig on Idol two years ago, but failed to land the high-paying job. Now that Tyler is gone and a spot is vacant (two possibly, if Lopez decides to end her contract), Bret Michaels is right back to possibly being a major contender. I always saw Michaels as a man who really appreciated and enjoyed life. He has an air of ease about him that makes all those around him just as tranquil and easygoing. Yet, I think he’s serious enough about music to really hone in one what some of the contestants need to do in order to be successful on the program. Bret, like Steven Tyler, isn’t robotic or falls in line with “family show” expectations — he’s a maverick who has no problem jamming to the rhythm of his own guitar. My concern is that Michaels seems like reality television trash to producers, when what they really expect is a master class artist in the business who an audience can both respect and take seriously. Still, from what I’ve seen of Michaels, I think if given the chance he could do wonders with the responsibility.
4. Jewel — I’ve been an advocate for Jewel as an Idol judge ever since I saw her briefly on that short-lived singer-songwriter program Platinum Hit. She was somewhat harsh in her critiques, but it seemed that she had a deep knowledge about music and what precisely needed tweaking in order for the act or song to sound just right. Then, when I saw her again on The Voice as a guest mentor, I knew she was no fluke. Jewel actually pulled up a video from a contestant’s past audition, and with a detailed step-by-step explanation upon examination, she brought that contestant (my interviewee Monique Benabou) to the next vocal level. If FOX wants someone who takes their job seriously but is still very likable and stands out in a television atmosphere, then the producers of Idol must seek out this not-so-hidden Jewel.
5. Liv Tyler — Okay, I’ll admit…this is a very, very selfish pick. But really, what could be the harm? She’s a “Tyler,” so you know she’ll bring a sweet and lighthearted disposition to Idol, and not being someone who’s been “boiled” since the 1970s, I imagine she can probably be a tad more “understandable” than daddy dearest. Besides, what’s Liv Tyler doing right now in the film business anyways (aside from a ridiculously amazing minor role in the charming Robot & Frank)? Perhaps if all of America realizes that Liv Tyler still in fact exists, Hollywood might decide to cast her in more films, because she’s got the talent and star magnetism to continue her movie career. Terence and I are still waiting for her future Oscar® nomination for The Strangers 2 (it’s GOING to happen!). Plus, if some idiotic contestant attempts to sing Steven Tyler’s “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” from Armageddon, you can almost guarantee that Liv will throw a tomato at them, or at least curse them out for reminding her of that god-awful movie she had to star in. That’s okay Liv, we’ll always have Middle Earth!
So, can you top my slightly zany/moderately serious list of choices for future Idol judges? Critique, bash, or love my selections to your heart’s content, but I do ask that at the very least you supply your own list of potential Tyler-fillers before you have a go at mine. Unleash the kracken(s), everybody!