Has American Idol finally found Simon Cowell 2.0? The Hollywood Reporter claims that singer Chris Isaak is now in the running to replace Cowell, and has met twice with Fox execs to discuss joining the judges’ table for Season 10. A gig on one of the biggest shows on television is obviously a smart move for Isaak—but is this the best choice for Idol? Our thoughts below.
PRO: Chris Isaak has released ten studio albums in a career that has spanned over 25 years. He’s definitely not a flash in the pan.
CON: Despite being generally well-liked in the music industry, Isaak has never won a Grammy and has only scored one Top 10 hit on the Hot 100, for 1990′s “Wicked Game” (which peaked at #6). Not exactly an overly impressive resume to wow contestants or viewers.
PRO: We know he has a sense of humor, as he starred in the self-referential Showtime comedy The Chris Isaak Show. So chances are he’ll be entertaining and be comfortable in front of the camera even when he isn’t singing.
CON: Chris isn’t really the household name he used to be back in the mid-90s. We’re willing to bet most teens have never heard of him and certainly don’t have any of his songs on their iPod. If you’re going to replace one of the biggest names in television, it needs to be with an even bigger name. Otherwise it comes off as a disappointment.
PRO: Chris is well known with the older crowd—as kids and teens are pretty much guaranteed to watch the show no matter what, his involvement with Idol could draw a bigger crowd with an older demographic. Plus, he has some broad appeal, crossing effortlessly from rock to indie pop to country.
CON: Chris, a singer-songwriter, would have been the more logical choice to replace Paula Abdul, who was also the big-name performer at the judges’ table. Simon’s role is more about the big-picture and how each artist would fit into today’s music landscape. Isaak has never really dabbled in managing other artists or producing records. That invaluable expertise would be lost if no one at the judge’s table can fill that role.
PRO: As Simon himself cheekily said about anyone who replaces him, “You have to be good looking.” Isaak is certainly nice to look at.
CON: Wouldn’t it have been smarter to test-drive a possible candidate on the show as a guest judge or mentor, to see the public’s reaction? Chris Isaak has never been either on any season of Idol. If he gets the job, it’ll be a crapshoot whether viewers will respond positively to him or not. (At least Ellen DeGeneres appeared on the show during Idol Gives Back before she got the job as judge.)
PRO: He performed on Australian Idol back in 2004… so that must count for something, right? And Siobhan Magnus sang “Wicked Game” this past season, which proves his music is at least worthy of being on the show.
CON: We’re still hoping Fox goes with Harry Connick Jr., to be honest. The man, who played guest mentor last season (and even played along with contestants on stage) is hilarious, charming, and definitely knows how to critique performances.
What do you think? Are you excited at the possibility of Chris Isaak joining Ellen, Kara and Randy during Season 10? Or do you have somebody better in mind? Or are you totally over Idol? Leave your thoughts in the comments.