The more news that we hear about the upcoming judging panel for “American Idol,” the more we start to wonder just how big of a mistake it was to get rid of Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick. Sure, the two had their problems (in their extremely-dated song books and stale portions of Hollywood Week), but the two had received a swift kick on the rear end along with Fox for everything that went on in the judging department. (The same goes for Fox’s Kevin Reilly, who seemingly departed on his own accord and the network is ultimately the one who decides on the panel.)
When the talk of having an all-alumni panel first came up, it happened back when the show was still under its old regime. Now, we have this report from The Wrap suggesting that the ideal panel for next season, at least per new boss Per Blankens, is Keith Urban, Will.i.am, and Jennifer Lopez. Ugh. So basically you have two guys from international versions of “The Voice,” and a woman who was panned for never saying anything mean during her stint over a year ago.
We’ll hold on to our controversial opinion that Will is an entertaining personality and was the best part of “The Voice” UK, but the truth is that he is a much better mentor than a judge, given that so much of what he does involves collaboration and working with different people. At least he does bring some of that background more than these two other people.
But what happened to the likes of Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson? Neither has been necessarily ruled out, but apparently, the idea of an all-alumni panel fizzled when Kelly Clarkson declined doing the show. That’s somewhat of a shame, given that Adam would have done a great job, and Kelly was actually the best part of ABC’s otherwise-awful “Duets.” With Carrie Underwood touring and with most other super-successful alumni still too recent, apparently there was not a third former contestant that was deemed worthy of the spot.
If we do have a panel led by Keith along with J.Lo and Will, it’s our prediction that we will see something that is slightly better than last year, but it won’t produce much in the way of ratings improvement. We’ve heard all summer that “American Idol” wanted a change, and they’re about to bring us three people who are more of the same.
The shame is that you even have famous people campaigning for Adam to judge; just see this take from Neil Patrick Harris for evidence.