Country musician Brad Paisley has been mentioned as a potential judge for… (Wade Payne / Associated…)
Country singer and songwriter Brad Paisley is the latest name to bubble up in the endless speculation about who’ll join the “American Idol” judging panel following the recent departures of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
There’s a certain amount of sense to the suggestion of Paisley -- he’d make a viable counterpart to Blake Shelton on “The Voice,” and because many “Idol” contestants skew country, he’d represent a community that’s a big part of the “Idol” audience. But how much sexier would it be if "Idol" went after Mrs. Shelton, a.k.a. Miranda Lambert? Just throwing it out there.
So far, there’s no word out of Paisley’s camp as to whether it’s an idea he’d care to consider. On one hand, the timing could be serendipitous for him -- Paisley has a new album due in the fall and the attention an “Idol” connection would bring couldn’t hurt his campaign to get the word out.
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In addition, Paisley would bring his considerable wit and sharp artistic judgment to the task, although like the vast majority of those who are part of the ever-politic Nashville establishment, Paisley is too genuinely polite and empathetic to display any real fangs as a judge -- a quality the show’s been sorely lacking since Simon Cowell exited stage right.
It will be genuinely shocking if new “Idol” appointee Mariah Carey has a discouraging word to say about anything when she takes her seat at the judge’s table next season.
To re-energize the show and stop its slide into "Career 911" (case in point: Lopez), the producers would need to bring in a savvy judge with impeccable taste who isn’t afraid to speak his or her mind: think Elvis Costello, Elton John or E Street Band guitarist and satellite radio show host Steve Van Zandt.
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But there’s no reason the third slot has to be filled by another musician -- a freewheeling producer, a hard-hitting label exec or a gutsy manager might be just the thing.
Veteran music mogul Irving Azoff, anyone?
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