Simon Cowell Wants Britney Spears On 'American Idol'

Judge says he'd welcome Brit as a performer or mentor.

Some of the biggest singer/songwriters in pop history have visited "American Idol" over the past few seasons: [artist id="976"]Mariah Carey[/artist], [artist id="150197"]Dolly Parton[/artist], [artist id="5907"]Neil Diamond[/artist], [artist id="509190"]Tony Bennett[/artist], [artist id="3288"]Jon Bon Jovi[/artist] and even [artist id="1196261"]Bono[/artist].

But while judge Simon Cowell said during a conference call Wednesday (December 17) that the show has never been able to nail down the one mentor it has tried to get "every year" to help the kids on the show — ex-Beatle [artist id="12165"]Paul McCartney[/artist] — he has big hopes for this year's slate of mentors. Specifically, he has one name in mind that he would love to see on the marquee: [artist id="501686"]Britney Spears[/artist].

"She would, literally, be first on the list as far as I'm concerned in any capacity," Cowell said. He didn't actually divulge who would appear as mentors/performers for the upcoming season — which kicks off January 13 — but he said the door is open any week for Britney to drop in. "I would love to see her mentor the contestants, but if she doesn't want to do that, and she wants to come on the show and perform, I would welcome her anytime."

Part of the reason Cowell is so open to Spears stopping by is that when she appeared on his British talent show "X-Factor" recently, "The buzz we had on our show when she came on was extraordinary. And even with all the stuff that's gone on with her the past two years, there was more excitement and interest in her than I've seen in anyone in years. She would be very, very welcome."

McCartney and Spears are at the top of the list, but Cowell said he'd also love to have another recent "X-Factor" guest make her way to "Idol": [artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé[/artist]. "We just recently had Beyoncé on the British version of the show. ... [She] was absolutely incredible. ... You want those kinds of artists. I'd like people with personalities."

He also opened the door for a couple of past judges/mentors he'd like to see come back: [artist id="15109"]Lionel Richie[/artist] and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.

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