The Farr Side: The next ‘Idol’ judges??Let viewers be the judge

David T. Farr

In January, Simon Cowell dropped the bomb that he was leaving “American Idol” to focus on his next project, “X-Factor.”

“X-Factor” is yet another British success story Cowell hopes America will buy into hook, line and sinker. It’s set to debut on Fox in the fall of 2011.

Nobody could have dreamed of the success “American Idol” would achieve, let alone the stars the talent show could make, including its judges.

In some ways, Cowell made the show a success during Season 1 (with some help from winner Kelly Clarkson). Cowell’s antics and demeanor, good or bad, made for interesting TV. He never had a problem being blunt, which is a big reason why ratings became so high. Some viewers tuned in just to see what he was going to say next.

His decision to leave didn’t surprise me. I could almost see it on his face that he was done with it.

Not much was said about his departure while Season 9 played out, however. Rumors ran rampant about who would fill his shoes, let alone his seat.

Names like Howard Stern and Elton John began circulating, then it was Bret Michaels, followed by Harry Connick Jr., Chris Isaac and David Foster.

I would have stopped watching had Stern been named as Cowell’s replacement, but then it hit me. Fox wasn’t going to name anyone this early. They’re going to milk this story as long as they can.

I began to see the possibilities of either Harry Connick Jr. or David Foster, neither of whom have Cowell’s persona. But do I want someone to be like Simon? Not really.

Ellen DeGeneres has left the show, too, making even bigger news. But that’s not all. Kara DioGuardi may have been fired. What?! What about Randy?

Talk about rumorville! It’s a media frenzy, for sure. But something tells me that’s the whole plan. This is the perfect way to build up drama to boost ratings once Season 10 gets under way in January.

Now that DeGeneres has walked away, I think all the judges should be replaced — even Jackson.

Rumors now include the possibility of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler taking over for Cowell and DioGuardi. I would love this if it were true, but Fox won’t speculate about who will get the job. I have my fingers crossed.

I have a suggestion and it could include Cowell, since he’s the reality show marketing genius. Why not have a reality show to name the next “American Idol” judges?

I’m sure it would be da bomb, dawg.

David T. Farr is a Sturgis (Mich.) Journal correspondent. E-mail him at