The future of "American Idol" was already up in the air with Simon Cowell's exit from the show before Ellen DeGeneres announced she wasn't coming back and rumors started circulating that Kara DioGuardi was also leaving the confines of the judges' table. In the past few months, we've spent a number of posts trying to figure out who would be the new version of Simon Cowell. But we realized that the search the producers of the show should be conducting is one for the new Paula Abdul.
Since her exit, the efforts of DeGeneres and DioGuardi have driven home the fact that the show really missed Abdul's approach to the show, which was equal parts poetic, positive, wacky, insightful and completely unhinged. And not only did Abdul give something to "Idol," but "Idol" also gave a lot to Abdul, resurrecting the former chart-topper's career and making her a player in both the worlds of television and music.
That's why there are a handful of artists who should be clamoring to grab a chair behind the judges' table on "American Idol." The rumored deal with Jennifer Lopez is interesting, but here are the 10 we think would do even better.
Though she has had a few moments on reality television (most recently on the VH1 show "Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty"), her music career has sputtered a bit since her initial string of hits at the turn of the century. A high-profile spot on "Idol" would definitely elevate her status and give her all sorts of options moving forward. Plus, she knows plenty about music and has a winning personality.
Though she has completely reinvented herself since the "Candy" era, Mandy Moore deserves to be a much bigger star. Her experience at various levels of the record industry and her interest in a number of different genres (pop, rock, country and the like) would make her a stellar choice.
Lachey hasn't been around very much since the "Newlyweds" era, but the guy knows music, has a great television presence and, most importantly, says what he thinks, which would not only make him a great Paula replacement but also a great fill-in for Simon.
Sure, the former *NSYNC member (who put out one of the most underrated solo albums of the boy band era) spends a lot of his time as a judge on "America's Best Dance Crew" (which also happens to be produced by none other than Randy Jackson), but there's no reason why he couldn't pull double time, as he is a key reason why "ABDC" is such a hit. He's cutting, insightful and gets to the point in ways that most people can't.
She's only 19 years old, but label woes have made the former "Leave (Get Out)" hit maker in need of a comeback vehicle. What better way than to let the world know what she thinks of amateur singers?
The former Missy Elliott protegé was supposed to be a big star, but after the modest success of her 2002 debut Southern Hummingbird, she has been struggling. But she deserves more, and she could lend some real personality to "Idol."
Bionic is doing relatively fine, but the tour that she canceled can't be a positive sign. Hopping on the "American Idol" train would allow her to stay close to home (which is important to the family-oriented Aguilera), and her experience would really provide the contestants with something to work with.
Because the other half of Wham! could always use a leg up (though he's probably still in a better place than George Michael).
The "Bad Day" crooner became huge because his song was used as an exit tune a few seasons ago. "Idol" can give him a second leg up.
Sure, he's still cranking out albums (like 2009's Imperial Blaze), but it's been a while since "Get Busy" dominated the charts. "American Idol" could be the next big break he needs to return to the top.
What former pop sensation would you like to see on "American Idol"? Let us know in the comments!