Since this has been kicked around for a while, it should come as no real surprise to hear the official announcement today that confirms the rumors stating that Steven Tyler would be occupying one of the judges seats on the next season of American Idol. Joining him as part of the new panel is Jennifer Lopez, a move that will mark the first time in Idol history when all of the judges are musicians and performers.
This brings Idol back to the original 3-judge line-up that endured for seven seasons before they began to tinker with things by adding a fourth judge in season eight and introducing other new gimmicks like the “judges save.” Both Kara DioGuardi and Ellen DeGeneres will not be returning this season, leaving Randy Jackson as the only original member of the panel.
Departing judge and resident grouch, Simon Cowell, was sometimes criticized for not being a performer, although his personal fortune does speak pretty well of his ability as a talent scout. We may see Tyler cast as a Cowell replacement in the sense that he’s one of those kinds of guys that could come out with just about anything
The world knows Tyler as the frontman for the legendary Boston rock group Aerosmith, but I think his presence on Idol is going to reveal a new side of the one time “Toxic Twin” that may be a good fit.
Let’s face it, Simon Cowell was great for Idol. Although his shoot-from-the-hip style often came across as a bit too harsh even for a talent show, it’s the kind of thing lot’s of people want to see. Who among us doesn’t slow down for a good look while passing an auto accident on the freeway?
Call it morbid curiosity, human nature or whatever. It is what it is. On the other hand, I don’t dismiss the notion that some people are looking to see how bad it is because they are genuinely concerned for the people involved in the accident. Sometimes the glass is half-full. Anyway, before I wander too far off course, let’s get back to Tyler and American Idol.
Although Twitter is probably not the most scientific of indicators, it’s probably about as close as we’ve come so far to having a sort of instantly-open window into what the public is thinking about a particular subject. You’ve got to think that people tweeting about Tyler signing onto Idol must have at least a passing interest in either the man, the show or perhaps even both.
The quick peek I took at Twitter while the news was breaking indicated that people were split on this one. Some thought it was a terrible idea, while others – some who were admittedly adoring fans of Steven Tyler – think it is going to be great. No real surprise there. These days it seems like we’re further from genuine consensus on anything, including Steven Tyler signing onto American Idol – although this one obviously clocks in as one of the more trivial issues facing mankind today.
That being said (why does everyone seem to be using that line lately?), I’m opting for the wait-and-see approach. I think one of the reasons – perhaps the main reason – Tyler was offered the job was due to the aforementioned “you never know what this guy is going to say” factor. The success of the “New Idol” may be riding on Tyler’s ability to conjure up off-the-wall material to fire at struggling or just plain deranged contestants. That may be a bit too simplistic, but I think few would disagree that a major reason a lot of fans tuned in was to see what Cowell was going to say next.
Aerosmith’s most outspoken member has not come out with a statement or even a tweet regarding today’s announcement thus far. I’ve checked both Joe Perry’s personal website and his Twitter stream and he hasn’t written anything about this yet. I’m guessing he won’t be staying quiet about this too much longer.
What effect this will have on Aerosmith remains – as it has from the start – unclear. Who knows, Tyler on American Idol might actually be entertaining. Although it is a bit strange seeing such a dramatic shift in the show’s key players, and since I feel like I’ve been losing enthusiasm for the show for the past few seasons anyway, maybe this shakeup will end up being a good thing. The people at Fox and 19 Entertainment are surely hoping it will.