Resident “American Idol” bully Simon Cowell will have another judge to contend with when the hit television talent show starts auditions this week. Cowell, and fellow judges Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, will be joined by New York radio personality and hip-hop artist Angie Martinez.
The long-time host of WQHT Hot 97 said that she was excited when the producers of “American Idol” approached her to audition for the fourth judge spot (see “Angie Martinez Joins Gang Of ‘American Idol’ Judges” ), but she had to admit to them that her busy schedule had prevented her from watching the show’s first season. Not a problem: The show’s staff gave Martinez an archive of the past episodes and a synopsis of the show’s highlights in order to get her ready for her role.
But is Martinez prepared to go head to head with Simon Cowell? While she doesn’t foresee any verbal sparring with the abrasive Brit, Martinez does feel that Cowell’s presence is a necessary evil for the interactive talent show.
“Well, Simon is brutal,” she conceded. “But the truth is that the music business is mean and honest and brutal. So if you don’t have somebody like that on the panel then you’re not doing a good service. ‘Cause then you go out into the real world and the music business and you’re in for a surprise.”
Having recently released her second hip-hop album, Animal House, Martinez knows the harsh realities of the music business firsthand. Her second single, “Take You Home,” featuring Kelis, has just been released to both radio and video outlets, and the double-duty MC/DJ admits that juggling both roles has been difficult. Her moonlighting gig on “American Idol,” though, may actually help Martinez multi-task.
In the course of attending “American Idol” auditions in Atlanta (October 27), Nashville (October 30), Miami (November 2), Austin, Texas (November 6), and Los Angeles (November 17), Martinez hopes to squeeze in a little self-promotion for her own record. “I have to hit the road anyway for ‘American Idol,’ ” Martinez explained. “I’ll be, in the daytime, judging and, in the nighttime, I’ll be in the clubs doing shows and on the radio promoting my album. So it’s helping me out on the artist side, too.”
Martinez plans to record her third album this winter before heading to Los Angeles to finish up the “American Idol” search in March.
The radio jock is taking the pressure of her upcoming television role in stride. “I’m just gonna go in and be honest and have some fun and, hopefully, find someone that moves me.”