The rumor-mill has been churning nonstop about which big-name celebs will step behind the "American Idol" judges' table for the upcoming 10th season. Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the running, alongside Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and country diva Shania Twain. Elton John, Justin Timberlake, Paula Abdul and Usher have also turned up on "Idol" judge wish lists.
One group that has had firsthand experience with the judges' feedback is the "American Idol" contestants. On the Los Angeles stop of the "Idol" summer tour on Friday (August 13), the season-nine contenders spoke with MTV News about their dream judging panel.
"I think Harry Connick Jr. would be really good because he was amazing [as a mentor] on the show," Katie Stevens said. "Supposedly Elton John was talked about. I think that would be really cool too. Hey, maybe J.Lo, J.Lo's cool."
Aaron Kelly is also on Team Connick but said that with "Idol" 's newly-lowered age minimum, contestants and fans could benefit from the perspective of an artist who has scored success early on.
"I think a young judge would be a good idea. Taylor Swift or somebody that got started young," Kelly observed. "There's a lot of teenage fans that watch the show ... so also a young judge would bring in that audience."
Spunky singer Siobhan Magnus suggested the show should incorporate celebs outside of music for the next judges' panel.
"I think the best choice, no question, would be Pee Wee Herman. I'm pushing for it. I'm advocating every chance I get to say it. I think that Pee Wee Herman should be a judge on 'American Idol,' " Magnus declared. She did have some musicians in mind for the gig, who would also make the show a big adventure. "Maybe Ozzy [Osbourne]. Just [because] how fun would that be? Everyone would be like, 'What did he just say?' [Or] maybe someone zany like Lady Gaga who's huge now and just so creative."
Other season-nine contestants are feeling the idea of bringing a little comedy to the competition. In addition to suggesting his fellow "Idol" contender Michael Lynche and '90s hip-hop duo Kid 'N Play, Andrew Garcia rattled off names like Carrot Top and Tony Danza as stars he would put on his dream judges' table. "[Tony Danza is] a cool guy and it'd be cool to have him on the show," Garcia reasoned.
Lee DeWyze also mentioned Danza and threw in Twisted Sister's Dee Snider as potential celebs on his ideal panel, but admitted that he wasn't married to a particular lineup. "I don't know. I'm just throwing random names [out there]," the "Idol" champ shrugged. "But who knows, it could be anybody."
Lynche said he would leave a connection to the original judges' table but also switch it up with some fresh faces.
"You gotta keep the dawg [Randy Jackson] because [he's] so classic. I thought J. Lo was a good pick. I heard that she was rumored to be one of the people up for it," Lynche said. The singer also suggested that he has the chops to dole out feedback to "Idol" hopefuls. "Why not just pick me for the last one?" he said. "Put Big Mike up there."
Casey James said he would keep the final decisions about who moves on each week up to the fans. "Three random people from the crowd that were clapping really loud for me," is who James said he would snag as judges.
Didi Benami said celebs such as Bret Michaels, Tyler, Twain and Lopez would make good judges but also mentioned that star power isn't the most important thing when it comes to picking "Idol" critics.
"I don't really have a dream panel," Benami said. "I just want them to be good and help with the contestants."
Who would be on your dream "American Idol" judging panel? Let us know in the comments below!
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