Even though the Fox talent show American Idol is rolling out to a new season, the other Fox talent show The X Factor has been keeping its name in the news. In January Fox announced that the show will undergo some changes for its second season next fall. Their show creator Simon Cowell went and fired two out of three of his other judges! So far the changes have been the release of announcer Steve Jones (he’s fired) and the seemingly voluntary departure of judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger. Now who is going to run the show?
There has been big news on the set of X Factor. Judge Simon Cowell isn’t going anywhere, he owns the rights to the reality television music competition — the project was his idea, his creation, his baby, and even though the ratings are low it is the goose he expects will lay the proverbial golden egg for him once its fan base grows. For a much as folks disliked L.A. Reid for his bickering with judge Simon and boring demeanor that seemed to make him a second-rate carbon copy of American Idol judge Randy Jackson, he’s likely to be the only judge to stay long-term since he’s a big time record producer and needs the publicity boost to further his own professional ambitions of keeping his name in the headlights so he can attract more rising stars.
The three people canned so far are Steve Jones (the host), Nicole Scherzinger (the pretty judge with the long black hair), and former American Idol judge Paula Abdul. Scherzinger is a pop music star like Abdul, but her music career seems to have had more longevity as she’s known for giving wonderful musical performances with her band while on tour. Abdul was more popular in her younger years. As a former cheerleader, she had high energy as a dance choreographer, but her forte was really in the music video world.
So there would appear to be three key openings on the show where famous faces cold fill in spots as guests or regulars. In keeping with the balanced established last year, we would assume the two openings for judges would be filled by women — but they don’t have to be. Just in case Simon Cowell would be listening, we would like to offer some suggestions for new judges for next year’s version of the X Factor.
Because somehow the rumor he will be bringing back on Cheryl Cole (who he fired and replaced with Scherzinger) sound like a silly move for him to make. He’s a man that looks forward — he already made one mistake hiring Abdul while looking back and re-hiring Cole would be a repeat of that.
Steven Tyler, as a judge on American Idol, has set the stage for the new wave of music competition judges, the edgy old rock star. Since we are looking for a female judge, the first nomination we would like to offer up to Simon Cowell is Grack Slick.
Ah, the youngsters in the crowd may not recognize her name, but they would probably recognize her music. Grace slick was a very important figure in the development of rock music in the late 1960s and was one of the first female rock stars. Her distinctive vocal style and striking stage presence exerted a definite influence on other female performers.
Grace Slick was the lead singer Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and Starship. During the 1980s, Slick was the only former Jefferson Airplane member to be in Starship. The band went on to score three chart-topping successes with “We Built This City”, “Sara”, and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”.
In 2010 Grace Slick appeared on a recording for the first time in more than a decade as she gave her talents to raise money for Louisiana fisherman and musicians who were affected by the Gulf Oil Spill.
In a Wall Street Journal article back on April 29, 2011, Grace was asked “Would you like to be an American Idol guest judge?”
Back then she answered, “I love the show, but no way. I don’t have any middle ground like those judges do. I’m a buzzer or a gong. Either I think you’re marvelous or I don’t and would say so. I’d be more negative than Simon Cowell.”
Well Grace, it’s a new show, and a new Simon Cowell. The X Factor does have more of an edge to it than American Idol, and Steven Tyler has set the example for the baby boomer generation of rock stars as judges. Perhaps at the age of 72, Grace has little to prove by exposing herself to the rigors of a television talent show. But we think she would be exactly the type of person that would give Simon Cowell a run for his money on X Factor. What do you think Grace? We think you would rock on the X Factor — would you consider doing the new show now?
Otherwise, Simon Cowell is likely to be paying out big green dollars to land a big name celebrity. Understandable suggestions that women like Beyonce Knowles, Celine Dion, or Mariah Carey to replace Paula Abdul make sense. They are all nice women who have done great things for humanitarian charities over the years, so it might be the right time for any one of them to step into the role of mentor now.
But he’ll have to find a wild card to replace the Dancing With The Stars “Mirror Ball Trophy Winner” Nicole Scherzinger (the lead singer from the Pussycat Dolls who claims she’s happy to be off the show because now she can focus again on making her own music and heading out once more on tour). If he wants to keep the show interesting, he’s going to have to find someone interesting (that is)…
If he copies American Idol and tries to hire a male rocker, we wonder if he’d try to get someone like Elton John, Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones, or pop music singer David Bowie? Heck, even Willie Nelson (the big name country music star turned celebrity stoner) would be a hoot.
Granted, signing a woman like Lady Gaga or Nicki Minaj would be a goldmine but our guess is those diva’s would tell him to take a flying leap in about four seconds after he started giving either of them grief. So, if he sets his sights a bit higher and hires someone older and wiser, he out to reach out to someone like Madonna (who just performed live at the Superbowl and could judge pop), Cher (who is iconic), a Melissa Ethridge or even Dolly Parton (who could judge country), or even Queen Latifah (who could put some pop-rock-hip-hop-musical soul into the whole kit and kaboodle) would be hot.
Having a different celebrity host the show each week SNL style might be a great hook for him, too. That’s just one writer’s opinion, though. They could be young stars while the judges themselves ought to be pulled from the remaining group of stars that understand what it means to be old school. Working on reality TV might be more fun for them to consider than doing in retirement than singing in a Las Vegas lounge act or some rinky dinky venue like a county fair while cruising around on a bus tour.
What do you think? Any one from the baby boomer generation of rock stars you would like to see as the new X Factor Judge?