The news that Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez were both leaving their "American Idol" posts rocked the reality-TV set to its core this week, forcing fans to speculate about who might replace the two popular judges. Considering "Idol's" disappointing season 11 ratings, "The Voice's" ever-growing popularity, and "The X Factor's" ability to bring pop powerhouses like Britney Spears to their table, we're sure the show's producers are checking their rolodexes twice for big names they can call to fill the panel.
With that said, we thought we'd give Ryan, Randy (if he remains) and the rest of the "Idol" team a little help. Here's who we think would make great judges for the Fox reality show's 12th season. Agree with our suggestions? Vote in the poll below. Got a better one? Let us know in the comments section.
| Mariah Carey - CONFIRMED AS NEXT JUDGE [ Read More]
Rumor has it Mariah is already in talks to take over J. Lo's spot, and we think she's an excellent choice. The record-setting diva has spent decades perfecting her platinum-powered pipes, so we're sure she knows "pitchy" when she hears it. She's sweet enough to be nurturing to burgeoning talents, but feisty enough to keep it real when need be. "Idol" producers, make this so.
| Adam Lambert
The "Idol" season eight runner-up is another name rumored to be in talks about sitting on the panel. It makes perfect sense. Having been through "Idol" bootcamp himself, Adam knows exactly what it takes to go from the a cappella audition room to the top of the charts. Plus, Glambert's one-of-a kind flair might give the show the fabulous dash of sass it desperately needs.
|Shania Twain Shania once reigned as one of country music's biggest crossover stars, but the Canadian icon hasn't released an album of new material in more than 10 years. "Idol" would be a great platform for her to get back in the public eye and restart her music career. Might be difficult for Twain to juggle reality TV and her upcoming Las Vegas residency though.|
Talk about a no-brainer. JT has the success, charisma, experience and positive attitude to be one of "Idol's" all-time best judges. But lately, Timberlake has given his full attention to making a mark on the big screen. Despite the show's juggernaut status, the "Idol" platform may be too small for Justin's huge career aspirations.
| Kelly Clarkson
Who better to sit on the judges' panel than the original "Idol" herself? Clarkson remains the show's biggest success story, and the million-dollar diva can certainly help guide hopefuls through the twists and turns of the rigorous competition. But wise men say you can never go home again -- returning to "Idol" could actually stunt Kelly's career growth.
| Marc Anthony
Having J. Lo's ex-husband take over one of the vacant "Idol" seats would definitely be a headline generator. Beyond the tabloid chatter that would instantly erupt, Marc would be a good fit -- not only is the Latin legend an accomplished superstar in his own right, he was also a quiet mentor to the season 10 contestants. It's fun to think about, though we seriously doubt that Marc wants J. Lo's sloppy seconds.
| Nelly Furtado
Nelly has had the kind of success most musicians only dream of. But in pop music, you're only as hot as your last single, and Furtado's 2012 "comeback" track "Big Hoops" didn't exactly set the world on fire. She's got a new album to push this fall, so a spot at the "Idol" table might help this Canadian songstress soar like a bird back to the top of the charts. But we wonder if Nelly bold enough to bring the tough criticism when need be.
|P!nk Over the past decade, P!nk has demonstrated undeniable staying power, sprinkling the charts with numerous top 40 anthems. Not only does this triple-threat singer, songwriter and actress know a thing or two about multitasking her way to success (and staying there), but her celebrated outspoken attitude may just provide "Idol" with a good dose of that deliciously harsh commentary that left with Simon Cowell.|
| Bon Jovi
With 30 years in the music biz, Jon Bon Jovi knows how to play the game. He's intelligent, friendly and poised in TV interviews, and we bet the New Jersey native could give constructive criticism without making the contestants cry (á la Simon). He may be too busy working on a new album with his band, and the price tag could be a little high -- he was recently ranked second on Forbes magazine's list of the world's highest paid musicians -- but Bon Jovi is a solid choice to replace Steven Tyler as "Idol's" token rock 'n' roll icon.
| Queen Latifah
The charismatic rapper-turned-actress is no stranger to the small screen, and she could bring a lot of fun -- not to mention attitude -- to a show that has grown a bit bland over the past few seasons. Queen Latifah has been treading the comeback waters in the past few years -- teasing a new album and recording duets with Missy Elliott and Tony Bennett -- so a gig on "Idol" could be just the push she needs to dive headfirst into the music industry again.