In a sea of singing talent competitions, “American Idol” is the granddaddy of them all as it enters its soon-to-be 12th season. In its debut season, the show’s shtick was finding America’s next singing star amid somewhat unknown judges who would tell it like it is; Randy Jackson, a talented industry musician, but some may have thought the brother of Michael Jackson upon first hearing his name. Paula Abdul was a somewhat reclusive late 80s-early 90s choreographer-turned âpop singer who resurfaced in the Idol judging seat, and the majority of Americans only knew Simon Cowell as a British record exec.
But as the seasons progressed, ratings dropped, and so did the show’s premier judges, Abdul and Cowell, who jumped ship to go to America’s version of “X-Factor.” Then the focus became mainly on who the judges would be, not so much on finding talent. The coveted seats were granted to Jennifer Lopez and Stephen Tyler, who lasted two seasons. Last week, the two both officially resigned from “Idol.”
Instantly, speculation began on who would take the positions. Us Weekly reported that Mariah Carey is in talks for one of the seats insisting, “They are in serious talks with Mariah and it’s very close to being a done deal,” says a source. “And they will move Randy into a more mentoring role.”
Mary J. Blige’s name has been thrown around as an option, but no word on if Blige has expressed interest. Media analyst Brad Adgate said “They need judges who will resonate with young people,” citing the fact that the median age for the “American Idol” audience rose above 50 last season and had the lowest ratings since its inception.
While Carey and Blige are notable artists with industry longevity and huge fan bases, it seems the common consensus among many is to stick with youth-oriented picks such as Miley Cyrus, “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood, and even former contestant Jennifer Hudson.
When it comes to saving the “American Idol” brand, do you think seasoned stars are the way to go, or will newer artists save the show?