Adam Lambert, John Mayer and 5 More Rock Star Options for 'American Idol' Judge
Will the Fox series go country or turn the judges' table up to 11? THR looks at the show's rocker prospects.
With Mariah Carey's impending arrival at the American Idol judges' table and Randy Jackson's status still unconfirmed, rumors abound about who'll take the open seat. Will it be a country star or does it make more sense to replace exiting rocker Steven Tyler with another?
Think about it: rock singers (with guitars) generally do well with the Idol audience. You could even say one took the title this year. But Phillip Phillips aside, David Cook, Chris Daughtry, Bo Bice, Constantine Maroulis, James Durbin and now Colton Dixon have made the genre proud.
Few can match Steven Tyler's success fronting Aerosmith, of course, but there are plenty more options of the long-haired and tattooed kind worth considering.
1. Bret Michaels: The Poison singer has had the most surprising metamorphosis -- from spandex-wearing '80s hair-metal star to reality show whore (VH-1's Rock of Love series, Celebrity Apprentice) to America's sweetheart, all the while overcoming impossible odds including diabetes and flying Rock of Ages stage props. Although a tad overexposed, Michaels' experience and words of wisdom would be a welcome change from Tyler's saccharine musings.
2. Dave Navarro: The guitarist with the sardonic tone has judging experience, already having sat on Mark Burnett's precursor to The Voice, the short-lived CBS series Rock Star: Supernova. He's also a host of Ink Masters and in 2003 starred in his own reality show with then fiancee Carmen Electra called Til Death Do Us Part. But Navarro's TV time pales in comparison to his impressive 20-year-plus rock resume going back to seminal band Jane's Addiction.
3. Kid Rock: Always an articulate interview with that all-important pedigree of having married and divorced Pamela Anderson, Rock satisfies several requirements: he can sing quite well, he raps and he has recorded country hits (his duet with Sheryl Crow, "Picture," personifies his crossover appeal). He is a perfect blend of a country/rock performer, which kills two birds with one stone melded into one judge.
4. Jon Bon Jovi: He proved himself as a mentor on season six of American Idol, bringing out the best in contestants like Melinda Doolittle, who took his uplifting advice to heart with a thoroughly impressive take on Bon Jovi's "Have a Nice Day." The New Jersey rocker is a virtual hit machine, even in the country market, and was already endorsed by departing judge Jennifer Lopez. One problem: His band has a new album and tour planned for next year.
5. John Mayer: He's on executive producer's Nigel Lythgoe's short list and, like Keith Urban, who's also recovering from throat surgery, a year or two away from the vocal strain of performing live might not be the worst thing. But the most compelling reasons that Mayer would work: He's sharp, he's funny and he speaks his mind for better or worse, on top of being insanely talented. Is there a better combination?
6. Dee Snider: Never one to mince words, as we discovered on Celebrity Apprentice this year, the Twisted Sister singer could be a solid presence at the judges' table. Besides his obvious vocal chops, Snider's musical knowledge is vast, thanks to his years on the radio hosting his syndicated show, "House of Hair." Besides having that experience in common with Ryan Seacrest, Snider, who appeared in Rock of Ages on Broadway, understands theatricality, something Idol's novice performers desperately need to embrace.
7. Adam Lambert: He may not have sold as many records as any of the previously mentioned stars, but the season eight runner-up has a huge advantage -- he was on the show. Indeed, Lambert's Idol run was consistently spectacular, drawing in legions of now diehard fans still grieving that year's results, and he worked the competition flawlessly. What Idol hopeful wouldn't welcome the insight, not to mention Lambert's genial manner, during the most stressful opportunity of their life? Now that's a judge worth tuning in for.
What do you think, Worshippers? Leave your suggestions below, and watch video of Jon Bon Jovi (with keyboardist David Bryan) mentoring season six champ Jordin Sparks below: