The rumor mill is churning overtime with reports that Adam Lambert, “American Idol’s” season 8 runner-up, is in the running to become a judge on the reality talent competition.
E! News first reported that talks were going on, but then Lambert implied in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that the discussions had not started. However, as he said, “If ‘Idol’ wants to talk to me about judging, I’d be more than flattered to have that conversation.”
While it looks like Jennifer Lopez will opt not to return after two years of judging, E! News predicts that both Randy Jackson and Steven Tyler could be gone as well, leaving room for three new judges. We’re sure the producers would never do this, but in some ways, we think it would be awesome if the whole panel was composed of past contestants. Can you imagine Adam Lambert, Fantasia and Melinda Doolittle all judging?
Let’s pull back from that little high-drama scenario and focus on Lambert. Here are the top seven reasons why we think he’d make an excellent judge:
1. He’s a great singer. This is a singing competition, after all, and that notion seems to get a little lost some years.
2. This is stating the obvious, but Lambert knows the game from the inside. Yes, the judges will all be different from when he competed, but the basics don’t change and the general concept remains the same.
3. He’s entertaining and has a razor-sharp wit that amuses, but isn’t mean-spirited.
4. He’s kind, but not annoyingly so. Some judges (yes, Tyler and Lopez, we mean you) don’t levy a lot of criticism or don’t seem to have much advice to give a contestant for fear of hurting his or feelings. While Lambert won’t be intentionally cruel, he’ll land somewhere kinder than Simon Cowell, but not as soft as Lopez and not as crazy as Paula Abdul.
5. He’s out there in the real world now. His music heyday wasn’t 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. He’s competing in today’s marketing place so who better to judge the current crop of talent and assess where they fit in to today’s space?
6: He knows from different. To give “American Idol” credit, the judges through the past decade have grown better at embracing talent that falls outside of the narrow confines of Top 40 radio, such as Casey Abrams in season 10. Lambert seems like he would continue that.
7. It would be really fun to see him perform with the contestants and give them advice. In that regard, if he doesn’t work out as a judge, he should be a mentor, like Jimmy Iovine.
And now a few reasons why it might not work.
1. Though the perspective of a former contestant can be great on one hand, on the other, it could be a little too inside baseball. Viewers are pretty savvy, but they are the ones ultimately deciding who stays and goes and an insider’s view could be too limited given the wide appeal the winner must have.
2. Is he mainstream enough? One of the reasons Lambert lost to the much blander Kris Allen is that he pushed the envelope and may have made some people uncomfortable. At its heart, “American Idol” remains a family show.
3. Speaking of, not everyone has forgotten about Lambert’s American Music Awards performance when he pushed another man’s face in his crotch. Hopefully, we’ve reach a time where no one has a problem with his sexual preference (or at least we’re getting closer), but some folks may have a concern about his lewdness.
4. While Lambert has had success, he hasn't become a runaway star, especially at radio, that a number of his fellow former contestants have become. His current album, the tremendous "Trespassing," has been well reviewed and debuted at No. 1, but has not spawned major radio hits.Should he focus on his own career instead of trying to build others?
E! further reports that among the other names Idol's producers are tossing around as potential judges aer Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Fergie, Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas' Will.I.Am.
Whom would you like see become a judge? Is Lambert a good choice?