An American Idol 2014 Judges Dream Team

American Idol 2013 stage

Since reports started surfacing that American Idol intends to overhaul the judge’s panel completely, there has been much speculation involving who will be sitting at the judge’s table for American Idol 2014. Below (in no particular order of preference) are my picks if I had my druthers, for my “Dream Judges”.

Michael BubleMichael Buble. To be completely honest, Michael was initially suggested by one of our readers and I liked the idea so much that I decided to put him on the list. Michael Buble possesses all the right qualities to be a great judge in my opinion. He is a great vocalist, and he appeals to American Idol’s core demographic, which just happens to be his target audience as well. His genres include Big Band, Classic Pop and Jazz. He likes to focus mainly on the standards or classic pop songs, a recurring theme on Idol, but he writes many of his own songs as well.

Michael has been successful critically and commercially, reaching the top of the charts in all three of those genres. He’s won numerous awards, including 3 Grammys. Just as importantly, he is charming and has a knack for being really funny. The best thing about his sense of humor is that it’s family friendly humor. Something that American Idol needs to lure back viewers lost to the often off color and definitely not fit for family viewing kind of humor we experienced so much of this season.

Will.i.amWilliam Adams, a/k/a Will.i.am. A founding member of The Black-Eyed Peas, Will.i.am has had amazing success as part of the group and as a solo artist. Will.i.am is a pop vocalist, rapper, songwriter, producer and philanthropist. Drawing on that kind of experience, he could provide desperately needed well rounded critiques to the contestants. We saw him perform “Bang, “Bang” on last Thursday’s episode of American Idol and I thought it was one of the very best guest performances we’ve seen this season.

Will.i.am is also the recipient of several Grammy Awards and numerous other awards in the music industry. His charitable work centers on preparing young people to succeed in the world with his STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) initiative. He possesses the right attitude when it comes to critiquing contestants. He’s been quoted as saying “I don’t want to hog up time where singers are looking like “Is this about you guys?”. That’s exactly the kind of thinking that would have prevented a major issue from Season 12, which was of course, the show being too much about the judges and too little about the contestants.

Stevie NicksIt just wouldn’t be American Idol without a diva on the panel. My choice to fill the position is Stevie Nicks. She’s a diva all right, but not the kind we’ve become used to especially during Season 12. A diva is defined as a distinguished female singer; a prima donna. Well, we certainly had that this year. Miss Nicks is undeniably distinguished, but is she a prima donna? I can’t say for sure, but I would think she is established and mature enough and certainly secure enough in her success not to have a need for that sort of thing at this point in her career. I’ve had enough of the camera catching Nicki admiring herself in her ever present hand mirror.

Stevie Nicks began her career right around the same age as most of the contestants. She found success first with Fleetwood Mac, but it didn’t take long for her to release her first solo album, “Bella Donna” in 1981 and she’s still going strong. Stevie Nicks is among those precious few that paved the way for female artists in the Rock/Pop genre. Her critiques and advice would be invaluable, especially to the young women in the competition hoping to begin their careers. Stevie Nicks was a guest mentor last season on American Idol and judge, Randy Jackson commented during the performance show that it was Stevie that inspired all the contestants to deliver their personal best that week. An overwhelming majority of viewers agreed with him. Guess which producer first thought Stevie was worth taking a chance on as a solo artist? American Idol’s very own Jimmy Iovine.

Three judges are enough I think. Four is too many. Production can never seem to allow enough time to let them all have their say and really what’s left to say by the time the 4th judge’s turn comes around? My feeling is the 3 judge panel, consisting of 2 men and 1 woman, works best because there simply cannot be 2 divas on the panel together. There is bound to be competition which historically only breeds snarky remarks and cat fighting. Most of us have said that we don’t find that entertaining. It’s a distraction that takes the focus away from the talent of the contestants, which is really where our focus should be.

The only thing left, and just as important, but difficult to predict, is chemistry. Would these three stars have the kind of camaraderie and mutual respect that would engage viewers once again? Who is your dream team of judges for the next season of American Idol? Let us know below who you’d like to see at the Idol 2014 judge’s table for Season 13.

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31 Comments

  1. How about considering:

    Stevie Wonder: A ‘judge’ who’ll focus on the music and not the superficial

    Madonna: One of the single most enduring personalities Pop music has ever seen.

    Wynonna Judd: A fine (country) artist who simply tells it like it is.

    Harry C. Jr.: He’s more than proven his mettle via his previous appearances on American Idol.

    Quincy Jones: Easily one of the single most prolific music producers ever.

    Pick Any Three and it’ll make for a very compelling panel.

  2. Of the three you mentioned, I really like Stevie Nicks. I was impressed by the mentoring she did on Idol and had hoped to see more of her. I think salary should be considered. Seems like the more a person gets paid, the more it goes to his/her head. Don’t know what Randy was paid, but didn’t Nicki and Mariah together make almost 30 million? Could you also do an article on who should be the mentor/s? That is an important part of Idol that did not show much about suggestions to the contestants this year. It was more about what the mentor thought about the performances after the fact, not what the contestants should do to make their performances better before performance night. Should Jimmy Iovine be a judge, instead of a mentor?

    • So many viewers have commented that Jimmy should move from mentor to judge. He’s the chairman of Interscope which has the option to offer contracts to the Top 12. It might be perceived as a conflict of interest issue if he was seen to be steering the outcome as a judge, although some say he does that now as a mentor. I’m sure there’s some provision in the contract that specifically governs his role.

      • If Cee Lo comes back on The Voice and Usher and Shakira are available, would they be possibilities? Or would Idol not want them because they first were on The Voice? They have proven that they can do the job of judging in fair and constructive way for all contestants.

  3. Harry Connick Jr. would make a great judge. He was fabulous as a mentor when he did that. And since the show is going to have a complete overall (supposedly) why not steal a them from the voice and have judges actually assist in song choice and coaching. Get rid of the whole “that song just wasn’t right for you.” critique. The show was unwatchable with Nicki and Mariah. I stopped after week 2 and am glad they are losing all four. They either forgot who their audience was or tried to expand the audience with judge selection; which makes the show all about the judges.
    If they are really going to keep the audition part, lose the bad ones. We all know that the singing in front of the judges is not the first round of auditions, so the bad one are brought in on purpose to be funny. It stopped being funny a long time ago.

  4. Another suggestion for a female judge for me is “Sheryl Crow”. She did some mentoring on Idol and I thought, she was very good. Someone suggested ‘Madonna’, I can’t think of an artist who is more controversial than her…definitely not one I admire, If that’s their choice, lets keep Nicki! Lol! I was not impressed with Harry Connick. I respect his knowledge of music but I find his humor is more intimidating than funny!

    • Yeah I agree HC, Jr. did have an unusual approach to mentoring. There are some great possibilities for new judges out there but sometimes it comes down to availabilty and the time commitment is a huge factor to active artists/performers.

  5. I would love to see Adam Lambert, Harry Connick Jr. Plus one of the following: Cher, Stevie Nicks, Gloria Estefan or Cheryl Crow………..

  6. Sadly, they’d never be able to get Michael Buble. He has a 3-4 week gig in England and Ireland in July and a 40 city US tour coming up in the fall. But he would be awesome!

  7. I strongly disagree with Will.I.Am. He is really annoying, and one of the reasons why The Voice UK is soooo bad.

  8. Nicki is a nice judge with the most consistent and funny comments this season. I have a feeling only older ppl dislike her, at least from what I’ve read in this blog’s threads. Her only problem was the childish feuds with Mariah, which is also an American Idol production’s failure, since they were not severe enough to make them quit it.

    • Not sure AI could afford all the extra security to protect all the female contestants from Mr. Hucknall.

  9. My dream team- judge #1-Michael Buble, #2-Barry Mannilow, #3-Cher. There are a lot of good possibilities. I also watch, “The Voice” and I think that the judges are better when they are mentors and they all seem to get along and are sometimes very funny. AI should take a few good ideas from that show and interpret them into this show. The judges are great mentors and help the singers show their individual talents on “The Voice”. I love both shows. I have been watching AI since day one, when I voted for Kelly Clarkson.

  10. Oh yes please have Michael Buble as a judge!!!!!!!!!!
    A great panel would be Michael Buble, Stevie Nicks/Sheryl Crow and Harry Connick Jr.

  11. Stevie Nicks = AMAZING!!! She has always come off as straight forward but sincere. I think she would be a wonderful get but I honestly doubt that she’d do it. If she did, I can tell you, I would DEFINITELY watch that season!

  12. How about more people who actually produce music & don’t have egos that need petting. Simon is still the best judge these kind of shows has ever had. Plus his opinion was what contestants seemed to care about most.

  13. Bring back the “mother of American Idol.” Bring back Paula Abdul…. Do you agree?

  14. Dream Team:

    Kelly Clarkson – Industry and Idol experience
    Prince – Incredible performer
    Barbara Streisand or Bette Midler – REAL Divas!
    Bob Dylan – LEGEND!

    I like that these 4 would appeal to different age-ranges!

    In reality though, maybe any of the following:

    Female – Pat Benetar, Cyndi Lauper, Naomi Judd, Paula Abdul (always loved her energy on the show), Queen Latifah, Patti LaBelle, Stevie Nicks…

    Male – Josh Groban, Phil Collins, Usher, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Dave Matthews…

    All of these offer star-power and have tons of experience in the industry!

    I think the most important quality they need to find is BALLS! That is what this show has lacked since Simon left… to many of the judges in the past few years have worked too hard to stroke the egos of the contestants rather than giving them true, clear constructive criticism!

  15. Please keep Keith Urban and YES YES to Stevie Nicks!!!!! I think those 2 have got to be a shoe in!!!! As for a 3rd & FINAL judge how about Sheryl Crow, Alanis Morrisette, Faith Hill or Tim McGraw. I think those are the best picks in my opinion. Don’t let Keith go…he was an amazing judge this season!!!!

  16. How about Lindsay Buckingham to fill the Randy Jackson seat. He is a brilliant musician and singer. Another great choice would be Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, The Firm, Queen), he certainly knows something about singing. Elton John could take the Diva role

  17. Geri Halliwell from Spice Girls, Keith Urban, Courtney Love, and Adam Lambert or Snoop Dogg as American Idol new judge panel members. Also, Mariah Carey or Paula Abdul & Randy Jackson to America Got Talent starting next season to replace Heidi Klum & Howie Mandel or Howard Stern as Mariah & Randy can keep the rating going on NBC (Welcome to Las Vegas!).

  18. jimmy buffet / kenny chesney / tim mc graw
    taylor swift / rihanna / mary j blige
    in any combo of 3 or 4

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