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American Idol fans probably never imagined a day when Randy Jackson would no longer be “in it to win it,” but so it seems for season-14 of the Fox show, the first that won’t feature the former judge-turned-mentor.
The season-eight runner-up is one of the most successful and loyal team players in the Idol family. He has already served in the position of mentoring and coaching Idols in seasons Nine and 13, respectively, offering truthful, candid, no-nonsense advice while at the same time serving a big brother role — he’s been there, done that and seen it all.
Case in point: during season-nine, Lambert was invited to serve as a mentor during Elvis Presley week, the first former contestant to do so. His presence was at times brutal, telling finalist Andrew Garcia that his “Hound Dog” was “boring.” Other times, he gave just the right medicine for an ailing season. For example, Michael Lynche had been struggling and was on the brink of elimination before Lambert took the reins and guided him to use his storytelling skills on Presley’s “In The Ghetto.” That performance earned Big Mike a standing ovation and lengthened his run into the top four.
Since that appearance, Lambert has returned to the show every year as a performer– his duet with Angie Miller in the season-12 finale was one of the evening’s most exciting moments –and as a counselor (alongside season-five standout Chris Daughtry) at Jackson’s Boot Camp, helping the season-13 contestants get ready to compete before the shows went live. And he’s uncannily good at it: Lambert correctly advised perky Majesty Rose to settle down the arrangement to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and not rush it. Rose prevailed that week under Lambert’s tutelage. He also offered advice to other hopefuls on how to handle social media and stay focused in the competition: words only a former contestant who survived the glaring spotlight of Idol can honestly espouse.
Even on this current season, Lambert’s presence will be felt during auditions seeing as he stepped in as a judge when Keith Urban’s father-in-law tragically passed away. According to reports, Lambert did an excellent job selecting talent alongside Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez.
But ultimately, it’s Lambert’s career path that qualifies him to mentor others, and since his Idol days, it’s been one long whirlwind of excitement. His 2009 release, For Your Entertainment, yielded the hit songs “Whataya Want From Me?” and “If I Had You.” His subsequent release, Trespassing, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 2012.
As a magnetic TV personality, Lambert shines, having hosted VH–1’s Divas special and appeared on Pretty Little Liars and Glee.
And lest we forget his triumphant turn as the frontman of Queen, stepping into the shoes of the late Freddie Mercury and rocking arenas around the world.
With all of his knowledge, performance skills, charisma, fashion and media savvy, Lambert is the ultimate choice. He not only knows the Idol system, but he can also help the new kids wade through the shark-infested waters of the music industry by sharing his own hard-earned business acumen.
As Angie Miller said in a recent interview with Idol Worship, Lambert was refreshingly candid offering words of wisdom when they met at the finale. “When I met him, it was kind of like an instant click because we know what each other went through,” she said. “He said a lot of great things about what is going to happen after Idol. He gave a lot of hints about what to do when it was over… He helped a lot with that side of things.”
Wouldn’t future Idols benefit from a guy like that?
Yes, he has more shows overseas and in England through February, but surely he can return in time to heroically guide the next batch of contestants battling for the 2015 Idol crown? What do you think, Idol Worshippers? Does Lambert fit the bill?
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