After nine seasons on the top rated FOX show, judge Simon Cowell hung up his hat following the 2010 season finale of American Idol. And while fans will miss his sharp tongue and constructive criticism, it’s clear the hit show will go on without him. But who will replace Simon Cowell on American Idol ? Several names have been floating around, but are they fact or fiction?
Howard Stern. The shock radio DJ has made no bones that he would take the American Idol judging gig– for 100 million bucks. He also promised he’d blurt out the whole truth, from telling them to lose weight to hurling insults at the other judges. Season 9 newcomer Ellen DeGeneres has already said she will leave the show if the shock jock comes on board, but let’s face it, the possibility of FOX signing on the raunchy, mean spirited Stern to a family show like Idol is slim to none. MY VOTE: FICTION
Elton John. Fans may remember Elton John from his guest judging stint back in Season 3. And according to Access Hollywood, superstar Elton John was indeed in the running to replace Simon Cowell on American Idol . But he turned down the $33 million dollar offer. With his British wit and obvious experience in the music industry, he would have been great, but it ain’t happening. MY VOTE: SORRY, FOLKS
Jamie Foxx. The Idol judges panel has done well with one comedian (Ellen DeGeneres) on board this season, so how about two? No stranger to the Idol family, he’s been a guest mentor on the show so he knows the drill. The plus side to Foxx is, besides his comedy and acting career he’s had great success in the music biz too. He would offer credibility to the show- but would be and Ellen be vying for the best lines during their judging critiques? MY VOTE: MAYBE
Tommy Mottola. If the Idol execs wants to sign on a big name in the music industry, this is their man. This bigwig music exec headed Sony Music for over a decade and was also a driving force behind the success of artists like Hall and Oates, Mariah Carey (his former wife), Celine Dion and J-Lo. With his own record label and a development deal for television entertainment projects, does the already-busy Mottola need this gig? And could FOX even pay him enough to take it? MY VOTE: MAYBE
Perez Hilton. The celebrity blogger has a sharp tongue and wants this gig bad– BuddyTV even showcased his video plea for the job. And while I would have initially ruled him out, Hilton’s Idol cameo a few weeks ago to introduce his “discovery”- singer Travis Garland- was very telling. It showed America his face and may have been an attempt to give him some music credibility. MY VOTE: DON’T RULE THIS ONE OUT
Madonna. Could the Material Girl be a contender to replace Simon Cowell? It would be quite a coupe for the show, but according to the NY Daily News, Cowell called all the Madonna talk “a pipedream”. The huge time commitment that Idol would require would likely to be too much for a star of Madonna’s status. And she certainly doesn’t need the money. MY VOTE: FICTION
Harry Connick Jr. He was the hardest working and best mentor the show has ever had, guiding the season 9 contestants through Frank Sinatra week and performing on stage with them. To top it off, Harry Connick Jr. is one funny guy. He’s not as acid tongued as Simon (but who is?) but Connick could provide a fresh insight for upcoming Idol hopefuls and he’d be entertaining to watch. MY VOTE: MAYBE
Bret Michaels. The Poison front man has been in the news lately for his medical problems (he suffered a nearly fatal brain hemorrhage in April), but he bounced back and even went on to win Celebrity Apprentice. But his surprise appearance on the season 9 finale of American idol must have impressed the FOX execs. According to TMZ, Michaels told fans at his concert at The Hard Rock in Biloxi, “I can’t say this is true yet, cause I don’t know. Next year they asked me to possibly be the judge on ‘American Idol.'” Michaels is the first person to admit that he’s a contender. And given his newfound popularity, he wouldn’t be a bad choice. MY VOTE: FACT
We’ll all know who will replace Simon Cowell soon enough. FOX was waiting until after the American Idol Season 9 finale before making the announcement of who will be the new Idol judge. Since the show ended on May 26th, the big announcement could be any day now. Stay tuned.